This weekend is the Creole Tomato Festival at the French Market in New Orleans. It celebrates locally grown Southern Louisiana tomatoes - sweet and sun-ripened and beautiful. There is a 'Creole cultivar, released by LSU in the '70s, but farmers around here have been using the term Creole to describe their home-grown tomatoes (and melons, squash, peppers and eggplants) for generations.
This weekend's festival encompassed many facets of the local culture, including three stages for music, an early morning 5K run, cooking demonstrations, and a Bloody Mary contest.
I headed down there early. I had a coupon for a free bag of tomatoes, and I wanted to get there before they ran out. I debated whether to ride my bike down, or to take the bus. The #5 Marigny/Bywater bus is a pretty good deal - at least inbound. The route is only a couple miles long, and the nearest stop is at my corner and it goes to the French Quarter in five minutes. On the other hand, it only runs once every 50 minutes, and on bike I'm free to come and go as I please.
In the end, I decided to take the bus because rain was in the forecast and I didn't want to ride in the rain.
|Other local delicacies on display|
It was already pretty hot, and pretty crowded, too, with lots of tourists attending, fanning themselves with the hand-out tomato fans.
I visited the Blood Mary booths, and had a $2 sample of a Mary made with hot pepper jelly. It was pretty tasty.
|A roaming bachelorette party in tutus|
|A tour on Segways|
|Bike-taxi drivers exchanging high-fives|
I explained I was stranded, missing the bus in the Quarter. She and Louie said they'd pick me up. "I'll meet you on Esplanade," I said. "Traffic's a mess down here."
As I walked to Esplanade, I found out why the bus was missing. Traffic on Decatur was diverted at Barracks, and the Marigny bus truncated its route at Elysian Fields.
My rescuers picked me up in front of Checkpoint Charlies bar, and whisked me off to a lovely Saturday lunch at Cafe Degas. Thank goodness for good friends!
The Creole Tomato Festival was NOT affiliated with the World Naked Bike Ride, which also took place in the French Quarter, Marigny and Bywater today! If I'd known about that, maybe I wouldn't have taken the bus. On second thought.....too bad I missed it!