I'm one who can only handle cities in small doses. Camped out across the river, I wound up sleeping in my hammock for the first time in months which was a joy! The following morning I crossed the frantic Hwy 90 bridge which placed me directly in downtown New Orleans. On this trip my only real goal was to visit the French Quarter and see what that whole scene was about. It was a Saturday so I was fortunate to arrive early enough to ride some of the streets before they closed for walking-only areas. The smell of Bourbon street's freshly hosed pavement was a realization of what it must be like on most weekend nights. The architecture was unique and drew my eye skyward toward balconies and various colonial touches that are distinct to New Orleans. Art was everywhere! Vendors set up stalls near the court house and the flea market pavilion was just setting up. Every hour or so, a marriage procession would round the corner. Police on motor scooters would clear the streets of pedestrians as a three piece band played ahead of the couple dancing down the street. Folks on the street would clap and photograph the procession, involved in the lively entertainment and enraptured with their own memories or futures of holy matrimony.
The day progressed and more tourists flocked to the area. Traffic increased and I could feel the walls of the city closing in on me. With few safe places to park the scooter for any length of time, encumbered by motorcycle gear and the ultimate desire to be in the great outdoors, I plugged in some random spot along the Gulf Coast and followed the GPS to greener pastures. Leaving New Orleans, the remnants of Hurricane Katrina were still evident in crumbling buildings, boarded up businesses and boats marooned in regrown forests. The devastation of the event may be mostly swept away in the tourist parts of town, but is still a reality for many.
In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 69'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.