While we were lost in Downtown New Orleans trying to find a place to park before the Tulane homecoming game we wandered by a little park, Duncan Plaza, across from City Hall. A good part of the open grassy area was covered by a motley encampment of multicolored nylon tents. My first reaction was to think this was where the city had allowed the homeless to gather. After a few seconds of thought I figured out what this was. I said, “Hey, this is Occupy New Orleans.” Then we were past and I found a parking lot nearby.
After the tailgate party and the game we walked back to the car as the sun set. This time we went right by Duncan Plaza and I asked Candy and Lee to wait at the corner while I loped over a little grassy rise to see what was up.
The Occupiers has set up what looked like a lending library in a park gazebo and beyond a few men listened to some guy yelling into a small public address system.
There didn’t seem to be very many folks there. Even though it was early Saturday evening I didn’t see enough people to fill a tenth of the tents. I guess without television cameras, press, or anybody watching at all the enthusiasm waned. I would have liked to have stayed at least long enough to try and understand what the guy was yelling about, but it was getting late and Candy and Lee were waiting on the sidewalk. I snapped a couple photos and left. As I was walking some guy asked me if he could take my picture with his camera phone.
We walked to the car and left. The Saints were playing the Indianapolis Colts the next day at the Superdome and a line of RVs and chartered buses were filing into the downtown parking lots. They disgorged thousands of fans wearing the familiar gold and black of Saints fans – walking into the restaurants that shovel out New Orleans’ famous cuisine. The sound was swelling from the jazz clubs as we drove the darkening streets out through the Garden District to meet up with some of Lee’s friends for dinner.