Some free stuff I did today…

Gnarled Tree at Palmer Park from Alex Castros Flickr Photostream

Gnarled Tree at Palmer Park from Alex Castro's Flickr Photostream

Yeah! We found another bus that goes from near ma maama’s* on the West Bank, over the Crescent City Connection and to Canal Street in just 22 minutes. I love the Algiers Ferry, but it takes too damn long to get to it. 

The Gen. Meyer bus (102) lets off just one block away from the downtown branch of the New Orleans Public Library. I love this branch of the library. There is a great little patio on the third floor (smoke ’em if you have ’em) where you can take books and mags to read when the weather is good. Next to the patio entrance is a fascinating display of turn-of-the-century mug shots. I stared into the eyes of these people and tried to imagine what they were thinking. Some were scared shitless. But a few looked satisfied, contented. I made up the stories in my head. 

The magazine section at the NOPL sports anything from “The Atlantic Monthly” to “Vogue.” This is a really good way to spend my tax dollars, thank you very much. We spent two hours in there before meeting Melissa in Palmer Park for the free outdoor concert by the Louisiana Philharmonic.

We waited by the side of the stage for all of our party to show up. I saw a shiny bald head and said to Melissa: “I know that guy.” “He’s hot,” she said. “But he lives in Dallas.” I didn’t realize it was Nagin until his minders were ushering him away. I wonder if they were going to take public transportation.

Palmer Park is a weird one. A few weeks ago, my maama was chaffeuring us around, and we passed by Palmer Park. She crossed herself and told us to never go there. It was dangerous, she said. Gangs. Well, I did find an article about how the gangs were ruling the park, but the park also hosts a monthly Artist Market sponsored by the Arts Council, so you be the judge.

I have become fascinated by the names of things here. Where does Palmer Park get its name from? I googled and googled and could only come up with Reverend Benjamin Morgan Palmer. Now this guy was a pretty nasty piece of work and used his pulpit to proclaim that slavery was the will of God, so I can’t really figure out why there is a park named after him in this city of all places. The park had originally been called Hamilton Park, but the name was changed in 1902. Sometimes google does not give the full story, so I am going to ask at the library the next time I am there.

After the concert, Melissa dropped us off for the bus on Elk and Canal. We had an hour wait, and I was a little nervous. I kept hearing a cacophony of voices in my head saying that this was not a great place for a couple of alabaster people to be hanging around after dark. But it was fine.

And, here’s the rub: I want to be careful. I don’t want to be arrogant or brazen or disrespectful to anyone. But I feel that I should be able to go anywhere I want to in this city at any time of the day or night. Isn’t that freedom? People in this city are more afraid of what other Americans might do to them than they are by what any terrorist might do. So, why exactly are we spending 341 million dollars a day** on making people in Iraq free? I want to be free too. 

*We are gonna have to leave ma maama’s soon as we are starting to bother her landlord. Who wants to put us up next? Email me.

**This, by the way, is a very bad way to spend my tax dollars…bad, capitalism, bad.

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