This city is not OK. Riding through Midcity and into downtown on a slow moving, displaced St. Charles streetcar today provided me with a stunning panorama of just how down and out this place really is. First off, the ride was free. Fares are being paid for with FEMA and state support. That's just weird.
Secondly, there were only about 15 passengers the ENTIRE ROUTE. This is a route I have ridden hundreds, perhaps thousands of times in my life and a pre-K rush hour ride on the Canal bus or streetcar was always a packed and uncomfortable thing. It was very disconcerting to be able to sit anywhere on the car and only have to stop a few times the whole run.
The ride also allowed me to really take in the destruction and lack of progress, not to mention people, along the route. It's downright heartbreaking. From the piles of deconstructed homes and businesses still lining the streets to the broken windows and burned out carcasses of downtown, things have hardly changed at all since September.
The only bright spot was that the streetcar now runs all the way down the riverfront to the French Market so I only had to walk a few blocks from the end of the line to my house.
None the less I heartliy recommend talking the ride. The weather is really pleasant right now, the ride is free and it provides a unique perspective of our current situation.