Looking back on my childhood and occasional visits to downtown New Orleans, I never recall eating out in French Quarter Restaurants or riding horse drawn carriages touring the Vieux Carre’ or going into ritzy antique parlors on Royal Street. All that cost so much.
But I do remember riding the Canal Street Ferry, and I think that’s because the ferry ride was free. Daddy and Mama, ever children of the Great Depression, determined to take us places to see and do, but only such places where seeing and doing cost little or, preferably, nothing.
Bless their hearts, the ferry ride is still free, and over the past 30 years, it’s become a family tradition for my own clan. On our occasional New Orleans date weekends or other excursions, we typically wait for the sun to set and then we head for the ferry landing at the foot of Canal Street. There’s no view more romantic or enchanting than the City from the perspective of the River at night.
After the aller et retour ferry ride, we typically retreat to the hotel for the evening, for most of what transpires on the streets of the City after 8:30 or 9:00 or so doesn’t really interest small-town folks like us. The ferry ride is our bonsoir thrill!
And it’s free.