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New Orleans Trivia

Blakeview: The Desire streetcar line


Next weekend, streetcars are scheduled to roll down North Rampart Street after more than 18 months of construction and $40.6 million in work to return 1.6 miles of streetcar service to Rampart from Canal Street to Elysian Fields Avenue. Streetcars ran on Rampart from 1926 until 1949, when buses replaced them. That's about the same lifespan as a nearby line, perhaps the best-known in the world: the Desire streetcar line. It was in operation from 1920 until 1948, with a route that took streetcars from Canal Street down Bourbon Street and into Faubourg Marigny and Bywater on Desire Street. The line became world famous in Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning play A Streetcar Named Desire, which premiered on Broadway in 1947. The 1951 film won four Academy Awards. A long list of actresses including Jessica Tandy, Vivien Leigh, Glenn Close and Jessica Lange have performed the character Blanche DuBois' famous line: "They told me to take a streetcar named Desire and transfer to one called Cemeteries, and ride six blocks and get off at Elysian Fields."

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