Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Public Transit Tuesdays: Avondale

Posted By Google on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 11:59 PM

Other than Mosca's Restaurant, the Avondale Shipyard and Dollar World, I had absolutely no clue what I'd come across while riding the Avondale bus. Turns out I'd try a new snoball flavor, dine at a strange restaurant, meet a local rapper's father, do some impulse thrifting and more...

Elroy, JeT bus driver
  • Elroy, JeT bus driver

To ride the Avondale bus, coming from New Orleans, you have to catch the Westbank Expressway bus. There is no other bus to take you there. I thought there was a Walkertown Terminal to and from the CBD bus, but the driver said there wasn't. As I've said before, those new JeT buses are so luxurious and the marquee and stop announcements make it easy to figure out where you are. But I really wish they provided day passes so it wouldn't be so expensive to go on route explorations. Again, they had them before Katrina. Once you arrive at the Walkertown Terminal, the Avondale bus, which passes through Marrero, Westwego, Avondale and Waggaman, should be waiting.


The Avondale bus was more crowded than I imagined but everyone was really friendly. I met a very nice gentleman from Harvey named Frankie. He saw me taking pictures and said he was a huge Gambit fan. He usually catches a ride home from an Avondale Shipyard coworker, but since he got off early today, he caught the bus. He also said that working at Avondale Shipyard is strenuous, but he enjoys being able to keep food on the table for his family.
  • Frankie

The houses in Avondale and Waggaman remind me of '80s/'90s New Orleans East or Gentilly and make me happy. And you can tell by the toys in so many front yards, the well-maintained parks and the plethora of snoball stands that it's a nice place to raise a family. Some of the houses even have quirky touches like a gold sequined ceramic swan, a cat poster or an old school satellite dish. There were also quite a few Blessed Mother statues.

Once the bus came back to Westwego, I stopped at the bodega on the corner of Laroussini Street and Westbank Expressway, because I can never pass up a bodega. It was pretty small, but I found a few intriguing items: Mui-Bon candy which appears to be the love child of a Ferrero Rocher chocolates and a Kit Kat, Salsita de Chamoy which is apparently a sour goo that goes well with everything and alum which has a centuries-old reputation of providing vaginal tightness when used in a douche. Anyway...


After that, I stopped at Abear snoball stand next to Hebert's Fina service station on the corner of Avenue A and Westbank Expressway, since snoballs are another thing I can't pass up. While looking the menu over, I came across a new flavor: Jamaican Man. I'm proud to say that I now know what Jamaican men taste like: coconut, strawberry and banana — and they are a lovely shade of reddish-orange.

When I was leaving, a man struck up a conversation...

"What flavor is that?"

"Jamaican man."

"Oh you from the islands?"

"No, I'm from New Orleans, the 7th Ward. Over there (points toward New Orleans)."

"Oh...OH! I know where that is! Where they passe blanc (when fair-skinned blacks would pass for white), huh?"

"Um, yeah, well not so much now. But yeah. I'm just taking pictures because I work for the Gambit."

"Oh, Gambit! My son's been in there a few times! He's [local rapper] Baby Boy da Prince!"

Here's the Baby Boy da Prince song that was in constant rotation in New Orleans after Katrina, "The Way I Live."

(Speaking of passing for white.... My mom and I were at a relative's funeral, Lydia Sindos' to be exact, when I met a relative who passed for white and moved to Los Angeles. When my Mom introduced me to him, I wanted to laugh because he looked like a tan person wearing far too light makeup or as we say in the 7th Ward, "the roach who fell in the flour." My Paw Paw talked about how close he was to passing for white and moving to Los Angeles, but that his brother convinced him otherwise.)


Next stop was to Piggly Wiggly on the corner of Avenue H and Westbank Expressway, since I didn't even know there was a Piggly Wiggly in the greater New Orleans area. I found plenty different syrups, Creole cream cheese, American Beauty butter and canned margaritas! The fresh food sections were all very clean, too.
American Beauty, its been far too long!
  • American Beauty, it's been far too long!

After that, I walked across the street to go to Joe's Southern Eatery at 812 Westbank Expressway. It looks chain-y, so I asked the young lady at the counter if it was a chain. She said that it wasn't, but that the owner had a few other restaurants in the greater New Orleans area. She offered to let me speak to him, so I asked him about the other restaurants and he said that Joe's was his only restaurant. Now I was getting secretly angry. Was he lying to me? Since it looked so chain-y, I asked what sides were prepared in-house. He said that the dirty rice, snap beans and cole slaw were, so I thought about trying them. But the seafood menu was sort of strange and only had meals that came with two sides, without a drink. I got a little frustrated and left to go to Walgreens next door to suck up the air conditioning. While checking out, the cashier noticed the Joe's menu in my hand and said that she really liked it. So I went.

The fried catfish and jumbo shrimp were good, but I didn't care for the snap beans or coleslaw. Oddly enough, I really enjoyed the tartar and cocktail sauces. The portions are huge — way too much for me, especially lately — and you can't order anything a la carte. Another menu issue is that only some menu items are on the menu that hangs on the wall, with the entirety of the menu on a printed brochure. If I were to go back, I'd split a plate with someone. I'd also order something grilled or the gyro since the streets are saying that the owner also owns a Middle Eastern restaurant. But since I may have been outright lied to, I'm not too sure I'll go back.


The devil was beating his wife when I headed back out, which was fine since it was so hot.


A person who commented on last week's Public Transit Tuesday will be happy to know that I was able to offer my food to someone. Sadly, no one wanted it and I had to throw it away because it was getting wet with rain. One thing about rain in the middle of a hot day is that when you stand in the puddles in sandals, it's reminiscent of when you're swimming in a cool pool and accidentally swim into a kid's warm wee wee zone. Gross, but true.

I came across Sam Perino's Seafood and Deli on the corner of Oak and Westbank Expressway and regret not going here for lunch. The menu and prices were better and they've been open for nearly 40 years, selling quality local meats and seafood. I guess I know for next time.
Taxidermy on the wall is always a good sign
  • Taxidermy on the wall is always a good sign

My final stop was to Family Thrift Center at the corner of Carmadelle and Westbank Expressway. There was a location in New Orleans East before Katrina, by the way. Everything was arranged nicely and there weren't multiples of any items, which is something that really bugs me about Goodwill. I bought a skirt, a rocking horse alarm clock that I hope makes carousel sounds, a mushroom napkin holder that'll go great with my Harvest Gold fridge and embroidered wall hanging and a remote that doesn't work for my TV; if anyone out there has a remote for a Magnavox TV/VCR/DVD from 2006 that I can borrow, I'd be forever grateful.
My purchases
  • My purchases


Engelbert Humperdinck's "After the Lovin'" was one of my favorite songs as a girl. What a hottie!

Thank you for checking out this bus adventure! Please join me again next week! A few outtakes are below, as always.

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