|An impressive sidewalk in historic Gretna, LA|
New Orleans is coterminous with its parish, Orleans Parish. Orleans Parish is bordered by St. Bernard, Plaquemines, and Jefferson Parishes. Today, I am going to recommend a visit to a part of Jefferson Parish. I am not going to recommend that you go to Metarie to cruise the strip malls and big box stores that can be found in Anytown, USA. Instead, I am going to suggest you take the Gretna/Canal Street Ferry.
Now, people who live here will say, "Gretna, that collection of strip malls and big box stores!?" No, not the part of Gretna along the Westbank Expressway. I mean historic, downtown Gretna, the one you reach by the ferry.
The ferry runs hourly, taking about twenty minutes to reach Gretna from Canal Street. It is pedestrian only. If cars are getting on the ferry you are on, you are going to Algiers. There is nothing wrong with that, but that is a subject for another day. On the ferry ride to Gretna you will see a view of New Orleans that few people ever see.
Downtown Gretna is the seat of the Jefferson Parish court system and much of the businesses in this part of the city revolves around attorneys, but as a historic downtown, there are interesting architectural details and it is very walkable.
There is a square in the center of downtown and on weekends there is a farmers' market. It is where we get some of our wine. There is also a German cultural museum that is interesting to visit, as well as a few local restaurants. There are no chains in downtown Gretna.
|Plaque outside Gretna's historic train station|
There is a statue of Mel Ott in perfect form in downtown Gretna, LA.
|Mel Ott statue|
A view of Mel Ott's statue in context:
|Historic train station and visitor center, Gretna, LA|
Some people come to New Orleans to get blind drunk between convention seminars. Others come to learn more about the most colorful place in America. The ferries are a part of that. Gretna is a part of that.
Be a New Orleanian wherever you are.
A votre sante.
The Gretna Courthouse photo that led off this essay was taken by Infrogmation