The Big Easy

I stepped out onto Canal St. where the tracks split the street in two. I then walked up a couple of blocks to the Carondolet stop, hearing the streetcar approaching before seeing it lumbering down the tracks. One soon arrived and it was filled with people from all walks of life. As they spilled onto the street we patiently awaited our turn to get on. I clutched the money in my hand confirming the presence of the dollar and a quarter necessary for a ride. The paint on the outside was a faded green and the light from the naked bulbs escaped through the open windows. The conductor closed the door before anybody could get on telling us to wait for the streetcar behind. It hurried away with its tail following the electric wire above. The next streetcar arrived empty, with the door ajar, waiting for its void to be filled. We entered one by one, scurrying for empty seats. Suddenly a strange sound emitted from beneath as a lethargic pump came to life. As I took my seat, the noise subsided and the pump sighed to a halt. As I leaned back into the seat, it creaked and then snapped. The cantilever system for the bi-directional seats had lost its strength over the years. The electric motors kicked in and the vibrations of old wood and metal, groaning to support one another, filled the air. The sound summoned memories of the American Eagle. As our speed picked up so did the brisk breeze, the passengers adjusted the ratcheting windows accordingly. The bare bulbs flickered as we turned down St. Charles Avenue. The ancient pump burbled to life once again, only to wheeze to a stop moments later. The cacophony of sounds eked a smile out of this weary traveler’s face. Keeping my arms inside the car, I leaned on the windowsill taking in the scene; beads hanging from anything above arm’s reach, beautiful columned homes, joggers running down the middle of the tracks – this is the Big Easy. Soon enough the leisurely ride had ended, we had reached our destination. I thanked the conductor on my way down the steps and into the New Orleans night.

4 thoughts on “The Big Easy”

  1. Very nice photos, Pablo, and a very nice little piece on the trolley ride. Looks like you got around to a lot of places in what I gather was a fairly short perod of time. Thanks!

  2. Pablo, one of our family’s homes in New Orleans was on Carandolet St. Lovely post and pics! Also, thanks for the Google transit map–I already used it yesterday!

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