In 2012, we took Confederacy of Cruiser’s Creole Tour with a small group of eight riders. They ride on comfortable cruiser bikes (thus, Confederacy of Dunces becomes Confederacy of Cruisers). It was our first foray into the neighborhoods east of the CBD and French Quarter. Focusing on Faubourg Marigny and the Bywater areas, our tour was led by Jeff, one of the company’s founders. CofC’s T-shirts say “Not Even Close to Exercise” and this tour epitomized that. Starting in Washington Square Park, we rode a block or three between each stop and eventually rode as far east as Vaughn’s (featured in HBO’s Treme series). At each stop, Jeff told us about local restaurants and neighborhood haunts, New Orleans history and cultural development, Katrina and its aftermath, and the bits of local color from someone who knows and loves his town.
We visited a “Country Club” of a different sort, rode the biggest hill around (a good 20 foot climb) to the Mississippi levee, talked about the food at Elizabeth’s (go there for breakfast, don’t tell anyone else), and….talked…..about shotgun and double shotgun houses, the Great War Memorial, land barons, Creole history and food, quadroons and plaçage, A Street Car Named Desire, what the symbols painted on houses after Katrina meant, about gentrification, the HBO Treme series and what it meant to the neighborhoods.
We stopped for a beer at a neighborhood spot that I can no longer find on the map. Finally, it began to rain and we rode just a bit more quickly back to the shop. Jeff knocked a few bucks off our tours for the rain and made dinner suggestions, bar recommendations, and called a cab for the couple headed to the airport.
We’ve recommended Confederacy of Cruisers to many friends visiting New Orleans and HIGHLY recommend them to you.