Riding the Tulane bus is like putting in extra hours at work so you can enjoy your vacation: It sucks at the time and you sometimes wonder what you were thinking, but in the end, the reward is worth it...
"Only thing I had this morning was a blunt!" was the first thing I heard when I boarded the Tulane bus. The first thing I smelled was stale urine, the same smell found at North Rampart and Canal streets. Good thing I packed my bus bag this time!
It's easy to see how the Save-a-Lot business model works: Like most grocery stores, they sell some items at a lower price (Patton's hot sausage, $5.29 at Save-a-Lot, $14.99 at Rouses; Butterball turkey bacon, $1 at Save-a-Lot, $3.99 at Rouses), other items at a higher price (Cacique chorizo, $1.29 at Save-a-Lot, .89 at Wal-Mart) and offer many non-grocery items including restaurant gift cards, phone cards and cookware. Save-a-Lot differs from most grocery stores in their primarily off-brand inventory (Mountain Holler lemon-lime soda, Bubba cola and Tickle diapers) and in charging for plastic grocery bags.
While I was taking pictures of some of the items, a stock boy approached me, asking me what I was doing. Lord, here we go. "I'm with the Gambit," I quickly told him so he could leave me alone. He stopped bothering me, but I soon felt someone following me. It was the manager, I'm guessing, telling me that pictures aren't allowed in Save-a-Lot. She didn't even know what Gambit was, po' thing.
(That's something I don't understand. No pictures at a strip club, okay I get that. But at a store? How can that harm you? Am I going to go home and copy what I see? And who's to say I'm not like Martha Stewart and won't go home and sew a jacket just like yours and make you feel soooo small at school the next day? ...so to speak.)
My next stop was to The Catholic Book Store (3003 S. Carrollton Ave., 861-7504), the oldest bookstore in New Orleans. "I like to say that we are Catholic with a lowercase-C because we are open to all religions and even those with no religion at all," manager Anne Komly says. Founded in 1939 by Florence Henderson, the non-profit bookstore—which is not financially supported by the Archdiocese—will special order upon customer request.
(back on the bus)
"Oooh I ain't goin' to jail no mo'! I be tellin' da hos, 'Imma call da police on ya!' cuz I get picked up for every li'l thing!" was the first thing I heard on the Tulane bus on my trip to Boswell's Jamaican Grill (3521 Tulane Ave., 482-6600).
If you want Jamaican food for a great price in the city, this is the place. I ordered my usual: jerk chicken with callaloo (greens), macaroni and cheese and plantains with a Ting (Jamaican grapefruit soda). The bill came to about $10 though I could've made out for less had I ordered the $8.95 lunch buffet. However, there are no plantains on the lunch buffet and I need my plantains. Plantains are why I stopped going to Coco Hut on Bayou Road; I'd always make sure I was going to get my plantains, but I never got them. Ever! The Coco Hut menu says that you will get plantains with your meal, so I'm perplexed as to why they're never on my plate. Since the owner is also the waiter at Boswell's, it's better to go to the counter when you're ready to pay than to wait for him to get to you. It's also not a bad idea to go to the counter when you need something, like extra jerk sauce.