A Street Where Dreams Come True
Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans is three miles long. It's isn't a long street but it is densely packed with details and those details are richly textured. People don't get lost on Esplanade Avenue, it's a straight line from the Mississippi River on one end and Bayou St. John, and City Park, on the other end. People do get lost in their reveries, though. Esplanade Avenue inspires daydreams, flights of fancy, what-if? musings, and joyful reveries of the heart and spirit. Esplanade Avenue is a beautiful street.
Esplanade Avenue is the second-most beautiful street in New Orleans. Which one is the most beautiful? Let that street get its own website. You're on Esplanade Dreams, so we focus on what happens on Esplanade Avenue and in its surrounding neighborhoods.
Esplanade Avenue is a world of its own. Esplanade Avenue is the dividing line between the 6th Ward and the 7th Ward in New Orleans. Close to the river, Esplanade divides the French Quarter from Faubourg Marigny. Further lakeside, Esplanade Avenue divides Faubourg Tremé from a neighborhood that is simply called the 7th Ward. On the other side of North Broad Avenue, Esplanade Avenue runs through the center of Faubourg St. John, also called Bayou St. John, until it hits the entrance of City Park at Beauregard Circle. It can be complicated. It gets more complicated than what I've just described above.
Esplanade Avenue really is its own world. It's not really a part of the 6th or 7th Wards. It is the spine of Faubourg St. John, but its different from the rest of that faubourg. It's neither the Marigny nor the Quarter, either. Esplanade Avenue just is what it is. Esplanade Avenue resides in its own sphere of influence, a part of and apart from its surrounding streets.
I, your humble narrator, your man on the street, live on Esplanade Avenue. I live on the 6th Ward side, the Tremé side. If it tell people I live in Tremé, they say, "No, you live on Esplanade Avenue," and they're right.
The part of Esplanade Avenue I live on is technically part of Mid-City, the largest of New Orleans' officially designated neighborhoods (unless you count the 9th Ward, but that's a matter of overlapping jurisdictions. Everything is complicated here.). Mid-City's motto is "The Heart of New Orleans." New Orleans has a big heart. If I tell somebody that I live in Mid-City, they'll look at me quizzically. "No, man, you don't live in Mid-City. You live on Esplanade Avenue." They're right, too, of course. I go to Mid-City, but I live on Esplanade Avenue.
Walking down Esplanade Avenue is like a walk through fairy-land. Bus tours, bicycle tours, people from out of town stroll up and down Esplanade Avenue every day and they think everything in New Orleans is back since the federal levees failed during Hurricane Katrina in August, 2005. Nope. There is still plenty of work left to be done to clean up and rebuild after Katrina. Plenty. You can see that in the neighborhoods that surround Esplanade Avenue. New Orleans is very different now than it was before Katrina. Some say it's different for the better. Some say it's different for the less-than-better. A lot of changes are afoot in this part of New Orleans.
Dreams come true in this part of New Orleans. Esplanade Avenue is a long vortex of forces that mix and mingle, a melting pot of innovation and tradition, a place where neighbors are good neighbors and strangers are friends we just haven't yet met. Dreams come true on Esplanade Avenue, like a flock of birds on a sunny day in a clear and cloudless sky. You never know what you'll find when you turn a corner in New Orleans. I can tell you one thing you can count on: it's gonna be memorable. Good memories are made on this street.