The sun came out today and I forgave the sky. I took Gentilly Boulevard past Dillard University to Chef Menteur Highway, which is how I originally entered New Orleans over a week ago. Tourists don't visit this part of town and, if I were from somewhere besides New England, I wouldn't blame them. This is an area typical of many newer cities in the south and midwest and west; developments of one family, brick bungalows planted on their predetermined, surveyed lots. A modern Levittown. At least that's how it appears on the main residential streets. If you go back a few blocks, you'll see a bit more variety and, unfortunately, Katrina's damage.
New Orleans East, a sprawling subdivision of the city. There is no escaping that there is work still to be done even if the French Quarter is unscathed. I passed many houses that had spray painted disaster information fading in the sun on paint-peeling, front porch walls. I didn't pass one shopping center that was fully rented for business. I saw many that were still wholly abandoned. There were a lot of empty parking lots.
I took Chef Menteur Highway up to Read Boulevard and noodled around Morrison and Lakeview Boulevards and side streets in between. My favorite street was the one closest to the Industrial Canal, Downman Street, which is anything but upwardly mobile but had plenty to look at. It serves port and factory workers, stevedores and truckers. I saw where Luzianne tea gets made and when I headed south from that factory, I smelled coffee. Looking to my right, I saw I was passing a Folger's plant. It didn't smell that savory, just coffee-like.
On a concluding note: I've been saying Terpsichore Street like Sinatra, TERP-si-kor. I heard someone say it today in a way that is closer to the original Greek and probably more accurate for here, Terps-HICK-ory.