As the nation writhes in turmoil, historian and writer Frank Perez looks through the lens of the past to ponder the French Quarter's future.
- by Frank Perez
- photos by Frank Perez and Ellis Anderson
Friday, May 29, 2020
I receive an email from Leo Watermeier. Attached to it is a picture he took of a coyote in Armstrong Park. I think of the coyote spotted in a CBD parking garage at the beginning of the shutdown. My friend, Dr. Jeffrey Darensbourg, informs me that in Native mythology, coyotes were viewed as tricksters, a sign something strange was imminent.
Before long Rupee and I are at the vet’s office. I’m not allowed in and am told they will call me when he’s ready to be picked up. Ordinarily I would have popped in across the street at the Phoenix. That is not to be. I look at the Starbucks. No. There was a time when a Starbucks in the Marigny, with all its corporate, bourgeois associations, was unthinkable. Times change.
I look at the boarded up Phoenix and remember the first time I visited the bar many moons ago. Then it occurs to me my friends Mike and Guy live around the corner. After a nice visit with them, the vet calls. Rupee is newly vaccinated, and my wallet is a bit lighter.
My thoughts turn to dinner.
Pere Antoine’s across the street from me is open, but I decide I’m not in the mood to go out. Not really that hungry, come to think of it.
I think about the city, the Quarter, reopening. Will it ever be like it was before? Will tourists return? And if so, in what numbers? And when? Which restaurants will survive, and which will close? How will all my friends in the service industry fare? Can restricting traffic in the Quarter really work? When will tours resume? How long will we have to wear masks in public? Will the bars open next week? How, exactly, does social distancing work in a bar after patrons drink a few cocktails?
I don’t know the answers. All I know is neighborhoods, like lives, inevitably change.
Read Frank's previous entries, return to Hunkering Down blog or French Quarter Journal's home page.
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Social Distance Dining