Our good Duchess has contacted me during this year’s festival calendar with some new thoughts on her decrees. In her unusual way, she sent the information to me via messenger directly to my chair set up on Royal…or was it Bourbon? She must have spied me weaving fast and purposefully through the crowd and noting my destination, sent a card down her marvelous stick and basket system she keeps at the corner of the balcony, asking the neighbor on their stoop to hand it to me. I remember a tug and had a card in my hand before I had even fully turned. “From you-know-who” was yelled in an amused tone as the messenger headed back to their perch and it was true that the verbena fragrance had indeed given away its owner.
the original set of her decrees
My Dearest Darlene,
We are pleased to see your presence throughout the festive weekend, although chagrined at your choice of beverage.
(She had spotted my limed Go Cup; she rued my love of cheap gin)
However, we are glad to see you looking so well. We once again ask for your assistance in publicizing our words to the Vieux Carre citizenry and as always, thank you in advance.
We decree that all festivals held in the village should entertain the idea of using those adorable blow up couches, simple pine benches (for ease in storing after) or, temporary trees to invite our visitors to sit in places that do not block our service or retail doorways.
We explain thusly:
How lovely to see the citizens using the streets so well during the planned parties. However, when the day closes and the storekeeper tallies their sales, one would hope for the type of success which depends on feet entering the establishment.
We also decree that for that very same purpose all tents of our temporary merchants be set only on blocks in which 75% of the offerings are residences. And, that any storekeeper on those streets can register their disapproval of a particular temporary merchant when the items detract from the storekeeper’s sales. The storekeeper would be required to list the central items that their store has long sold that the temporary merchant is offering. This does includes food or beverages. That storekeeper(s) disapproval should be weighted to such a degree that the residents must explain why they would want that temporary merchant to stay in the face of the storekeeper(s) opposition.. If the temporary merchant is moved, then the next choice to allow in that block must be significantly unlike the first.
We explain thusly:
Our long time storekeepers should appreciate new ideas and welcome new merchants to the area, as the small stores are, if you will, the 5th chakra of the village and need new energy to thrive. However, this does not mean that storekeepers can or should overrule any and all temporary merchants. Those those who impede on their central business should be the only ones that they may oppose. In other words, two silver jewelry sites on one block (or two gelato offerings) can be confusing and unnecessary when we have so much space to offer.
We also ask that the Loyola staff continue their excellent work to study the needs of cyclists in our village and find ways to secure their property more carefully. Clearly, we need to invite more 2-wheeled conveyances and reduce the attraction of the 4-wheeled variety, as evidenced by the continuing stand-still every festival weekend on our Old Levee Street. (DW-Old Levee was changed to Decatur Street in 1800s).
Lastly, we must search for an expansion of sites for our musicians in non-festival areas and on non-festival weekends (see our earlier decrees) but not at the expense of the residents. We ask that Miss Darlene’s idea concerning adding busking stations be explored.
(DW-huh. Once again, she confounds me. I had raised the idea of adding busking areas in some areas of the Quarter, but how had she heard of it?
Buskers is a term used for itinerant musicians or performers and some cities or other public entities paint musical signs on the ground where musicians could set up on festival days and weekends. I thought we should close Wilkerson Row on weekends and allow buskers on that street, as well as on the Royal end of Pere Antoine Alley next to the Cathedral, as well as next to Bienville’s statue (with its hierarchy of the smaller standing priest and even smaller sitting Native American at the end of Conti) and in the corner of the Cabrini Park under the overhang; there would be painted musical signs where groups could set up for a half-day but then they MUST to move to another space on the next half-day . This is designed to offer more underused spaces for entrepreneurial musicians, while ensuring that merchants or residents don’t have to listen to the same musicians under their window every day.)
We hope that the Loyola staff can attend to some of our decrees in the midst of their busy Uptown paving schedule and in the meantime, welcome all to our village.