Sunday, July 11, 2010

Corner grocer, New Orleans

An interesting picture of 701 Bourbon Street at S. Peters. (I haven't looked at a map but I don't think these streets intersect.) Corner grocers still abound in New Orleans but not as much as in days past.  What were obviously once commercial storefronts are peppered at intersections.  Some are still in business, many have been converted to homes, some are just boarded up waiting to be put to reuse.  Sun and humidity fades ghost signage painted on clapboards in yet-to-be-gentrified parts of the Sodom and Gomorrah of the South.

I was reading the city's zoning laws recently and just because a space once served commercial purposes there is no guarantee that it can again.  There is a convoluted permitting process but I'm not sure what it entails.  I doubt it is as regressive as Boston's with endless community input and neighborhood associations able to issue the final veto.  Though New Orleans is seemingly more tolerant than its New England brethren, it is still a modern city with all the red tape that includes.

I'm betting on Mayor Landrieu's administration to streamline things a bit, but you never know.  Once the bureaucrats are in charge there's no end to the hurdles they'll put in one's way.  Maybe it's all for the best but I've lived in a world class city buried under layers of regulations, like a dowager smothered for her own good.  Be careful how much control you cede to the powers that be.  There is a law of unintended consequences and once a rule is established, it is nigh impossible to erase.

Thanks to Shorpy for the link and the view.  Note the comments on the initial link to see what the block looks like today.


Michelle H. said...

Corner grocers are still a foreign concept to me, even with moving into the city. I grew up a country girl in a rural valley. The closest store out there was over a 15-minute drive away - the commercial grocery store was 30 minutes away.

Whalehead King said...

As an urban animal, I hate to drive anywhere. If it isn't within a few blocks walk, it's a chore. 15 minutes on the Littlest Ninja is okay but I can't carry too much. I tend to shop every day. Fifteen minutes in a car is like sitting in a coffin!

Anita said...

Adding to the confusion of the French Quarter are two streets, St. Peter (which is parallel to Canal) and South Peters (roughly parallel to the river). Shorpy's contributer wrote the name of the street the grocery is on as "St. Peters," a mistake often heard--more often from locals than from transplants like thee and me, by the way.

Anita said...

Correction: The part of Peters that runs into the Quarter is North Peters. South Peters is on the uptown side of Canal Street. St. Peter fails to intersect with North Peters only because the part that would be North Peters is subsumed into Decatur Street between Conti and St. Phillip. (To keep this up, in addition to there being a St. Phillip St. in the Quarter, there is also a Phillip Street uptown running from the river to Claiborne Avenue.)

Correction #2: I misspelled contributor earlier.

Whalehead King said...

Thinking about it later, I realized that it would be North Peters on that side of Canal. Thanks for the research. We should point out to those unfamiliar that North and South is relative mostly to which side of Canal Street cross streets run rather than the compass.

There's never a need to apologize about spelling here.

Thanks Anita.


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