picked us up at my maaama’s in Gretna. He had arranged for a meeting between us and his friend Don, whom Frank is sure will help us with connections. We drove over the beautiful Crescent City Connection to Cafe Reconcile
. A crowd of retired white folks outside who were literally bussed in from some hotel raved about the food and the service. Good. Reconcile Cafe is in Central City and employs at-risk youths and trains them up to work in the hospitality industry.
There are so many neighborhoods that have names that I don’t know. I started hearing about Central City after Ka-ka-ka-trina. Reading about it in the blogs while still in London. Where the hell is that? I asked myself. Well, it’s Dryads Street, which is now Oretha Castle Harvey Blvd
. Changed its name from tree nymphs to civil rights leader. I wonder anyway where the whole greek mythology theme came from what with Caliope and Elysian Fields and that.
I used to drive through Central City every day on my way to Loyola. I’d drive from Gentilly where I was living with my Aunt Velma to Bywater to pick up Mark at St. Cecilia where he was living with Ronnie. Then we’d drive all the way down Rampart cross over the Ponchetrain Expressway and then onto Dryads. It was a beautiful decaying street then, and it ended in the YMCA
, which was a beautiful decaying building. I always wanted to live in that building. It’s a school now. And there’s the Zeitgeist Theatre and a voter registration center down there.
I had smothered okra, green beans and cornbread. Yummy. This time, I went in armed with my own tupperware for my gator bag.
After, Frank drove us around through Mid City, City Park, Bayou St. John, Lakeview, Lake Vista, Gentilly and the Marigny. It was like doing a state of the union on New Orleans neighborhoods. I did this the last time I came here in December of 2006. Things still look pretty fucked up, so the afternoon had a bittersweet tinge to it.
Go here for a comprehensive article about Central City.