Sometimes I’m a sucker for tourist-y attractions. We scratched that itch with breakfast at Cafe du Monde, sharing beignets and the Times-Picayune, which had a cover story about an ASPCA raid that confiscated hundreds of fighting roosters. Hello Flannery O’Connor. Our next destination was Algiers, via ferry, across the Mississippi. Hello Samuel Clemens.
Unsure of the ferry terminal’s exact location, we stopped at an Information Booth by the river. Using small words and many hand signals, we explained our intended destination to the former Delta Zeta behind the counter. Her face puckered with concern. She’d taken hundreds of steamboat rides and familiarized herself with all there is to do in the French Quarter but never in her life (violent pony tail shake) had she been to Algiers. Seriously? She couldn’t guess that the big building ten yards away from her booth with access to the water might be the ferry dock? No. She had no idea. Information Booth #2 confirmed that the ferry terminal was indeed located ten yards away from us and that Algiers was a viable destination; however, our desire to visit was judged with a shrug. Maybe I’d have the same reaction if someone wanted to take a ferry from Manhattan to Paulus Hook, NJ.
It took eight minutes to cross the Great River, time enough to pass Indians in their pirogues and trappers and Spaniards and slaves and barges. The people going back and forth today are service workers in the Quarter. The neighborhoods of shotgun and Greek Revival houses around the Algiers ferry terminal are quiet at midday, but the Richardsonian Romanesque style Algiers Courthouse is open for business. It was so pretty we almost got remarried right then. Still, we couldn’t quite forget that the levee was higher than the rooftops.