Brompty Checking Out the View at Chalmette National Battlefield

Brompty Checking Out the View at Chalmette National BattlefieldMonday was my last day in New Orleans, and I used it to bike as many places as possible. When I first moved to NOLA in 2007, there were no bike lanes. Then the St. Claude bike lane went in, and then there was one on Broad Street, and that tiny stretch of Magazine in front of the WWII Museum, and the protected bike lane out in Gentilly, and now they are all over the place, and I wanted to ride them all. I wanted to take that favorite ride out through City Park and to Lake Pontchartrain to see the bayou and look for pelicans. I wanted to get lost out in Gentilly and do laps around Audubon Park and ride the Mississippi River Trail out to the end to see what they’ve done to that riverfront park in Kenner and if that abandoned suitcase is still there. Continue reading

Barkus Parade Readying to Roll From Louis Armstrong Park

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Everything predicted thunderstorms Sunday, but Brompty and I had things to do, and I mistakenly believed my jacket was waterproof, so we headed out between downpours for a ride to Broadmoor to see M. and D.’s new digs, including–so awesome–the baby’s room. It was an easy ride, retracing old steps on new bike lanes. I remember when the very first bike lane was installed in the city, and now the are everywhere. And there’s a new streetcar line, though that one doesn’t make much sense until you remember the Super Bowl was here. Infrastructure’s improved for industry, not residents (and this certainly isn’t just a NOLA thing), and here the industry is tourism. And I’m a tourist now, enough to get lost crossing under the I10 and just avoiding a dead end to the freeway on ramp. I took the bike lane on MLK and smaked left on Galvez, happy to have friends who moved to a neighborhood I never got to explore much. I overshot my right, dead-ended and turned around, and finally got my muddy no-fenders self to their door for breakfast and catch-up. Afterward, and after another downpour, it was back on the bike to Mid City to see R. and her new digs.all the bike lanes and streetcars in the world can’t help with this coty’s lack of drainage, so it was all avoiding puddles and small lakes there and then after back to the Treme. I meant to head straight back to S.’s house, but then I saw the dogs, so many dogs lined up for Barkus, rolling late due to weather. I remember when this was an upstart, and it still is, I guess, even if Bud Light signs welcomed me to it. And you can’t just join the parade; I watched a volunteer close the gates of Louis Armstrong park on a rather stunned gentleman and his pocket pooch. You need a “marching pass” to join a walking parade? Wow. And then the skies opened up again–my luck had run out. 20 minutes standing in the rain and it was time to thow on the towel. I pedaled “home,” a soggy mess, happy to have seen some old friends–people, pets, and problems.

Empty Theater at Orleans & N. Johnson

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I know, I know, I’m a broken record, but wow, what a beautiful day for a bike ride in New Orleans. Today’s my last day in the city before heading north to the frozen tundra that is Spring classes, and I spent most of it on N.’s bike. I first rode into the Marigny to meet R. and A. for brunch at the third outpost of that restaurant I think of as where I met D. and M. and S. for the first time~I knew from that first morning that they would all be bosom friends that morning, and I was right; today, same sort of friends, same sort of restaurant, and iit was just a perfect start to a day that then took my to Mid-City to see M.~an unannounced bike-by from the olden days. I pedaled back toward the Quarter along Orleans. I remember when they repaved that street, such a dream, and today it was a respite from the truly awful New Orleans infrastructure. My god, iron your streets! I snapped this picture of an empty building that looks like it used to be a theater. I think the sign is smaller now, but I will have to check the ol’ archive. So much has changed around here~new public housing, new asphalt, newness, but not at this spot and the others where there’s so much blight. It reminds me of Baltimore. A walk through the Quarter for a dog parade and more friends and then I was riding Uptown on the old route to see R. and then S. The fork is still embedded in the street at Baronne and Jackson, the cow’s still there, Muses looks lived-in, and we are still being exhorted to be the change we wish to see in the world. it was a lovely ride, lovely stops, and a perfect vacation. I’m not going to lie, though: I’m looking forward to going home in the morning, if only to get a break from my vacation schedule. Thank you, New Orleans, as always.

Broken Down Shopping Cart at Governor Nicholls & North Rampart

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Today’s ride took me to the Irish Channel to meet K. for dinner at the place where we’ve been having dinner for three years. I’m spending the month in the Marigny, so the ride was uptown instead of downtown, which it was for most of my time in New Orleans. After dinner I headed to J. and B.’s house for a dinner party–I kept it to dessert. Ordinarily I would take Jeff Davis to get there, but tonight I went Piydras to Galvez to Orleans, following the bike lanes and sharrows. I rode home the same way and then through the Treme. I rolled along Governor Nicholls, but not to stop at S.’s place–she moved over to Barracks. I stopped for traffic at N. Rampart and took a picture of this broke-down shopping cart on the corner. I had no idea their front wheels could go flat. I wonder how many different streets this cart rolled down to end up here, waiting for the bus. I mean, I don’t think there’s a Winn Dixie in the neighborhood. There’s the tiny Rouse’s in the corner, but other than that, the area is pretty much limited to drugstore groceries, and I need more than cereal, peanut butter, and Folger’s coffee. That’s what I miss most about living Uptown–easy access to fresh food. This neighborhood must be starving.

Cloudy Skies Over Lake Pontchartrain

Yesterday’s attempt to get a bike ride in to change the mood was foiled by rain, but today, after getting some writing done at home,  some grading done at the coffee shoppe, and a scoop of ice cream, I got on the bike and headed out for a ride. Continue reading

Empty Lot at Galvez & Lafitte

After a much-needed day of doing absolutely nothing yesterday, and a morning and afternoon spent finishing up a project, I was ready to get on the bike and head out to see what might happen today. And then I felt the heat. Sometimes I’m up for biking in it, sometimes, not so much, and today I was in the mood for something a little cooler. Continue reading

Coke Freestyle Machine at the Wendy’s on Tchoup

Today was my birthday which meant I could do whatever I wanted to do to celebrate being alive, and believe you me, I’m enjoying this whole life thing. I slept in, talked to my sister on the phone forever, and then hopped on the bike and headed out for a massage. Afterward, because it was my birthday, I left my bike on the rack and walked the several blocks to Wendy’s for a spicy chicken sandwich, add cheese, fries, and a drink. She asked me what kind of drink I wanted. I foolishly said I wanted a Diet Coke, but what I didn’t know was that I’d be filling my cup from the crazy new zillion flavor Coke machine newly-installed in the lobby. Continue reading