Sunday, May 28, 2006

A NOLA public transit story


I broke my sunglasses this week so we had to go to the Riverwalk to get a new pair. The trip gave us a chance to check out NOLA streetcars when we decided to get lunch in the FQ. The plan was to go to the Riverwalk, catch the streetcar, eat lunch at the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen, ride back and get my glasses.

When we got to the Riverwalk we saw a streetcar passing by but we didn't have any one dollar bills and as we learned last time - you have to have exact change.



So we walked up the Riverwalk escalator - it is still broken - and got change. We went back down to the Julia Street stop and waited.







We sat and waited, and waited, and waited. It turns out we had to wait 40 MINUTES. For some reason there was only one car on the line at the time.
The only reason we were taking the streetcar was to ride the streetcar. Any sane people would have walked for any other reason. In fact we met two guys at the stop who decided they didn't want to wait anymore and did just that. They too were going to the Louisiana Pizza Kitchen. We saw them having lunch when we showed up!

While we waited we talked to an older couple from Maryland who were there to play volleyball. Apparently the national championship for club volleyball is being held in NOLA this week. (It's all free if you want to go check it out.) That would explain the remarkable increase in foot traffic we noticed along the way. Anyway, the folks we talked to were really cool and talking to them really helped to pass the time.

There was a big cheer when the streetcar finally showed up. The horrible ironic thing about it was that all public transit in NOLA is free until July. We basically waited for nothing but what are you going to do.

The line runs all the way to the French Market, the location of the pizza kitchen, so we rode it all the way. It took about 5 minutes.





The ride back was a lot easier. We waited at the French Market stop for 2 or 3 minutes tops. We also noticed a lot more cars along the way.

Uninteresting side note: everyone we talked to referred to the streetcars as trolleys! Tourists! What are you going to do?



Along the way we noticed that the Audubon Aquarium is next door to the Riverwalk and it has just reopened. We also watched the riverboats in that area. We should check out both of those soon.




P.S. I made a couple of videos of our streetcar ride. I'll have to put them up in the next post.

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