I’ll start out with an admission: for the first three years I live in New Orleans, I never rode the streetcar. Thankfully, I hopped on during my fourth year. There’s just something about taking a streetcar ride through uptown New Orleans that feels so timelessly authentic. Maybe it’s the history of the streetcar itself, maybe its the palatial homes along St. Charles. Whatever it is, it’s definitely an inspirational journey.
What was once something I never paid much attention to is now one of my favorite ways to get around in the city. Think about it. On a standard ride from the beginning of the line to the end of the line you pass Oak Street, Camellia Grill, Tulane, Loyola, Audubon Park, The Wedding Cake House, several daiquiri shops, Fat Harry’s, Superior Grill, Avenue Pub, a Popeye’s, Lee Circle, Lafayette Square, and countless restaurants. It’s like a who’s who of New Orleans all along the same tracks. I’m not sure you could ask for more whether driving, biking or riding. Plus, the $1.25 fare each way really can’t be beat in the days of close to $4 gas prices.
In addition to all the great stops along the route, there’s always something happening along the streetcar route. In fact, just yesterday, a lady was passed out on the tracks near Napoleon causing the whole line to come to a halt. Still not convinced? Only two weeks ago, an errant driver hit a streetlight post and shut down the service. And let’s not forget the tree that fell on the tracks right after Tropical Storm Lee.
While all of those incidents may sound like reasons NOT to take the streetcar, in actuality, they are perfect reasons for taking the streetcar. Point being, it’s never a boring ride. How else can you explain such an unconventional mode of transportation serving generations of New Orleanians?
On a serious note, the streetcar drivers are some of the best designated drivers in the city. We know we like to drink, the city knows we like to drink so they hired us a full fleet of designated drivers at minimal cost to us New Orleanians.
So next time you’re looking for any interesting way to get around (whether you’re sober or not), don’t forget about the New Orleans institution that is the New Orleans streetcar.