Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Public Transit Tuesdays: Tchoupitoulas

Posted By Google on Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Since the Tchoupitoulas bus comes only once an hour—with the exception of coming once every half hour in the early morning, late afternoon and early evening—this bus adventure was more of a walking tour. A very exhausting walking tour. Still, I explored different socioeconomic areas, stopped at some fun places and met some nice people who were eager to talk with me...

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The Tchoupitoulas bus line begins like most others, on Canal Street, but goes through a low socioeconomic area near the old St. Thomas Project, a middle socioeconomic area starting a few blocks away from the low socioeconomic area and a high socioeconomic area near the end of the line at Audubon Park.

RTA problem. How is anyone supposed to know this is a bus stop?
  • RTA problem. How is anyone supposed to know this is a bus stop?

Came across a field of sunflowers! Lots of sunflowers along this route.
  • Came across a field of sunflowers! Lots of sunflowers along this route.

Truthfully, I can't pass by the Tchoupitoulas Walmart without thinking about Mr. Ghetto's Walmart music video from last summer. In case you missed it, here's Mr. Ghetto's NSFW debut music video, "Wal-Mart."
Walmarts lingerie section, made famous by Mr. Ghetto
  • Walmart's "lingerie" section, made famous by Mr. Ghetto

Walmarts feminine hygiene section, made famous by Mr. Ghetto
  • Walmart's feminine hygiene section, made famous by Mr. Ghetto

"Jailhouse Bounce" is another NSFW music video from Mr. Ghetto, filmed at Falstaff Apartments.

Speaking of local rap music, I came across this Magnolia Shorty memorial mural:

Yes, it says, Monkey on a Dick in Heaven!!!
  • Yes, it says, "Monkey on a D*ck in Heaven!!!"

For anyone who's unfamiliar with the "monkey on a d*ck" reference, here's Magnolia Shorty's NSFW 1996 debut song, "Monkey on the D*ck." My favorite line: "But not me, I'm just a virgin with a capital V / when I get ready, to ride that stick, ya betta believe it's 1996 ya gotta monkey on it."

I passed by a building I was unfamiliar with and saw that it was the old New Orleans Brewing Company. Pretty neat that it's only a few blocks down from NOLA Brewing, who must have been brewing today as I could smell the steeping grains from a far distance.

New Orleans Brewing Company
  • New Orleans Brewing Company

Martin Schilde, chief engineer for the New Orleans Brewing Company, in the brewery in 1905.

While waiting to board the bus again, a man rode by on his bike and asked me if I wanted to buy a bus token for a dollar, a quarter less than bus fare. Since I had no cash and already had a day pass, I politely declined. He circled me and asked if I had a boyfriend. I told him I was engaged, but he still invited me to his home on Martin Luther King for a seafood dinner.

Me: "My fiance will get mad if I eat dinner at another man's house."
Dude: "It ain't gotta be nothin' sexual. And how he's gon' know you had dinner by me?"
Me: "I'll smell like seafood."
Dude: "Well we ain't gotta have seafood, what you wan' eat? You got any chirren?"
Me: "No sir, I have no kids, thank God!"
Dude: "You don't want no chirren?!"
Me: "Oh no, of course I do, just not now!"
Dude: "You gon' let him put one in ya?!"
Me: "Um. Yes. Eventually."
Dude: "Well he must be da one, den!"

He then biked away, looking for someone to buy his bus token.

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(back on the bus)

I wonder just how many signs have been tacked on this pole
  • I wonder just how many signs have been tacked on this pole

I've always wanted to go to McKeown's Books and Difficult Music (4737 Tchoupitoulas St., 895-1954; www.mckeownsbooks.com), but never had the chance until today. More than a healthy selection of new and used books, McKeown's has a non-fiction book club which meets on first Thursdays from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. and quite a few old, local yearbooks. I also spotted a Ricky Go Home flyer on the bulletin board. Since I don't know how to leave bookstores empty handed, I bought The Seventeen Reader, a 1951 anthology of stories and articles from Seventeen Magazine.

