Monday, May 10, 2010

Tchoupitoulas

Look at that string of letters in the title of this entry.  Beautiful, aren't they?  This is the name of one of New Orleans' streets.  I was up and down it all day this afternoon, repeating the word over and over again with great pleasure, more delighted every time.  I purchased some gas at the "Tchoup Shop" and that will be the last time I do that.  The cheap gas was $2.92/gal, the same price I paid for premium gas in Leesburg, AL when I pushed the wrong button by mistake!  I only buy a gallon and a half or so at a time for the Littlest Ninja, but it's the principal of the matter.

I've been in New Orleans three days and I've clocked about 300 miles on the odometer.  That's a lot of sight seeing.

I went to the West Bank of the Mississippi River this morning.  Though the river is on one side of the city and Lake Pontchartrain is on the other, I haven't seen any water, so I thought it would be a good time to see some.  I've driven parallel to the river, but it's been hidden by the infamous levies.   I took the I-10 bridge high up into the sky but didn't get much chance to look around; it was terribly windy and I was preoccupied keeping upright.

I took the ferry back from Algiers Point to the foot of Canal Street.  Though separated by the Mississippi, Algiers is part of the city.  Nice enough over there, but I didn't see anything to tempt a return in the near future.  I detoured down the bumpiest road I've been on in a long time, a stretch of Berkley Drive.  I took General De Gaulle Drive to Woodlawn and didn't realize Woodlawn is a major thoroughfare.  That's why I took the Berkley detour.  I missed General Meyer Avenue and took Patterson Drive instead with the levee to my right the whole way: a wall of green grass.

On the ferry, I saw all sorts of flotsam and jetsam making its way to the Gulf of Mexico.  The river doesn't look terribly polluted, just very muddy.  There were more tree branches than trash afloat.  I suppose it is the things that you can't see that will harm you.  A few years ago I took a sip of the Big Muddy and tasted the runoff of the American heartland.  It tasted metallic.

After that, I went to Audubon Park and took Riverview Drive along the riverbank.  That's two places you can watch the Mississippi in New Orleans if you don't work for the port:  Audubon Park and the Moonwalk  in the French Quarter.  I think there's a bike path along the levies too, but it's only for pedal bikes so I haven't taken the motorcycle up to confirm this.

After six days on the road, I've eaten about all the fast food I care to eat in a while.  My first New Orleans meal was at Jackson on Magazine Street.  I had mussels cooked with fennel and crumbled andouille sausage served with shoestring fried potatoes.  After polishing the off the mussels, the fries ended up in the juice.  This was a meal worth driving two thousand miles for.  Mussels and fennel and french fries?  Did the chef read my mind from Boston to know all my favorite foods and then combine them for my impending arrival?  Heaven.
I haven't had a bad meal since I put fork to plate in New Orleans.  Certainly everything has been better than Arby's and Arby's was the best of all the options on the open road.  If I get to missing the road, there's a franchise on Canal Street where I can conjure up memories.

At Ms Mae's this afternoon, someone is playing a lot of Fatboy Slim on the juke box.  Nothing wrong with that.  

4 comments:

Michael Kerpan said...

You don't tell the Northerners amongst your readership how to _pronounce_ "Tchoupitoulas". ;~}

We visited NOLA for a few (not enough) days in February. We saw Lake P and the River -- and made it to Tipitinas, Rock n Bowl, the Maple Leaf Bar and Preservation Hall. And ate lots of good food.

Whalehead King said...

You can pronounce the T and the CH with relish and if you don't, nobody will really notice. As for the OUs, you're on your own. I've got it down but I'm not telling.

There's no such thing as enough days in New Orleans no matter what month they're in. I personally don't think twelve months are enough. All good places you visited. There are many, many, many more. I am happy to be able to live here.

Thanks Michael.

Michelle H. said...

It sounds like you'll have the greatest of times in New Orleans. Perhaps one day I'll take a visit, not necessarily during Mardi Gras, but during a quieter time to really cherish the scenery.

Whalehead King said...

I haven't experienced Mardi Gras. New Orleans has a magic and presence that transcends any time of year. It is multi-focal, celebrating every tiny moment in any given year.

Only visit New Orleans if you aren't afraid to fall in love with a place.

Thanks for stopping by, Michelle. I hope all is well with you.

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