Sunday, February 21, 2010

Walking Tour, Attempt #2

After Monday's failed attempt at a Grey Line Garden District walking tour, I thought I was all set for a different Garden District walking tour on Tuesday morning after picking up a brochure in my hotel about a tour that departed from the historic Pontchartrain Hotel. I'd have to take the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar to get there, but I decided that, despite all the warnings about crime in New Orleans, taking a streetcar during the day that's manned by a driver can't be too dangerous. (Just in case, I tucked my money in my bra. Added bonus: Carrying cash that way made my boobs look bigger.)

So, anyway, bright and early Tuesday morning, I hopped the streetcar. (As an aside, the St. Charles Avenue line is the oldest continuously operating streetcar in the world. To maintain its historic status, no AC has been installed in the trains, making me glad it was February and not August.) I found the hotel without difficulty. Only one problem -- The Pontchartrain Hotel closed down in 2007. (In retrospect it would have been prudent to check online before heading out. Too bad Internet access from my hotel was so unreliable as to not make this a viable option.)

Was this second failed attempt at taking a Garden District walking tour a sign that I should not take a Garden District walking tour, or was it a sign that I should just screw the organized tour approach and check out the area on my own? Normally I would have pondered this over a Starbucks latte, but all I could find in the immediate vicinity was a
little corner dive that had an espresso machine, so I had to make due with that. Given the kindly, neighborhood feel of said dive, I decided to risk life and limb and walk around the Garden District all by my lonesome. Here's what I saw...

Lots of big houses.

Lots of Mardi Gras beads.

Lots of dead people.

And this.

Which I took as a sign that I should get back to my hotel in the relative safety of the French District post haste and not venture out alone in New Orleans ever again.

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