NoLa Diary #1 – Day One, or why you should skip Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street on a hazy Monday morning

Today was my first full day in New Orleans. It was overcast and a cold wind blew through the city today and with it a damp chill. The temperature was perhaps in the low 50’s, but the locals were bundled up in hats, coats and scarves and I heard more than one person remark how cold it was.
I’m staying in the Garden District, and I’m a short walk from St. Charles Avenue and the streetcar which goes down St. Charles, underneath the highway overpass (right by a WWII memorial) and eventually skirts the edge of the French Quarter at Canal Street.
I jumped on the streetcar and got out across from Bourbon Street around 10am. As you can see from the photo above, it was empty. All the rum drinks, all the jazz, and all the vomiting tourists over the weekend were nowhere to be seen. What I did see though, bothered me. Bourbon street has a lot of titty bars/strip clubs all over the place. I can see maybe ONE strip club on Bourbon Street, okay… but 4 or 5? The French Quarter isn’t that big, and Bourbon Street deserves to be treated better than a $10 dollar hooker at any hour of the day. I silently wondered if Katrina brought so many “Larry Flynt’s Hustler” bars to the center of the city? I was not pleased.
After walking down Bourbon Street for 7 or 8 blocks and seeing garish neon, strip clubs, and boarded up bars I turned down one of the side streets until I hit Royal Street where I ran right into a rag-tag band, (for purposes of this post I’m calling them the Yes Ma’am Band) playing in the center of the street.
And they were good. They had drawn quite a little crowd, and if I hadn’t over-exposed this shot so badly, you’d be able to see their guitar case was pretty filled up with dollar bills.

Yes maam band - French Quarter

 And so my NoLa adventure has begun. I’ve been talking to the locals, when I can find them (there are a lot of transplants – I’ve met people from New York City and Boston working in the art galleries on Royal Street) and generally getting into my NoLa groove.
Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be warmer and sunnier, so when I get better shots of the lovely architecture I’ll post some of those for your enjoyment.
I didn’t spend my whole day in the French Quarter though, I took the Canal Streetcar (#48) after purchasing an unlimited ride pass at a convenience store ($3) all the way out to City Park, where the art museum, sculpture garden and other activities await. I read on the sign when I got out there everything is closed on Mondays (just as many of the restaurants are closed on Mondays too) so I just took in the sights on the 20-25 min ride from the French Quarter to City Park. Much of the area on Canal Street seems to be undergoing re-building, as remaining evidence of Katrina but the park looks promising, especially when the weather is nicer.
Okay, that’s it for now, but more to come soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: