Over the years, I noticed wood Indian statues in front tobacco and cigar shops but never understood the reason since I’m not a smoker. However after seeing this ornate, gold one on a recent Puch ride, I researched a bit and learned wooden Native American Indian sculptures are advertisements of sorts for tobacconists. Seems American Indians and tobacco have always been associated since they originally introduced the plant to Europeans. The carved figures are frequently three-dimensional and can be tall (even life-sized) and are quite collectible—maybe similar to certain vintage moped?
One of the unexpected things about riding around New Orleans at 25 mph on a Puch moped is discovering places missed when passing by in a car. One of these is Gilmore Park…a smidgen of green space whose name is probably just known by the residents of the area. The park was named in 1903 for Samuel Louis Gilmore, a New Orleans native who at the time was serving as City Attorney. In 1909, Gilmore was elected a U.S. Representative from Louisiana’s 2nd District to the 61st Congress but died in office in 1910.
Notre Dame Seminary was established as a free-standing seminary and graduate school by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. It prepares men for the ministerial priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church. The corner stone for the handsome chateau-like building was laid on May 7, 1922 and the seminary began functioning on September 18, 1923. No word on how many seminarians ride a Puch moped.
Tchoupitoulas Street (CHOP-i-TOO-ləs) gets its name from an Indian tribe that possibly means “those who live at the river.” Tchoupitoulas is one of many street names that confuses visitors to the city. It begins in downtown New Orleans at Canal Street (opposite the French Quarter) and follows the curve of the Mississippi River until it ends at Audubon Park. The popular and well-known uptown, music venue Tipitina’s is also located on Tchoupitoulas. Makes pronouncing Puch (po͝ok) easy, doesn’t it?
Lafayette Square, located in the Central Business District, is the second-oldest public park in New Orleans. It was named for Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, after his visit to the city in 1825. He was a French aristocrat and general who fought on the American side in the American Revolutionary War. Lafayette Square encompasses 2.5 acres and has been the site for inaugurations, concerts, and Mardi Gras parade-watching. What’s your favorite Lafayette Square event?
The Port of New Orleans is the fourth largest port in the U.S. based on cargo volume. It also has the longest wharf in the world at 2.01 miles. It handles rubber, coffee, steel, containers, coal, manufactured goods, and over half of the country’s grain exports. About 6,000 vessels travel the Mississippi River each year passing thru this major hub for American waterway trade. But not everyone is allowed to see the action. With video surveillance and a felony offense for unauthorized entry, the best a Puch Maxi can do is pose in front of the one of its gated entrances.
Evacuspot statues throughout New Orleans (17 total) designate a gathering place for free transportation to safety in the event of a mandatory evacuation. They are for residents who lack the ability to evacuate in advance of a Category 3 or higher hurricane. These 14 foot, 800 pound, stainless steel statues are meant to withstand 200 years of wear and tear. The design was inspired from the gesture people use to signal for a ride and when asking for beads during Mardi Gras!