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Ugh, It's Mardi Gras Time pt3

February 15th, 2010

2/08/10 Mon. 54.6 miles
2/09/10 Tues. 85.5 miles

Today was parade day for the Saints. It was estimated that over 800,000 people came to the parade. That is an absurd number. The population of New Orleans is only 300,000 so we nearly tripled that for a 4 hour parade.

It was nuts on the streets. People were parked everywhere. There was a square ft that wasn’t occupied in my neighborhood -the Lower Garden District. My plan was to take a couple of fares before the parade then wait it out at home until afterwards. Unfortunately I picked up a girl who had to go to work in the Quarter. Her fare took 25 minutes because of traffic. She did not appreciate my maneuvering through all the insanity and only tipped me $2. I was pretty livid about that because at that point I was stuck on the downtown side because of all the traffic.

Traffic and parking in the Marigny was ridiculous too. I couldn’t find a place to park my car in order to grab a bite to eat. I took a page for the 1700 block of St. Roch hoping that person would pay to take me somewhere out of traffic. It’s a rough neighborhood but I figured I’d take the chance.

I rolled up to find a little boy, no older than 12 I’d guess. His mom was standing on the porch yelling at him. He hopped up in the back seat and flashed a smile.
“Take me to Canal St.!” He demanded.
“Little man, they told me you were gonna pay with a credit card.”
He pulled out a visa gift card.
His sister came running up to the window.
“Momma gonna whoop your ass!” She screamed to him.
“Man, I’m calling her right now.” He pulled out his cell phone.
“Little man, there is all sorts of traffic out there. It’s gonna cost you at least $20 to get to Canal St.” I told him. “I don’t think you should be going down there alone.”
I could hear his mother yelling at him through his phone.
“$20?” He asked.
“At least. Then you gotta get home somehow too,” I added.
“Man… Uh, forget about it then.”
He opened the door and climbed out of the car with his head down.

The rest of the night went smoothly until about 10:30 PM. It came to a screeching halt at that point. I dropped off a couple who had been stuck in New Orleans because of the blizzard on the East Coast. Right where I dropped them off two older woman and a small child flagged me down. They were only going 7 blocks but it was cold so I was completely understanding. The parade was just ending at that point so of course traffic was backed up everywhere. What should have been a 2 minute ride turned into a 30 minute ordeal. I got them to their house but they had no money. They gave me a bottle of Sake as partial payment and the mother of the child went inside to find more money. The other lady sat outside with me for 10 minutes talking to me about NPR. I guess it’s a good thing I like public radio. Finally the other lady got impatient and went inside to find out what was taking so long. She came back out after a couple of minutes.

“We had to rob the piggy bank. Here’s 2 dollar bills. A one dollar gold coin, so that’s three total.”
She held out a hand filled with quarters, nickels & dimes.
“And that about 3 more,” she said.
“Really, I don’t need all that change. The Sake should count for at least $3,” I told her.
“No. No. I insist.” She… insisted.

I picked up 3 young kids a few minutes after that. One of the guys sat upfront.
“Why the hell do you Sake bottle on the floor?”
I told him the story and we all laughed about it for most of the trip.


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