Ricky, go home!
  • Ricky, go home!

I passed by my cat Ellington's favorite boarding facility, Canine Connection (4920 Tchoupitoulas St., 218-4098; www.canineconnectionnola.com).
Ellington being taken to his condo at Canine Connection
  • Ellington being taken to his condo at Canine Connection

Motivated by the need for air conditioning and a seat, I stopped at Riverside Market, a well-equipped strip mall on Tchoupitoulas.

Until today, I had never noticed how nice Stein Mart (5300 Tchoupitoulas St., Suite B, 891-6377; www.steinmart.com) is. Unlike many other discount stores, the inventory at Stein Mart is on trend and not picked over. Specializing in housewares, clothing, luggage, pet supplies and gift items makes Stein Mart a great place to go pick up a present in a hurry.

Mom-scented candle? Smells more like sweets and flowers to me.
  • Mom-scented candle? Smells more like sweets and flowers to me.

FestiGals Bodacious Bras for a Cause on display at Stein Mart
  • FestiGals Bodacious Bras for a Cause on display at Stein Mart

Crossing the intersection at Jefferson and Tchoupitoulas is daunting for pedestrians, especially when drivers don't use turn signals.

I spotted an old sign for Cameo Beauty Salon, so old that the phone number was Twinbrook 5-6147!

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Glenn Miller's "Pennsylvania 6-5000"
I still love waiting for the "Pennsylvania six-five-oh-oh-oh" part.

Finally, I made it to Hansen's Sno-Bliz (4801 Tchoupitoulas St., 891-9788; www.snobliz.com). I actually planned this Public Transit Tuesday around Hansen's hours. I tried Hansen's for the first time last year with a friend and honestly, didn't get everyone's worship of it. I thought the snoballs were crafted well, but I didn't care for the flavors and just didn't get the hype.

I tried again today, and I finally get it.

Hansen's makes their own flavors, so they aren't going to be like the flavors that are available at most snoball stands. They are still very flavorful but lighter in terms of sweetness. The thing that really keeps people coming back to Hansen's is the service. Even the smallest snoball is huge because of the ball of ice on top. They layer the syrup in the snoballs so that each spoon has just enough syrup and they poke holes in the ball to create syrup tunnels. They do this for every snoball.

Strawberry Shortcake with crushed strawberries and whipped cream is so tasty
  • Strawberry Shortcake with crushed strawberries and whipped cream is so tasty

While there, I met a man whose picture is on a plaque in a display case at the stand. His name is Fred and he's an anesthesiologist living in New York, visiting with his son Jake before he goes to college in Chicago. "Ernest and Mary [Sno-Bliz founders] were like my adoptive parents," Fred said. "I worked here in the summers of '83, '84 and '85 and would come here every night after the World's Fair in '84." Fred is a 1985 Tulane graduate and was president of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity.

Jake and Fred at Hansens Sno-Bliz
  • Jake and Fred at Hansen's Sno-Bliz

Outside, I met a gentleman named Robert who lived in New Orleans for years before trying a snoball. "I was a Navy brat, so I lived all over before moving here in 1975 to study sculpture at Tulane," Robert said. "I used to go to Brocato's all the time for spumoni, but when I tried the passion fruit ice...boy!" Soon after, he tried Hansen's Sno-Bliz, since he passed it regularly. He likes to have a flavor for each summer, last year's being satsuma, this year's being ginger.

Robert outside of Hansens Sno-Bliz
  • Robert outside of Hansen's Sno-Bliz

I hope you enjoyed our bus adventure! Let's do it again next Tuesday! Also, please join me this Thursday to celebrate National Dump the Pump Day! I'll be going on bus adventures with anyone who wants an RTA bus/streetcar buddy, posting pictures and retweeting tweets that include the hashtag #DumpthePumpNOLA and helping anyone who needs assistance navigating RTA/JET/SBURT travel. If you want to ride together, just leave a comment on the Dump the Pump post or contact me on Twitter. As always, here are some outtakes from this bus adventure.

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