Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Nothing against Gretna, but...

I drive down Tchoupitoulas Street fairly regularly.  Amazingly, there isn't a lot of traffic.  I think this is amazing because a) there aren't a lot of lights, and b) the roadway is remarkably smooth by New Orleans standards.  I am very tired of being jostled around on every thoroughfare.  Sometimes I think my turn signals are going to fall off and I am constantly adjusting my rearview mirrors.  After a mile or two on New Orleans streets, my left mirror offers me a view of the sky.  While this is relaxing it doesn't do me much good when I want to change lanes.

I pass under the overpass that connects some kind of pedestrian terminal with what is supposed to be the Jackson Avenue Ferry.  According to wikipedia, the ferry is still operating but I've never seen anyone using it.  I figured it was out of commission and I always wondered where it went.  I could have looked at a map of course, but instead I solved this mystery by passing through the City of Gretna.

Gretna doesn't have much to recommend it for the eyes.  The real action is all along the frontage road that runs parallel to elevated Route 90.  As you can imagine, it is a long strip of shopping centers, chain stores and motels that have seen better days.  Downtown Gretna, where the city is connected to New Orleans by the ferry (or was) is another matter altogether.  This is a tidy little burg full of charm and an expansive public green.  There isn't much happening there but it is picturesque.

I would never choose to live in Gretna but I enjoyed tootling through its historic core.  I didn't enjoy it enough to stop, mind you, just enough to soak up the atmosphere.  The wikipedia page for Gretna doesn't do much to entice me to change my mind.

During the manmade levee failure that occurred at the same time as Hurricane Katrina, Gretna earned the distasteful reputation of being a place unfriendly to refugees in need.  I'm sure the citizens of Gretna are nice folks outside of a crisis, but I'm not going to take the time to learn differently.  It's nothing personal.  There isn't enough "there" there to catch my fancy to begin with.

Even if the ferry does ply the Mississippi to Gretna, I'll take the one to Algiers.  Not much more exciting, I know, but Algiers is a part of the City of New Orleans.  You can't have one without the other.

2 comments: said...
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Michael Kerpan said...

The ferry to Gretna presently leaves from the same location as the one to Algiers.


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