A Quarter on Esplanade Avenue
Life is rich in New Orleans, especially on Esplanade Avenue. Pennies may not rain from Heaven but there is plenty of spare change lying around on the street and on the banquettes.
Here is a secret: People don't call the sidewalk the sidewalk in New Orleans. New Orleans call the sidewalk by its French name. They call it the banquette.
Here is another secret. Nobody in New Orleans calls the sidewalk the banquette. That's a myth that the tour guides and the guide books tell the tourists. I've never heard anyone outside a full-paid-for walking tour call the sidewalk a banquette. Everybody calls the sidewalk a sidewalk.
It is what it is.
Visitors come to New Orleans expecting to hear natives speaking French. I don't know anyone who parlays le français. Some people try, and they say it just as I just wrote it. Parlay-voo isn't parlez-vous?
Somebody dropped a quarter, a 25-cent piece, a Delaware commemorative quarter, on Esplanade Avenue close to the neutral ground.
The neutral ground is what we call the strip of grass that runs down the middle of a New Orleans street. Esplanade Avenue has a neutral ground. You have to go a couple of blocks in either direction for another street with a neutral ground. In the uptown direction, the next closest street with a neutral ground is Ursulines Avenue. It's the third street upriver from Esplanade Avenue. In the downtown direction, the next closest street with a neutral ground is St. Bernard Avenue. St. Bernard Avenue is seven blocks downriver from Esplanade Avenue.
Somebody dropped a coin worth 25-cents on Esplanade Avenue in the 2300 block of our street. It just laid there and sparkled in the morning sun.
A young girl, she was five, six, maybe seven years old, she saw the coin and she ran into the street to get it. "25 cents!" she exclaimed as she dashed into the street. Luckily, there wasn't much traffic at that moment. Esplanade Avenue is a main street but it isn't a terribly busy street by major city standards.
There weren't any cars on the street as the girl ran into the street to pick up the quarter. Even though there weren't any cars being driven toward the French Quarter (it was the uptown side of Esplanade Avenue), the girl's mother jumped into the street with her arms outstretched to direct traffic and protect her daughter.
The girl got her quarter. She and her mother went over to the banquette (what we call the sidewalk in New Orleans) and they continued on their way toward the river. There are all sorts of treasures to be found in New Orleans for those who have an eye open for the details on Esplanade Avenue.
Esplanade Avenue is a safe street. Even if you're not looking out for yourself, someone else will be. That's the New Orleans way. "Look, Momma," the girl said when she and her mother had stepped back on the sidewalk, "It's got a picture of Caesar Rodney." Don't let anyone tell you that New Orleans schoolchildren don't get a thorough education in American history or in numismatics.
If you want to experience Esplanade Avenue for yourself, and visit New Orleans like you live here, make a reservation at La Belle Esplanade. Our inn will serve as your New Orleans lifestyle headquarters for three nights or a lifetime. Good memories are made on Esplanade Avenue. Come discover that for yourself and make your own good memories here.