Waiting on the Train at St. Claude and Homer Plessy Way

A train stalled on the tracks in the dark.

Ok, so this isn’t what I saw riding my bike around today, but I’ve been in a writing funk that I’m climbing out of, so I’m going to write about some past bike rides as I get back in the habit of biking and writing about it. This picture is from a ride I took back in early November. I was in New Orleans for the American Studies Association annual conference, the first in person since my last trip in November 2019. It was so, so good to be there, to see so many old friends, to be all sweaty and hot in November. I was going for the intellectual community, the colleagues and friends, but if I’m being real, I was going there for the biking.

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Train Stalled at the Crossing at Warner & W. Ostend

Train Crossing at Warner & W. OstendAs soon as I slung my leg over my bike and clipped into my right pedal I felt like myself again, and I couldn’t help but dodge back and forth in the lane, doing that little dance of welcome home. Oh, it was good to get on the bike and race down the hill and up again, for the sweet treat of coffee and talk with two of my favorite nerds, E. and R. Afterwards R. and I lingered to talk about bikes and girls and things, and then I was off toward downtown and the Gwynns Falls Trail. Continue reading

Looking Up the Railroad Tracks on Bush, Just After Severn

Today’s ride took me over to campus for the program’s end-of-the-year picnic, this time with dogs. I took my regular route down the hill, but I decided to stay on Dolphin, just to see where it would take me. The city isn’t in the kind of grid I’m used to, so I’m not always sure which streets are running which directions, but I had a hunch that if I stayed where I was, I might end up on Harlem Ave., which seemed increasingly likely as I crossed Eutaw and Druid Hill and Pennsylvania. Continue reading

Train Crossing at Clare & Kloman

I had a ton of work to do today, but I could see the slightly warmer air from my desk, and I just wanted to ride my bicycle–grrrrr, work. After finishing up what absolutely had to be finished up, I took the bike out for a ride. I was in the mood to listen to music while I pedaled, so I headed downtown to pick up the Gwynns Falls Trail where I could spin without watching for cars. Continue reading

Train and Truck at Press Near Burgundy


I woke up too early but early enough to meet M., D., and J. For a pre-brunch coffee and muffin. It was just after 9:00am on a Sunday, so the streets were empty, the air smelling a bit like somebody had a “good” time last night. I pedaled over to St. Claude to pick up the bike lane, but I got stopped by another train on the tracks at Press Street. Yep, the same Press Street where Plessy tried to take a seat, but now it’s where we regularly get stuck waiting for a train to roll up and down the tracks, switching rails, but it’s still Plessy’s street just the same. Most folks know to take a right here and beat the train at Chartres, but I was in no mood to race, happy to settle in and watch the thing rock back and forth, back and forth. But then cars were making their turns and going around the train, and I felt like some kind of rube, standing there waiting with my bicycle like I didn’t know I could go around. I gave in to the phantom peer pressure and went on my way, stopping to take a picture of train at momentary rest with yet another vehicle going around. it is rather amazing to me sometimes how much work I have to do to make myself stand still, and I wouldn’t have minded standing still a little longer this morning. And then I rolled up to the cafe just as M. and D. did, and I was just happy to see them. I am going to miss some friends something fierce.

Dead End at the Industrial Canal on Galvez & Japonica

I don’t know when it happened, but I just hate being inside. Sometimes it’s because I’m afraid I’m missing out on something that might be happening out there, but more often just because I like to be outside. I’ve been sitting at home being sick and tired since Saturday: not ok. Thank goodness I woke up feeling considerably better, and J. and I were meeting at 1:00pm down in the Bywater–bike ride! Continue reading

Train and I10 at the End of West End Boulevard

Yep, still cold out, which means today’s ride had to wait as I tried to figure out what sort of layering would keep me warm enough without making me look like a broke-ass Punky Brewster. I was only mildly successful on both counts, but I headed out anyway, first to the Marigny for the New Orleans Book Fair. The place was crawling with all the usual suspects–readers, writers, watchers–and I managed somehow to leave with money in my wallet (though there was one art book I’d have bought, if it had been for sale). Continue reading

Train Crossing at the Uptown Levee Bike Path Entrance

I woke up early this morning and spent all day teaching and teaching and teaching and by the time it was done I really needed to just put it in high gear and pedal as hard as I could for twenty miles. So that’s what I did. I headed over to the entrance to the levee bike path behind the zoo, looking forward to just going. But just as I rode up the train gate went down, red lights flashing, and I snapped this picture just as the train was zooming by. I wasn’t in the mood to wait, and neither were the soccer moms–moms bringing their kids to soccer practice. Continue reading

Train Crossing the Huey P. Long Bridge

I had a thoroughly delightful Sunday, grading papers, reading, looking through job ads, working on my professional website, and when I finished up my work, I was most definitely in the mood for a long bicycle ride. I made a few tiny adjustments to my brakes and headed out to the levee, wanting to just pedal without monitoring the conditions of the pavement. The sun was just starting to go down, the weather was noticeably cooler than it has been, and I just let my legs get into that spinning rhythm with a song on repeat. Continue reading

Train Crossing at St. Claude and Press

Train Crossing at St. Claude and Press StreetI know, I’m like a broken record, but the weather is so flipping beautiful here this week. I rode around running errands this afternoon, in a skirt and tank top and sandals as my shoulders baked in the sun. In November. Man, I love living here! Those hot and humid summer months–which I also enjoy–are worth it for these pleasant fall days. Continue reading