I can’t help it. It’s kind of like saying that you don’t love one child any more than the other child. You just love them differently…for their differences. They are both loveable. And loved.
As I wander the streets of New Orleans, I find myself thinking about Brooklyn. (Weirdly, I don’t find myself thinking about Walnut Creek.) I’m constantly comparing and contrasting. One of my first thoughts was that there seems to be fewer rats here, though more cockroaches. I know. But that’s where my first observations went.
Both locations (Bed Stuy and the French Quarter) are incredibly walkable. They are conducive to stepping out the door, picking a direction and going. Our friend Scott calls it a “green man” walk. You never stop. If you come upon a red light (man/hand), you just turn in the direction of the green light. I find myself doing that here though there aren’t many lights. Mostly stop signs. And as our Uber driver and I agreed today, they are only suggestions. He thinks that all stop signs should be replaced with a sign that says “Suggested Stop”.
So how do BedStuy and the French Quarter compare and contrast? I need a venn diagram here. They both have lots of street art which I love. Sometimes the message is obvious; sometimes I don’t understand it, but that’s art, right?
They both have friendly passers by. They both have areas that you want to walk through quickly (read not-so-safe feeling). They both sadly have lots of unhoused. They both have plenty of parks and cafes. The sidewalks are all uneven, cracked, root-filled and “improved” in various ways that really aren’t an improvement. They are both VERY dog-friendly and dog-filled. Both places have a park at the end of our block though in BedStuy it was mostly for basketball and sitting around and here it is for dogs and sitting around.
How are they different? The French Quarter is smaller. I can walk in any direction (well there are only 3 directions unless I want to swim across the river) and quickly be out of it. We are surrounded by The Warehouse District, Treme and the Marigny. At least that is my understanding of the nearby neighborhoods. The boundaries are pretty smushy. When you get out of NOLA, you are in the country and it doesn’t take too long to do that whereas in BedStuy it was a train ride to hit the rural areas.
Here we have abundant high end and low end restaurants all around us whereas in BedStuy we had a couple favorite closeby places, but often hit the subway to another neighborhood. (Now that I think about it, here we leave the neighborhood to eat too, it just feels different for some reason.) We could eat somewhere new every day for our entire stay here and never get in a car or on a bus. Speaking of…no subway here. The public transit is not as user-friendly or accessible. But that’s another post. I walk farther to a market and the corner stores (bodegas) are mostly about liquor and sandwiches in the French Quarter. Our neighbors are mostly like us – temporary – either just hanging out for awhile, working on a movie, or being a “traveling nurse” whereas in BedStuy, we were surrounded by generational Brooklynites.
So which do I like better? Here or there? Neither. They’re just different and the same and both loved.
Oh. I haven’t found the perfect croissant here. I guess I’ll just have to make do with a beignet.