Riverfront Line Streetcar, New Orleans
The New Orleans trolley system is probably quaint for many midwestern tourists used to smoke belching diesel bus systems. The old fashioned lone overhead wire provides clean DC to railcars running at present along the riverfront line only. I understand that the newly restored St. Charles line cars were heavily damaged by Katrina, and so only the older cars could be readied by X-mas for tourists traffic. Used to the up and down thrill of the San Francisco cable cars, the rusty trolley's didn't arouse much interest for me, except that transport this way to the Garden District and Aububon Park areas would have been nice. Unfortunatelym, that line wasn't running at the time of our visit. Unfortunately too, the riverfront line runs behind, rather than on top, the levee, so views of the water and over the French Quarter are for the most part blocked off. A new metro system for New Orleans is overdue, servicing the neighborhoods of the city, but since the city has downsized to less than two hundred thousand souls, it's hard to imagine the federal government parting with the money to build the system. This may not be so bad actually. Nagin's a hardworking mayor, but the city needs to regrow slowing and hopefully rediscover the potential for fast water transport, which, unlike in Bangkok and Venice, are sadly lacking in New Orleans. A future combined rail and water transport hub at the foot of Canal would be great place to disembark from the boat to the downtown metroline.
The Riverwalk streetcar was only a block from our hotel so it was very convenient. There are three streetcar lines - Riverwalk, Canal and St. Charles. The cost to ride is only $1.25, or $5 for one day but we got a 3 day pass for $12 and we had unlimited rides. The pass is also good on the bus lines, but we didn't use them.
The streetcars are clean and airconditioned but on most of them the windows were opened. We learned the hardway that you are supposed to exit from the back! Oops.
The Riverfront Streetcar, like the more famous St. Charles Streetcar, costs only $1.25 each way. If you're tired of walking along the Moonwalk (the path along the river's edge), you can jump on the streetcar and enjoy the ride. It takes you by the Warehouse District and passes by the Riverwalk Shopping Mall as well.
The Riverfront Streetcar goes (duh) along the River. The line was re-instated in December 2005 after Katrina.
Instead of North or South, this line says the cars are INbound or OUTbound. Thalia is at the Inbound end, and Esplanade is at the Outbound end.
So if you are at Canal Street and want to go to the French Market, you are Outbound. This station decorated with the 3D artwork is the one near the French Market. There are two more outbound stops after this one - Ursulines and Esplanade.
Something small as a "tip" be aware the Riverside streetcar runs to/from the back of the French Market- So, if you want to conserve some energy walking into the French Quarter, or you are tired coming out, hop on!
You catch this Trolley right at the Ferry landing and can take it all the way to the French Quarter flea market....$1.50 each local fare cash only or $3 for an all day pass.....payable to the friendly conductors....
Being in the French Quarter you might like to travel along the Mississippi riverfront on the newest Streetcar, the Red Lady.