Sunday, August 2, 2015

President of my own railroad

Coming from a rural mountain community, it takes some getting used to, to live in a city. And especially a city like New Orleans. And especially in a neighborhood like the Bywater, a funky-butt, industrial-adjacent, river-adjacent, railroad-adjacent place.
8/2/2015, 4:14 PM 
From: [Aunt Snow]
To: General Manager & Chief Executive Officer, New Orleans Public Belt Railroad, [Redacted]; Executive Assistant, [Redacted] 
I'm a Bywater resident. There's been a NOPB locomotive idling near Alvar Street and Chartres Street for the last twelve hours. 
Why do you idle a locomotive in a residential neighborhood for twelve hours?  
I understand railroad operations are important, but this engine came in the early hours of the morning and has been burning fuel for the last twelve hours, while doing absolutely nothing. How much fuel are you wasting to disturb my neighborhood's Sunday? 
What the heck is wrong with you people? 
I would appreciate the courtesy of a reply.
Yours, with best regards, 
[Aunt Snow]
I fired off this missive after a Sunday brunch at The Franklin restaurant in the Marigny, where I'd enjoyed a crabmeat tostada and a couple of cocktails involving tequila. 

[The Man I Love] thought perhaps I was being a little too curmudgeonly, and also a little privileged. After all, I knew there were trains here before we chose to move in, right?

On the other hand, I've just retired from a public agency job where citizens weren't reluctant to call our office to complain about the volume of whistles from beach volleyball coaches, which we were supposed to take seriously and help mitigate. This was a diesel locomotive rumbling away for over twelve hours. I figured I had a substantial complaint.

Here's what I didn't expect:

8/2/2015, 4:55 PM 
From: [Redacted]
To: [Aunt Snow] 
I apologize for the locomotive idling for a prolonged period of time. Someone is going over now to shut it down. Our locomotives are equipped with a "smart start" system that is supposed to shut down the locomotive after it has been idling for an extended period of time (usually less than an hour). Obviously the system is not working properly or it was taken offline and not re-engaged. We will look into this episode to try and prevent it from happening again. 
I apologize for the inconvenience. 
COO - New Orleans Public Belt
Ten minutes later? The locomotive was silenced.

Lord Buckley
So I'm going up State Street, in this elongated car, and there's a sweet dew wild crazy illiterate smooth cruddy smaze on the street. And I'm going up State Street and I'm still locked in, I'm locked in tight, I'm just goofin' along pretty good and I, suddenly I feel this shift of the bumper....Just then I hit a little raise in the pavement and I... rrmmmmp... boom...right over... and right in the middle of those flat State Street car tracks with my big fat bulgin' tires and all of a sudden..WHACK!..I had my own railroad.


Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, you right. You're fitting in - naomi

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Love it!

M. Bouffant said...

♫Once I built a railroad ...♬

When my friend & sexual associate lived in Silver Lake I enjoyed hearing an occasional mournful train whistle at night, but that's a little close.

I'd've been tempted to take it for a little spin if I'd known it was just sitting there w/ the keys in it, so to speak.