Saturday marked the beginning of Phase Two, in which bars not serving food could reopen at 25% capacity. Stroll with us down Bourbon Street.
- by Ellis Anderson
The bars of New Orleans probably haven't seen a longer downtime since Prohibition. Those not serving food have been shuttered for nearly three months, since mid-March.
On Saturday, Phase Two of the reopening began (click here to read complete guidelines).
In Mayor Cantrell's official statement, she addressed the success New Orleans has had thus far in tamping down COVID. She also pointed out that the city would be watching infection rates closely before easing more restrictions:
“We are ready to move to the next phase of our safe reopening thanks to the tireless efforts of our public health and safety workers and the diligence and patience of our residents. We have practically gone from worst to first in responding to this pandemic, flattening the curve, and ramping up our testing and other efforts,” said Mayor Cantrell.
“In many ways, our Phase Two guidelines will look similar to those implemented last week by the State, with some subtle but key differences,” Mayor Cantrell added.“I want to be very clear: We are NOT out of the woods yet, and how we respond in Phase Two will be pivotal for our City’s recovery.”
We left the French Quarter Journal office on Chartres Street around 8pm and started at the lower end of Bourbon Street's club strip. Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar (on the corner of St Philip Street and Bourbon) is one of the most beloved in the city. It was clear that it'd been missed by the community.
A block toward Canal, Cafe Lafitte in Exile and the Clover Grill, also drew jubilant patrons.
We continued our walk toward Canal Street, passing the Tropical Isle.
We stepped off Bourbon to check out two classic bars which have served generations of patrons, Molly's and the Dungeon. The newer Toulouse Dive has become part of a triad.
Street preachers tried to engage passersby on two different corners and more ministry workers spoke with passersby.
Some preferred other forms of transport over walking.
The bollards hadn't been put in place yet to block the streets, and a few brave motorists were creeping through the crowds. This officer was blocking the streets to create the nightly pedestrian zone.
Felix's, one of the most famous oyster eateries in the country, was still boarded over. Galatoire's, across the street had never fully closed, switching to gourmet take out throughout the shutdown.
And what would a Bourbon Street reopening be without Lucky Dogs? Ignatius would be proud.
We turned toward the river on Iberville Street and headed back down a very quiet Royal Street. The Hotel Monteleone reopened two weeks ago.
Royal House, on the corner of St. Louis and Royal streets, hosted a low-key crowd.
Cabildo Alley is the shortest named street in the French Quarter. It runs between St. Peter Street and Pirate's Alley. The Pirate's Alley Café was open for the first time in months.
Heading back to our FQJ office, we passed through a serene Jackson Square.
Near our office on Sunday night, Harry's Corner, another iconic French Quarter watering hole, remained shuttered. We peeked inside and so no signs that they were preparing to reopen.
See more stories on our Hunkering Down blog, or check out French Quarter Journal's home page.
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