A Vieux From Toulouse

(Art by Eric Styles)
If an economy crashes and there is no one there to hear it, does it still make a sound?

As much as I want this shut down to end, I’m going to kind of miss it. The French Quarter is like small town America now. Mayberry like. Sparsely occupied sidewalks with familiar residents, little traffic. No litter or feces to step around, none. Quiet, eerie quiet. No music or barkers, no revving engines of little dick assholes, no screaming bachelorette banshees, just silence. Do you know that we have song birds in the Quarter? We do. I’m really impressed by how much sex my neighbors have.

By nature, I try to distance myself from people in public. Now it’s not just socially acceptable, it’s mandated. The best part is, I can no longer be accused of “microaggressions.”

“Why dija’cross the street to the other side? You racist?”
“You’re shirtless, have a huge piss stain on the front of your pants, wearing one shoe and are waving a broken beer bottle. Fuck yea, I’m crossing over to the other sidewalk.”

Now it’s my civic duty to put as much distance between me and strangers as I can.

I’ve been on the receiving end of the stare. One early evening a couple of years ago while walking down Toulouse towards Decatur, a cliché Midwest family were walking towards me; a sitcom-looking family: mom, dad and two kids. A boy, around 11 years of age, and the girl, about 8 years of age, were taking up the sidewalk. I was on curb side preparing to pass by, when from about 8 feet away, the boy looks up at me and shrieks “STRANGER DANGER!” He grabs his little sister and pulls them both back in line between their parents.

The father at the rear looks at me, knowing half of the block heard his son. The dad’s eyes were huge with a look of panic and embarrassment. I glared back with my most animated expression of “REALLY?”

A half a block later, I chuckled to myself thinking that I should have gone Jake Blues on all of them.

Cafe du Monde reopens for in-dining service as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted

(Photo: jc.winkler | CC Flickr)
Cafe du Monde reopened on Friday for the first time since closing its doors in March due to COVID-19.

The coffee and beignet shop, located at 800 Decatur St., is now open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day of the week as part of the May 16 phased reopening and easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in New Orleans.

Normally open 24 hours a day, the restaurant and must-see stop for tourists was forced to cease in-dining operations and use take-out or delivery services following Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s March 16 stay-at-home order issued as a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

As the lockdown progressed, the restaurant also maintained its mail order operations by shipping coffee and beignet mix.

Cafe du Monde also ceased operations following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and received national media attention when it reopened nearly two months later.

The phased reopening is based on several conditions, including that coronavirus cases continue to drop and that people continue following public health guidelines such as social/physical distancing at least 6 feet apart from each other, according to the city’s safe reopening page.

Read more on the city’s reopening plan at ready.nola.gov.

Cafe du Monde, 800 Decatur St., 504-525-4544, open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week; cafedumonde.com.

Unique Grocery on Royal Street ordered to shut down for not regulating social distancing

French Quarter Festival, Satchmo Summerfest canceled due to COVID-19

Two annual festivals held in the French Quarter for the last several decades were canceled, organizers announced on Thursday, adding to the increasing financial blow to businesses and growing list of events nixed due to the shutdown of the New Orleans tourist economy caused by closures and stay-at-home orders issued during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a Twitter statement on May 7, the nonprofit organizer of the French Quarter Festival and Satchmo Summerfest said both 2020 events were officially canceled and were rescheduled in 2021.

Additionally, the organizer, French Quarter Festival, Inc., launched a resilience campaign to raise money that will cover the loss of revenue caused by the pandemic.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a March 16 order closing certain businesses, including bars and live performance venues that compose much of the French Quarter. Gov. John Bel Edwards’ issued a statewide stay-at-home order on March 22, which was extended to at least May 15.

French Quarter Festival, which started in 1984 and is described as one of America’s largest free music festivals, was postponed until October this year but rescheduled for April 8 to 11 in 2021.

Satchmo Summerfest, which celebrates the life of New Orleans jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong and is held in early August, is rescheduled for July 30 to August 1, 2021.

Both festivals combined contribute to the generate substantial financial support annually for businesses and musicians in the French Quarter.

Jazz, Voodoo and Essence festivals were also canceled this year due to coronavirus.

People who visited the New Orleans in 2017 contributed nearly $8.8 billion to the local economy, according to the city’s Tourism Marketing Corporation, which spent almost $16.7 million promoting the city in the same year.