Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Public Transit Tuesdays: Tulane

Posted By Google on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 11:59 PM

Riding the Tulane bus is like putting in extra hours at work so you can enjoy your vacation: It sucks at the time and you sometimes wonder what you were thinking, but in the end, the reward is worth it...

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"Only thing I had this morning was a blunt!" was the first thing I heard when I boarded the Tulane bus. The first thing I smelled was stale urine, the same smell found at North Rampart and Canal streets. Good thing I packed my bus bag this time!

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The Tulane bus itself is physically a fine bus—with the exception of the wrap-around ads and RTA decals which obstruct the riders' view—which stays on schedule and connects to several other popular routes (Jefferson Transit's Kenner Local and Airport routes and about half of the RTA's routes), but the riders can sometimes be vexing: Riders are often going to and from University Hospital, the courthouse or prison, so it's understandable that they might not be in the right mindset to practice bus etiquette. Common bus etiquette infractions on the Tulane bus are leaving trash behind, eating, drinking, being rowdy and playing music too loudly.
Combined with the lack of street signs, people could easily miss their stops.
  • Combined with the lack of street signs, people could easily miss their stops.
What a cute little baby!
  • What a cute little baby!

My first stop was to the Save-a-Lot grocery store on the corner of Earhart and South Carrollton. My Nanny Shelita is always talking about how much she loves Save-a-Lot, so I wanted to check it out. I was also still in Cheap Thrills mode.

It's easy to see how the Save-a-Lot business model works: Like most grocery stores, they sell some items at a lower price (Patton's hot sausage, $5.29 at Save-a-Lot, $14.99 at Rouses; Butterball turkey bacon, $1 at Save-a-Lot, $3.99 at Rouses), other items at a higher price (Cacique chorizo, $1.29 at Save-a-Lot, .89 at Wal-Mart) and offer many non-grocery items including restaurant gift cards, phone cards and cookware. Save-a-Lot differs from most grocery stores in their primarily off-brand inventory (Mountain Holler lemon-lime soda, Bubba cola and Tickle diapers) and in charging for plastic grocery bags.

While I was taking pictures of some of the items, a stock boy approached me, asking me what I was doing. Lord, here we go. "I'm with the Gambit," I quickly told him so he could leave me alone. He stopped bothering me, but I soon felt someone following me. It was the manager, I'm guessing, telling me that pictures aren't allowed in Save-a-Lot. She didn't even know what Gambit was, po' thing.

(That's something I don't understand. No pictures at a strip club, okay I get that. But at a store? How can that harm you? Am I going to go home and copy what I see? And who's to say I'm not like Martha Stewart and won't go home and sew a jacket just like yours and make you feel soooo small at school the next day? ...so to speak.)

Speaking of strip clubs, the names of these cereals could be strippers names!
  • Speaking of strip clubs, the names of these cereals could be strippers' names!

My next stop was to The Catholic Book Store (3003 S. Carrollton Ave., 861-7504), the oldest bookstore in New Orleans. "I like to say that we are Catholic with a lowercase-C because we are open to all religions and even those with no religion at all," manager Anne Komly says. Founded in 1939 by Florence Henderson, the non-profit bookstore—which is not financially supported by the Archdiocese—will special order upon customer request.

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In addition to the books and gifts of Catholic and Christian interest, there are many pieces of art for sale, used books, greeting cards and a vast selection of children's gifts and books of local interest.
Am I wrong for thinking these would be great for a Saints party?
  • Am I wrong for thinking these would be great for a Saints party?

I walked down a few blocks to the corner of South Carrollton and Walmsley to visit Walter the fruit man. Helping him was 12-year-old Nicholas Ramsey. Nicholas was so polite and it makes me happy to see kids building a good work ethic.
Walter and Nicholas
  • Walter and Nicholas

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(back on the bus)

"Oooh I ain't goin' to jail no mo'! I be tellin' da hos, 'Imma call da police on ya!' cuz I get picked up for every li'l thing!" was the first thing I heard on the Tulane bus on my trip to Boswell's Jamaican Grill (3521 Tulane Ave., 482-6600).

If you want Jamaican food for a great price in the city, this is the place. I ordered my usual: jerk chicken with callaloo (greens), macaroni and cheese and plantains with a Ting (Jamaican grapefruit soda). The bill came to about $10 though I could've made out for less had I ordered the $8.95 lunch buffet. However, there are no plantains on the lunch buffet and I need my plantains. Plantains are why I stopped going to Coco Hut on Bayou Road; I'd always make sure I was going to get my plantains, but I never got them. Ever! The Coco Hut menu says that you will get plantains with your meal, so I'm perplexed as to why they're never on my plate. Since the owner is also the waiter at Boswell's, it's better to go to the counter when you're ready to pay than to wait for him to get to you. It's also not a bad idea to go to the counter when you need something, like extra jerk sauce.

Delicious jerk chicken, callaloo, macaroni and cheese and plantains from Boswells
  • Delicious jerk chicken, callaloo, macaroni and cheese and plantains from Boswell's

My final stop was to Goodwill (3400 Tulane Ave., 456-2622; www.goodwill.org), just to look around. One great thing about the Tulane bus route is that there are so many thrift stores on it: Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Pelican Thrift and Canal Furniture. If you catch the Kenner Local from the Tulane, you can ride down Jefferson Highway for about five more thrift stores, too! Goodwill has a lot of housewares, CDs, DVDs and furniture, but looking through the clothes can be a pain, since many people donate boxes of t-shirts with the same design.
Sinister clown stained glass
  • Sinister clown stained glass

So thats why Santas eyes--I mean cheeks!--are so red.
  • So that's why Santa's eyes—I mean cheeks!—are so red.

Maybe I could use this to sneak into the Gallier Hall stands for Mardi Gras
  • Maybe I could use this to sneak into the Gallier Hall stands for Mardi Gras

Thanks for checking out my latest bus adventure! As always, here are a few outtakes from this bus adventure. I hope you'll read again next week when I ride the Algiers Ferry and a Westbank bus!

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