Sunday, June 7, 2009

I'm not an active driver any more.

It has been two months since I drove the buggy. I’ve been catching up on webmastering, my arthritis is back under control, I got back the 20 pounds I had lost, and now get good sleep every night. I’m dancing Cajun at Tip’s on Sunday again. And I frequently take my out-of-town guests on rides using other drivers! Contact me if you're interested...

I won’t be working full time on the buggies any more. Those six months were like going to a foreign land, only I got to come home and crash every evening. I made friends with some fine mules and fascinating drivers, artists, mimes and street performers, bums, street characters and guests. I learned to give punchy sound-bite type tours in 30-40 minutes instead of 2 hours. The quick buggy tours of 1/2 or 1 hour let my guests see much more than they could in my two-hour walking tour. It’s enough time to give some great details about the Quarter and St. Louis cemetery, New Orleans history -- past, present, and future, our culture, architecture and cuisine. It’s especially good for people who are in a hurry, the physically impaired, or folks with little ones that would be bored on the long walking tour but are thrilled to ride the cart, especially from the shotgun seat.

My old life was good too. I am fortunate that I could put it all aside to do this great adventure. I met my goal: I know I can turn my life around on a dime. I proved that at 75 I still have plenty of starch left in me, and according to my guests, I gave a great tour. I now know I could be a good tour guide just about any interesting place in the world.

Recently, I have been taking some of my out-of-town guests on buggy rides with another driver. Every chance I get, I walk the hack stand before 10am, when most of the buggies are all lined up waiting. I love all the mules and drivers, I always will. It was a great experience... proving to myself, after 14 years, that I could enjoy working full time again and make a pretty good living doing it... if necessary. But this is mostly an avocation, I don't really need more money.

My interest in mules and donkeys has led me into some in-depth study of these wonderful critters on Wikipedia. I may post some details of my research here in later postings. Some part of me will always be a buggy driver!

Being a good mule is being willing to take take others' burdens. At some level, we have all been mules and often found the burdens satisfying.

Monday, March 23, 2009

On a sabbatical from driving Bonnie

I'm on sabbatical from full-time buggy driving. I'm thinking about ways to do this part time, because I love most all of the work, the mules, the carriages, the stable folk, the other drivers, and the guests we serve.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fine mule, fine carriage, fine setting, great guests!

Ladies from Houston enjoy a tour

On a slow Monday morning, these ladies first enjoyed meeting Bonnie, rubbing her nose, and feeding her carrot slices. After beignets at the Cafe du Monde, they returned for a fun tour around 20 blocks of the old French Quarter. At the end, I offered to take a picture. Turned out they didn't have a camers with them... so I used mine, and sent a copy by email. I got this gracious reply:

Thanks for the ride and the picture. We thoroughly enjoyed the carriage tour and the picture was a great bonus. Thanks again.

ML (Houston)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Vacation days...

I'm taking two weeks off, from Monday Jan 5 through Sunday Jan 18. Sort of like going out to pasture, like the mules.

One of my goals is to walk my usual routes, and get details of sites I mention, but have not seen up close. The Steamboat Natchez, Emeril's NOLA Restaurant, the Supreme Court building, the Insectarium, Pat O'Brians, Johnny White's bar, the bar at Pete Fountain's old place, and McDonogh 15, for starters. Will take pictures.

I need to buy some clothes and gear. I'd like to put on 10 or 20 pounds, so I'll eat real good.

I dress much better, now that I have turned over the messy bathing, grooming, and harnessing chores to the fine mule skinner Randolph.