Sometimes mid-afternoon brings a free show of thunder and lightning.


The best time a storm can show up, provided it isn’t overtly hostile and destructive, is when this one did, on a Sunday afternoon. Like a quiet stomach-rumbling in the distance that can only be unheard for so long, I stepped onto Burgundy Street (pronounced ber-GUN-dy) and watched the dark mass sliding perpendicularly over the Mississippi toward me.

On the sidewalk next to my house, someone has hung little paper birds from strings. Even in this light breeze, they flap about haphazardly, and I can’t imagine them surviving anything more serious. If I tried, I could probably seal their fate with just my lung-strength. Of course, I would never do that do cute hanging birds.

There was a strange absence of traffic. There were no pedestrians. I imagined that the city had a fair amount to drink last night, and was trying to recover. There is only one sign of life in the brief clip: you can hear a man riding his bike past me, his pinwheel spinning. It looks like it serves a similar function to having a Jaguar on the front of your Jaguar, except the pinwheel extols the virtues of being local, unserious, drunk, and easy.

A lot of people have a lot of funky bikes, or at least bikes who’s regular-ness is obscured by eccentric decor. From the dude who routinely rides past with a side-car full of dachshunds to the gutter-punk-ish folks on tall bikes,(how do they stop? What happens if they crash?!)  there is definitely a sense that one’s bicycle is used for far more than riding around.

The thunder and lightning stay distant, perhaps more intent on tormenting the over-hung visitors staying in the French Quarter. I remain in my quiet dwelling, and the small birds live out the storm.

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