This is what New Orleans is like today. It’s been this way for days. Love in the time of COVID-19:
I would say we live in interesting times, but, with nothing open and everyone staying home, the times in New Orleans aren’t very interesting.
Melanie and I take a bicycle ride for at least an hour every morning. Don’t worry, we never get close to anyone else. Then, work on projects around the inn. Then, we have lunch at home. We usually have lunch at restaurants because we have to be able to talk about and recommend local cuisine to our guests. Lunch is work for us. All the restaurants are closed except for the ones that are open, and those are open for takeout only.
After we eat lunch at home, we take a motor scooter ride to see what is going on in the city. New Orleans is a ghost town. I feels like when we moved here after the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina. The motor of New Orleans is paused.
We went out to New Orleans East today, which isn’t a picturesque ride to begin with. If the East was it’s own city, it would be the fourth largest city in Louisiana, after Baton Rouge and Shreveport. The East is one empty shopping center after another. It’s been that way since Katrina.
When most people visit New Orleans, they stay in the French Quarter. If they venture out, they go to the Garden District. They go home an tell their friends they have seen everything in New Orleans. Everything is back since Katrina.
Some things are back. In the real New Orleans, in the places most tourists never go, there is still a lot of work to be done. New Orleans is still missing about 100,000 that it had before Katrina. That’s a fifth of the population. That’s a lot of empty buildings and empty space.
To see the French Quarter empty, to see Frenchmen Street empty, to see St. Charles Avenue and Magazine Street empty, well, let me tell you, seeing those parts of New Orleans empty again hurts a sensitive heart.
Everyone who has chosen to live in New Orleans since Katrina destroyed the city loves New Orleans with a big wide open heart. To see the streets empty is like a knife. New Orleans exists to be shared. Sharing the New Orleans state of mind is what we do. Everyone is welcome.
This is the view of the Central Business District, what we call the CBD, here, from where I was standing when I shot the video on the lakeside uptown corner of the intersection of Bourbon and Conti Streets. Conti is pronounced, “Kon-TIE.”
We look forward to meeting you and to sharing our part of New Orleans when it is time for you to visit this wonderful city we call home. If not this year, maybe next. We’ll be here for you.
You have two friends on Esplanade Avenue,
–La Belle Esplanade
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