Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Widest Street

Once again, our one-day pass gave us the opportunity to board the Canal Street streetcar for a morning of photography in the Central Business Distric of New Orleans.

We were surprised to learn that it had been 40 years since the Canal Streetcar rumbled down the business district of the city when revenue service was resumed in 2004.

Canal Street is 170 feet wide and is said to be the widest roadway in America to have been classified as a street instead of the "avenue" or "boule-vard" titles more typically appended to wide urban thoroughfares.

The name of the avenue comes from a planned canal linking the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain. The canal was never constructed, but the name remained.

In the early 1800s, after the Louisiana Purchase, the French Creoles residing in the French Quarter were segregated from the Americans who settled upriver from Canal Street The communities had separate governments and police systems, and what is now Canal Street—and, most specifically, the central median running down Canal Street—was neutral ground between them. Today, animosities between these two groups are history, but the term "neutral ground" has survived as the name for all medians throughout the city.

Some of the grand buildings that once lined Canal Street remain, many of them former department stores and businesses now serving as hotels, restaurants, or souvenir shops. The Werlein Building, once a multilevel music store, is now the Palace Café (right) restaurant.

After a short ride on the streetcar, we wanted to walk along the street to photograph the architectural details of some of the older buildings. We were not prepared for the sight that greeted us.

We had been having negotiations with our persnickity cat Adler about the use of her name in our restaurant review awards. She had threatened to sign with CATS-TV in Silver City, New Mexico.

It turns out, she signed a deal with Rolex for the use of her name. This sign was quite convincing, as was the message on the clock (left). "It's Adler Time" was quite impressive.

(Well, we later learned that Adler will allow us to continue to use her name in our reviews. It seems that she is set for life, so she has dropped her threats to leave and will drop all demands for more treats.)

We continued our walk on Canal Street with a few sidetrips into the Central Business District (west of Canal). The decorative archistectural touches were impressive--especially when contrasted with the more modern rectangular, detail-free buildings.

I am unaware of the names of these buildings, so they are simply submitted for viewing.

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