|Sarah's Excellent Streetcar Adventure
|This was at Canal Street after all the passengers got off, before we started our return trip. The motorman was a great guy, he let us stay on and take pictures and even held up the streetcar once while Mary rushed outside to take "one last" picture. I noticed that there were at least 3 other people taking photos, too. (Tourists or nostalgic New Orleanians??) The man behind us said we were adrift in "Kodak moments." Anyway, the motorman was very kind--a goodwill ambassador, for sure.|
|Heading toward the end of the line.|
|Back at St. Charles and Napoleon.
Time to wind up an excellent adventure.
|Welcome home, streetcars.
You are very, very welcome indeed.
|The uprooted trees and flood waters did extensive damage to the historic St. Charles streetcar line. Dedicated men and women have been working tirelessly ever since to bring the streetcars home to St. Charles Avenue. The old street just wasn't the same without the rumble of the motor and the clang of the bell. But, on the first of November, 2007, the streetcars were able to become operational once more. New Orleanians are proud and grateful to have their streetcars in service again! There's no doubt that seeing and hearing the old streetcars on St. Charles once again has buoyed the spirits of the residents. Many things in the city that people used to take for granted as things that would always be with us are now held close in affection by the residents of New Orleans and those who love the city.
Since they have been out of commission for more than two years, my little 3 year old granddaughter, Sarah, had never taken a ride on the St. Charles streetcar. We decided (Sarah and I) that it was long overdue. So, off we went to meet my good friend, Mary, and enjoy a lovely ride on a beautiful New Orleans day in early December. For Mary and me, it was nostalgic, a time to remember the streetcar rides of our youth...to the Milton Latter Library...to Saturday afternoon movies at the Saenger or Loew's Theaters...to shop for new shoes on Canal Street (do you remember Burt's and Baker's? a teenager can never have too many shoes!)...and so many other trips up and down the line.
But, for Sarah, it was an excellent adventure. She generally gets bored pretty easily and I didn't for a moment think the trip would hold her spellbound all the way downtown and then for a return trip. But it did. With a smile on her face and the breeze from the open window blowing through her hair, she sat totally intrigued with the ride, the scenery, the passing motorists and pedestrians---who, happy to see the streetcar again, returned her exuberant waves with exuberance of their own. The mesmerizing motor under the floorboards rumbling with a sound and vibration all its own, the soft lurches of the stops and starts, and the clang of the trolley bell--here I come, move out of my way!--all having the same effect on Sarah that they've had on generations of New Orleans children. As I held my arm around her, making sure she didn't lean too far out of the window--you remember your mother's warning, "You'll hit your head on a post!"--the years melted away and I could've sworn it was my son, Jim, and we were heading down Carrollton to Oak Street to shop at Woolworth's and have a burger at their counter, then, before catching the streetcar home, a stop at McKenzie's to secure some of his prized "turtles" for a special treat. I guess maybe a streetcar ride has that effect on some of us...the magical ability to launch us into the past, while we're still fully enjoying every moment of the present.