Friday, April 15, 2016

Faces of the North, Cleveland of the South, and Vera

This is the second post of a series covering my epic adventure in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, from April 5 to April 12, 2016.

My apologies for the text background color. Ugh, this is what I get for copying my own text and editing it to a new post.

I am glad that you got to enjoy the food photos from my excursion to New Orleans. There is a non-food side of the so-called Crescent City I want to show you with photos.  Ready?  This is what both my Houston comrade and I call: "Cleveland of the South."

The French One-Fourth
A red brick building that has three levels of walking space, provided by two balconies, or porches, that wrap itself around the corner of the building.  This building is located at the intersection of Decatur and St. Ann Streets in the French Quarter District.
Initially, when I first heard of the phrase "French Quarter," I thought it would be one of four districts that were named after the culture or heritage that made New Orleans home. Much to my chagrin, there are not technically any other "quarters" in New Orleans, just the "French Quarter." Damn. 

A Perpendicular Grid of East 4th Streets
A side view of the entrance to a business, Boutique du Vampyre, located inside a dusty pink colored building.  This location is on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter District.
This is where a comparison of New Orleans to Cleveland comes into play.  My first observation was that, along with the world famous Bourbon Street, all of these narrow streets that make up the French Quarter are just like Cleveland's East 4th Street, known for its entertainment and restaurant establishments so close to one another that the street became partially blocked to accommodate both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.  Every single French Quarter street (with the exception of Decatur [say: dee-KAY-ter] Street); Bourbon, Sts. (Saints) Ann, Peter, and Louis, Royal, Dauphine (say: dau-FEEN), and so on were all streets of entertainment and restaurant establishments.

Stationary Steamboats

Another thing that caught my eye, though not necessarily a Cleveland comparison, is a comparison to the structure of these buildings (also found outside the French Quarter) to the tops of an old school Southern riverboat, or steamboat.  I wonder if this is what the architectural settlers had in mind.
A stock photo of a multi-leveled, red, beige, and white colored steamboat. Photo by FotoSearch.

Three bronze statues of New Orleans-based legendary musicians.  From left to right, Antoine "Fats" Domino, Al "Jumbo" Hirt, and Pete Fountain.
A bronze statue of New Orleans-based legendary performer Chris Owens.
A bronze statue of New Orleans-based legendary performer Ronnie Kole.  All five statues are located at the New Orleans Musical Legends Park, located on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter District.
All right, enough French One-Fourth. Let's see what else is in the city of New Orleans.

Not-so Rapid Transit
A red streetcar approaching a carstop at the intersection of Canal Street and Carrollton Avenue.
Streetcars, or vehicles that operate on tracks and electrical power, are another staple of New Orleans.  These vehicles are more known for their nostalgic looks than trying to get to work on time. These proverbial puppies only go a maximum speed of about 10 miles per hour.

Old school or nΓΌ skool?
Two green streetcars at a layover (or end) stop, at the intersection of Carrollton and Claiborne Avenues.
The red streetcar is a more modern vehicle, with florescent lighting and air conditioning, but the green streetcar, known for going along St. Charles Avenue, is, in fact, the original streetcar, having been given both structural and cosmetic improvements since 1835.  Yes, these vehicles are over 180-years old. The St. Charles Streetcar does not have florescent lighting and air conditioning; the lights are serviced by incandescent-looking light bulbs and to cool down, you have to open up the windows. 

The interior mechanism of holding up a window in a St. Charles Streetcar.
The front of a streetcar, with its operator sitting in the middle. On the right, a passenger boards the streetcar, while on the left, another passenger gets a better view of the street.
The front doors of a streetcar (which in reverse, become back doors of a streetcar) and a fare collection box.

Here's another Cleveland similarity; the Regional Transit Authority. In Cleveland, the Greater Cleveland RTA (GCRTA) serves the city and Cuyahoga County.  In New Orleans, the New Orleans RTA (NORTA) serves the city and Orleans Parrish (to which makes absolutely no sense to me; there's only one city in Orleans Parrish and that's New Orleans, much like city of Philadelphia is in Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania [say: pencil-VANE-ee-yah]. So, in a sense, New Orleans is a City-Parrish all to itself).

The front of coach #230, serving the NORTA #39 Tulane bus route. The interior of this coach is very much like the buses used on the GCRTA.
The similarities get even better. The main buses that NORTA uses are built just the ones that are mainly in service with the GCRTA. Even the bus passes for both RTAs are printed and utilized almost exactly the same.

Now, here's where the similarities end.

1. Age: the GCRTA's 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 28 fleet series (for example, coach numbers 2249, 2403, 2645, 2811) are very much older and has more wear and tear than the NORTA's 100-400 fleet series.

My left hand holding up a GCRTA monthly senior/disabled bus pass and a NORTA Jazzy Pass, good for either 3 or 5 days when purchased. Both passes offer unlimited rides for the timeframes given.
2. Fare structure: riding along the NORTA is relatively meager financially. One ride costs $1.50 along the NORTA (including the streetcars), whereas $2.25 gives you one ride along the GCRTA (not including the Park-N-Ride shuttles).

A purple bench with two gold seats, made out of hardened plastic material, found on a NORTA bus. Each seat has a hole on the bottom part of the seat.
3.  Upkeep: the interior of the buses really tell the story.  The NORTA buses have one thing in common (among my trips along the buses); they are for the most part clean and free from vandalism. And unless the GCRTA bus comes out of the Triskett Garage, the bus system in Cleveland can not say the same thing (bus interiors are washed out at the Triskett Garage and not at its other location, Hayden Garage).  Also, even though the seating arrangements are identical between the bus services, the seats on the NORTA buses are strictly hardened plastic with a designed air hole on the bench part of each seat.  The GCRTA buses are mostly hardened plastic with faint upholstery on both the bench and back parts of each seat.

4. Color coding: each NORTA bus has a color assigned to it.  It may not be reflected on the buses themselves, but they are shown on bus stops throughout the city-parrish. For example, the #39 Tulane bus route will have an orange color assignment, whereas the #32 Leonidas-Treme (say: lee-ON-ah-dees TREHM) sports a teal color assignment.  This may be confusing for tourists, unless you have an app that not only shows the local bus routes, but also shows each bus's color scheme for easier location.  The only color assignments on the GCRTA is for their train lines (red, green, blue, and "waterfront", a "blend" of both blue and green lines).

5. And speaking of tourists: about 98% of tourists (in my opinion) will NOT use the NORTA buses, but rather the streetcars instead.  These tourists can be easily spotted by their flagrant use of The North Face clothing attire; something that locals do not sport on their bodies. Salute.

How you doin'? Me riding on the NORTA #39 Tulane bus.
The next blog post will cover more things that I haven't covered in the first two (how in the fuck is that possible?!), including more architectural brilliance, districts not named the French Quarter, and a friend I made while waiting for a meal.


  1. Thanks for the Decatur pronunciation guide - it had confused me since I had someone in Georgia who came from that town/area.

    It was interesting to read about your Quartier perception.

    "How is it possible," indeed, Vera?

    Looking at you on the NORTA #39.

  2. They were so accommodating and I was truly impressed. It is such a comfortable environment. For a buffet, it was delicious food. Alcoholic beverages were also great. Overall, this place is great, and my favorite event space in the city.