What Happened in New Orleans? Don’t worry, we are still alive!!
Since my last post, I completed the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Mardi Gras marathon and finished the distance faster than I ever have, probably due to the flatness of the course. My time was 3:33:35, the weather was perfect, and I probably could have done better had I trained properly. My only complaint was the terrible music that they chose to have as entertainment along the course. Maybe my expectations were high, but I think an event in New Orleans that bears the title “Rock ‘n’ Roll” should have been able to provide better music.
The day after the marathon, I carpooled to Austin to pedicab during South by Southwest (SXSW), a huge festival consisting of interactive technology, film and music. I had to get a Texas driver’s license in order to pedicab there, and since my RI license was about to expire anyway, the timing was good. I still laugh whenever I take out my ID though. After living and working in Texas for a mere two weeks, I caught a ride with a fellow pedicabber back to New Orleans.
While I was in Austin, another friend from Newport had moved into the laundry room where I had been living, so I house-sat for a week uptown before moving my few possessions over to Sal’s house. Sal is the manager of the red pedicab company, NOLA Pedicabs. Their office is across the hall from Need A Ride, and Sal is good friends with the owner of our company. I was weary at first when he offered for me to live at his house, but it worked out beautifully. He has an addition connected to his house via the back porch, and it is really its own separate apartment, complete with a kitchen, bathroom and laundry machines. It’s also the exact same distance by bicycle from where I had been staying.
The Final Four NCAA Basketball Championships were held in New Orleans the weekend after I returned from Austin, followed by the French Quarter Festival two weekends later, and then Jazz Fest.
Sal has his own party, Sal Fest, during every jazz fest, and it goes on for 2 weekends. There has been no shortage of entertainment in this city. Even as I leave New Orleans, a steady influx of tourists and convention-goers are keeping the existing pedicabbers busy and well-fed. That said, many of us are leaving for the summer or for good, and in a few more weeks it won’t be the same. I feel similar to how I did when I moved back to Providence from Montreal. Pretty much all but one of my closest friends moved out of the city around the same time, so while I missed Montreal immensely for a few months, I knew it wouldn’t be the same if I went back there on my own.