French Quarter, part three: Treme, Bubba Gumps and Waiting for the Bus
Treme: The saddest place in the Big Easy
If you haven’t watched HBO lately you wouldn’t know much about this place. It is the oldest African American neighborhood in this country. It was where free, and recently freed slaves were able to buy land and start over. It is where the Southern Civil Rights Movement began, and it is the birthplace of jazz. Not too shabby. By 2005 Treme, or the Sixth Ward had morphed from historic gem to urban decay. After Katrina the place was simply abandoned.
Signs on plywood said “Beware of Aggressive Dogs.” These “projects” were added in the 1950’s and 60’s and quickly led to a conjested, impoverished inner city.
This was an appropriate way to end our “tour” of the oldest cemetery in New Orleans. Treme and St. Louis Cemetery are next door neighbors. There is such a sense of loss and sadness on these streets. Only a few blocks from “party city,” lies the heart of pain in a town that walks a thin edge between life and death. Here is a good website for more information on Treme’s history. http://www.tremedoc.com/
Bubba Gumps: Something familiar
After walking back from the graveyard and Treme, we found ourselves with a little time on our hands. The problem was that our feet really hurt. So we went into Bubba Gumps for some tea and a place to “set awhile.” This guy behind the counter was in full Forrest Gump character.
Sometimes, it’s the fool who has the real wisdom. I love that movie. It is one of my top ten favorites. I also love the shrimp tacos and the corn hush puppies, and the tea, at Bubba Gumps.
Waiting for the bus
So, after a long day of walking, taking pictures and eating great food, we were pretty tired. We headed down to the parking lot early to just sit and wait. The sun was sinking behind the skyscrapers, so it started to get cold, but we were there in time and wouldn’t have to “pay.”
Just as the rest of our group started to arrive we heard a loud horn blow. It blew and blew, long and loud. Of course, a train, right through the middle of the parking lot. This train went by at quite a fast pace, but it lasted for a good 15 minutes. I wondered if the KOA tour guide knew this would happen and just wanted to make sure we were there when he was.
As the train ambled on and on and on, our attention was diverted for a few mintues toward the river and this huge cruise ship. It seems that wherever there is a large body of water you will find some sort of cruise ship.
I think I’ll leave the cruising to my more social friends. I prefer wandering around a place on my own, following my own thoughts and directions.
In the end, I guess I’m glad I went to Nwaulins. I could’ve lived the rest of my life satisfied without it, but now I have a better appreciation for its energy and uniqueness, for better or worse.
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