Plot twists on the Mississip

Last week we tried to go see "Away From Her" at Canal Place cinemas, which is the only thing that passes for an art house in New Orleans - kind of odd, considering it resides across from the food court in the only mall in Orleans Parish. But whoever's in charge there does a fine job of bringing in the best of mainstream as well as offbeat features, even if they still haven't figured out how to make decent popcorn.

We got the movie starting time wrong and had some time to kill, so we decided to walk around the edge of the French Quarter for a little while, remarking on the distinctly different caliber of summertime tourists who thankfully appear content to remain within its parameters. Anyway, we yahoo-watched for too long and were then too late to get seats together for the movie, so instead we sat in the parking garage looking over the Mississippi as an enormous barge made it's way around Algiers Point--not on a dime, exactly, but its nautical equivalent, for certain. It was like looking down at a toy train set where some kid plunked a piece from wrong set altogether right into the middle of it.
The barge was bigger than all of the wharfs together, at least a couple of city blocks long, and the longer we watched it, the more we marveled at how a) a giant hunk of metal can float b) a giant hunk of metal has to make its way around probably dozens more points like this one before it makes its way back to the Gulf and c) this is how we've been moving goods around for centuries, and as excruciatingly slow as it seemed, apparently there's still no better or faster way.

We watched the ship head toward the far bank and then cut off the engines, allowing the back end (the stern?) to float faster than the front to get it heading in the right direction. Even from a parking garage a half-mile away, the river's crazy currents are visible, and you could tell that the driver/captain was working with them to get the ship properly lined up. A little tugboat snuck past the ship while it was still turning, which seemed both brave and stupid, as the ship was probably ten times the size of the tugboat, cargo included. The whole thing took about 10 minutes.

Talk about hairpin plot twist -- better than anything the movies had to offer for sure.

June 10, 2007 4:13 PM | | Comments (0)


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This page contains a single entry by Culture Gulf published on June 10, 2007 4:13 PM.

"The Music Will Still be Wonderful" was the previous entry in this blog.

New Orleans' underground: Not under water is the next entry in this blog.

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