Sunday, August 9, 2015

Misadventures in parking

We're still learning our way around, and learning what are the best ways to go where you want to go. Last night we learned a big lesson.

We were going to a club to hear some music in the French Quarter. The listing said the show started at 9:00. "Is the set really starting at nine, or is that when doors open?" I wondered, but we decided to try to get there by 8:45 just in case.

We drove our car from the Bywater to the Quarter, and got into a slow-moving jam on Decatur Street. It took about thirty minutes to go a few blocks. Unlike in Santa Monica, at least the street life around us was interesting to watch. Earlier that day had been the annual Red Dress Run - there were lots of revelers of both genders roaming around in their red dresses.

The parking lot was by the river at Toulouse Street. At the self-service machine we prepaid $25.00 for four hours - we knew it would be expensive, but this was an eye-opener. Still, it was close to the club, just a short walk.

It's been so long since I've been out to clubs, I've forgotten the basic rules of thumb. In Los Angeles, the advertised time would actually be the time the doors open, and there would be an opening act advertised that would go on about an hour later. Here in New Orleans, they didn't list an opening act, so foolishly we assumed there would only be the headliner.

We crowded into the club's small foyer, got a drink, and found a small table. The doors to the main hall opened around 9:15. There were very few seats in the main hall - some benches along the wall and people also perched on the steps. We found a place at the inner bar, where we could lean, and get another drink, and people watch.

At the main hall bar
Finally, around 10:15 there was some movement on the stage. Around 10:20 an opening act started playing. They were some kind of emo, drone-like muddy sounding rock, young kids with long bangs hanging low over their eyes. Boring.

At this point, I needed to get out of the main hall. I wanted a place to sit down, and some air. I went out on the street, and was surprised to see it had rained, and the air was cooler. There still wasn't a place to sit down, though. I hung in there a little while, but I was no longer having any fun. I decided to take a taxi home and let [The Man I Love] stay for the rest of the show.

Between the two of us we managed to remember that I had [The Man I Love]'s wallet in my purse, and transferred it over to him. But I'd only gone a block in the taxi before I remembered I didn't have a house key - he had it on the ring with the car keys! So I stopped the cab and ran back to the club, retrieved the key, and caught another cab.

I was home by 11:30. The cabfare was $8.50, ten dollars with a tip. I took the dog for a walk in the night air that was cool after the rain, and I made myself a sandwich.

Then I started to think about the car park (why? I don't know.) We'd paid for four hours, and it was now about 3.5 hours into our paid time. I looked up the lot on Yelp and saw, to my dismay, many comments saying that cars that went over their paid time were given the dreaded New Orleans boot, requiring a 30 minute wait and a $90 fine to resolve.

The dreaded New Orleans boot
Now I remembered there had been signs advertising a phone app that would allow you to pay for more time. I couldn't figure out how to work it from home, but I texted [The Man I Love], hoping he'd have time to go top up the fare.

"Damn! The headliner set just started!" He stayed put and sent me a photo of the band on stage.

At 1:46 AM he called. The car had indeed been booted. The attendant would be there in ten minutes, and, yes, it cost $90 to get un-booted. Because [The Man I Love] had been forewarned, he was resigned, and the attendant, Solomon, said he appreciated dealing with a customer who wasn't angry.

He was home by 2:30 AM.  The show had been great, he said.

So, running up the tally - Two tickets? $24. Parking fees? $25. Drinks? maybe $60 or so. Taxi fare? $10. Das boot? $90.

$210.00. It was an expensive lesson!

But it was one that took. The takeaway? Don't drive to the French Quarter.  If you absolutely have to, get the parking phone app. Check out the #5 bus or take a cab.


smalltownme said...

Beautiful sky.

Glennis said...

That made it all worthwhile!

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

You're brave to even attempt to drive and park in the quarter. YES to the parking apps. If you can find the one that the city uses, you will get little alerts and be able to add time to your meter. Very slick. Sorry you got the boot!