Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Famous Streets of America New Orleans Style

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There are some streets in America that are so well know that you don’t need to say in what city they are located. There may be hundreds, if not thousands of streets across the country of the same name, but mention that street name and only one city comes immediately to mind.

Wall Street? New York City

Pennsylvania Avenue? Washington, D.C.

Bourbon Street? It’s gotta be New Orleans.

I got my first look at Bourbon Street in June 1978. I had ridden an Amtrak train to the Crescent City and wanted to look around the French Quarter after I arrived.

I didn’t know where anything was. I had with me a piece of paper with famous New Orleans landmarks that had been written out by hand by a co-worker. It had the usual suspects, e.g., Jackson Square, Cafe du Monde and, of course, Bourbon Street.

The first time I saw Bourbon Street, I was taken aback. It was dirty, tawdry and not anything like I had expected.

I’ve been back to Bourbon Street a few times since my first trip there, including a trip in 2012 when I noticed that the city has, wisely, placed the street signs high up on the poles lest someone be tempted to taken one down and make it a souvenir.

This was one of the cleaner Bourbon Street signs that I noticed. But note the Mardi Gras beads just beneath the letter “B.”

Bourbon Street has changed much since I first saw it in 1978. But I’ve gotten used to it being what it is.


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