Inebriated people wandering the streets, drinks in hand, nightclubs with sex acts, loud music, mounted police above the crowd keeping watch – Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of the Big Easy, right?
Most tourists leave thinking the entire Quarter, or the Vieux Carre as locals call it, looks like the noisy end of Bourbon, but a lot of regular working folk live quiet, peaceful lives in the VC. They walk their pets, take them to the vet, shop, go to the drug store for prescriptions, post their mail, hang out in local bars, eat breakfast in non-tourist places with their neighbors.
All it takes is a little foot power to find the quiet nooks where life goes on much as it has ever since the French first founded New Orleans in 1718 – except instead of horses, cars (and sometimes segways) traverse the streets.
So, if you were a local, what would your day look like? Your home could be a tiny house, or even be hidden behind a garden entrance. Rents are twice what they are in the Ninth Ward – now you know why lots of the street entertainers lived there instead of the VC. You would probably rely on foot power rather than a car – parking is at a premium in the VC and everything is close enough anyway.
If you wanted to have a good breakfast and chat over the news with your neighbors you could stroll to the Clover Grill. Open 24 hours a day, it serves up a good breakfast for under $4. The menus are meant to cheer up your day – “If your order doesn’t come in 5 minutes, it might come in another 5, relax, you’re not in New York” says the menu on the wall.
You might want to take your dog for a walk and stop by the vet’s for some flea treatment – warm weather brings them out.
A lot of your neighbors like plants, you notice,
and some even like veritable forests for privacy. You can wave to the kids outside the school as you stroll.
To shop you can stop at a local grocery, or for more major shopping brave a band or a streetside drunk to go to Rouse’s where you can find just about anything.
There’s a couple choices for where to wash your clothes.
There’s a couple doctors practicing in VC, and even a stress clinic. You would probably avoid the tourist Walgreen’s on Decatur, but there’s a back street pharmacy to supply prescriptions, or if you want to do it the old fashioned way you can look for a cure or charm at the voodoo shop.
In the evening you can stroll to the local sports bar. Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop has been the locals’ hang out on the quiet end of Bourbon for generations.
All in all, a comfortable satisfying, normal day – not a strip club in sight, but if you want to party hardy, it’s just a stroll to the noisy end of Bourbon. And you don’t have to be a local to experience life like one, just walk a few blocks farther down the road.