I lived in Los Angeles for nearly 20 years, so when I come back for things like the LA Auto Show, it’s like going back to an old home. And while I was here, I explored the city a lot in my old silly cars, so I think I generally know the place? And LA is full of places, sections of town like the Toy District or Little Tokyo (and the Westside counterpart, Sawtelle Japantown), Koreatown, Chinatown, Skid Row, the Orthodox Jewish areas around Fairfax and the other around Pico, the Arts District, and, of course, the Byzantine-Latino Quarter. This time I find myself in a district I’ve never heard of, and it’s weirding me out a little bit.
It’s the New Orleans Corridor? The hell is that? How had I never heard of this? It’s like discovering there’s a Little Lansing in LA or a Luxemborgtown, but bigger. But, I soon found out why I had no idea this existed – it’s only just started to exist. It was established this past summer, just before Juneteenth.
Ohhhh, okay, now that makes more sense!
The corridor runs from the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church to Harold & Belle’s Creole Restaurant, and we’re right near the restaurant end of the corridor on Jefferson Blvd, which – if you’ll forgive my sacrilegiousness – I’m very happy about. Besides, Matt and I had hurricanes and oysters there last night, and that was great.
Less great is the fact that the Air BnB we’re staying in here only has enough rooms for five, and there’s six of us, so Matt and I are sharing a room with bunk beds and I’m on top. Bunk beds, especially the top, had an appeal when I was a kid, but as a half-century-plus old man who enjoys a few rich, powerful nighttime micturating events, it’s a colossal pain.
The whole thing sways and shakes like a dinghy as I descend the cold metal ladder to go void my bladder, loudly, and then you have to climb back up instead of just flopping into a bed. What am I, a prisoner? Is this summer camp? That cheapskate David, sleeping lavishly in his ground-floor bed in town, oooh, I’m so cheesed over at him!
Oh, right, cars. I can’t do a Cold Start with zero car stuff! So, here, to fit the theme, it looks like the closest thing New Orleans had to carmaking was a Ford factory in a suburb known as Arabi. It was built in 1923 as an assembly plant for Model Ts, then re-tooled in 1928 for Model A production, continuing until the Great Depression, which, sources say, wasn’t so great, really.
(National Park Service photo; Photograph by Rick Fifield, courtesy of Louisiana State Historic Preservation Office)
I’ve been trying to find a picture of these, but no luck so far. Were these like disc-shaped platforms above the assembly line with a big round urinal? Were they enclosed? I’m really curious. Putting urinators above the line just seems like a way to get people to pee on each other, for any number of reasons.