I landed in New Orleans (first time ever) on Thursday around 12:00. The previous night was spent camping in a Palm Tree Nursery, amazing! I followed the Google Maps to my Airbnb which was in the French Quarter area. I immediately panicked at the fact that I was going to have to leave my bike on the street in that neighborhood. It might have been an overreaction but I was almost positive that if I just left the bike on the road it would be stolen by morning.
Securing the Bike
I walked down the street to a new market that had just opened up. St. Roch Market on Roch Street. I grabbed a bite to eat and asked where the closest hardware store was. They directed me about 6 blocks down the street. I set out to find the biggest chain and padlock that I could carry back with me.
The owner of the hardware store asked what I needed it for and when I told him it was to lock the back wheel of my motorcycle he laughed in my face. Here is how the dialogue went from there:
Store Owner – You really think that chain is going to stop someone who wants your bike?
Me – Do you have a better idea?
Store Owner – Yeah, don’t have a motorcycle in this city.
Me – Not an option at this point.
Store Owner – You should probably get more than 3 feet of chain.
Me – You know if they cut the chain in any spot it doesn’t matter how long the chain is. It’s all linked together.
Store Owner – I had a guy in here the other day that had his throat slit. This is a dangerous town you know.
Me – Let me get that padlock as well.
Store Owner – You know the cops won’t help you if the bike is stolen. They’ll never find it in one piece.
Me – Good to know, thanks, I’ll be careful.
I grabbed my 3 feet of chain and pad lock and made my way back to the Airbnb to secure the back wheel to the frame and fence post. I also removed the side boxes and brought them inside. This also let me squeeze the bike back into the side alley (partially).
At this point I covered the bike with a tarp, old plywood and a trashcan to help disguise the fact that I was keeping my cross country steed on the streets of one of the most crime filled places that I had ever been to.
French Quarter Festival
Somehow I randomly timed my visit to New Orleans to happen during a 4 day music festival and also happened to rent an Airbnb that was a 10 minutes walk from the fest. The French Quarter festival is one of the largest music festivals that takes place in New Orleans.
The event is free, they have 25+ stages, 300 hours of live music, and wandering through the street of that town following the sounds of music is an amazing way to see the city. As an added bonus, my girlfriend happened to be in Baton Rouge for work so she was able to drive down and hang with me for the entire 4 day festival.
Summary of New Orleans
In the end, my bike was not stolen. However I don’t regret the camouflage job that I did to help hide the ride. The last night of the festival someone was killed in a road rage altercation (NFL Player) and the night before 3 festival goers were stabbed while walking home. Me and my girlfriend both made it out just fine and now the second leg of the trip begins. Heading north up the Mighty Mississippi to cover the Great River Road.