That’s it, I’m re-writing mapquest for NOLA. I headed off to an Organizing job in Uptown yesterday. I have no idea where Uptown is, Downtown, Mid-town, wrong side of town- I only know landmarks. There is no map grid when you are driving that says – “YOU ARE HEADING TOWARDS THE WESTERN PERIMETER OF UPTOWN!!!!” I usually stay on the Northshore, but I had an open slot, so why not make a little extra money? I only charge $5 extra to cross the bridge – need to bump that up after this wild ride!. Before I left home, my business partner wanted to make sure I had good directions as she is a local. Relax I said, I mapquested it. Of course I eat my words now and I lost $25 (my hourly rate) plus a lot of gas money trying to find it (feel free to hit the KMG.com donation jar). Here is what mapquest should have said to this Newbie driving from Mandeville to Uptown:
Driving time: all depends on time of day, rain, bridge conditions, construction. To make a 40 mile trip, best leave 2 hours before job!
1. Quickly get on the Causeway heading South. If you have a toll pass – scurry around to get in the shortest line and wait because you probably got in the wrong lane.
2. While driving over the bridge – stay in the left lane for the first 10 miles until someone annoys you so much because “they can”, get in right lane and wave to them as they sit next to you for the rest of the bridge drive. Be glad you are next to them because a cop is using his radar to check for speeders.
3. Drive straight past the mall – DO NOT bear to the right when you start seeing mall stores. (or you add 30 minutes to your commute)
4. As soon as you go over the bridge that has the I-10 exits – get on the far right – no matter which way you are going. Be aggressive and drive slowly, because you will need to slam on your breaks to a dead halt at some point. (if you miss your turn,you are screwed).
5. Once you are on I-10 East towards the Atlantic Ocean and the Superdome, get out of right lane, that is a “exit right only lane” and with all the construction you will never get back to the left. (get to the left or else)
6. Stay on I-10 until you see the Superdome on your left, know that a divide is coming up that only makes sense to locals. Take the correct one to end you up in Uptown or else you will have to stop in front of Family Dollar and roll down your window and ask directions to a nice lady who says “Oh honey, you are way off. Head back on this road and go over the 2nd bridge and turn left on Tulane Street.”
7. Turn car around and realize that you are driving through a neighborhood that was probably in rough shape pre-Katrina and in worse shape now. (tack on 10 minutes)
8. Go over that 2nd bridge and spout foul words as you were not in the left lane fast enough and now need to make the next possible U-turn which is not convenient (tack on 5 minutes).
9. Stop and ask another woman who says, “Oh honey, you are far away from Uptown, go this way and get to St Charles.” Smile and roll up window.
10. Roll down window again as she approaches the car because she realizes that you don’t know Uptown from the West Bank. Listen as she says, “go up here, turn left on Poydras until you hit St. Charles – then turn left.”
11. Smile and drive away and keep driving until you are at another bridge, and turn around – again.
12. Call you partner on the phone and ask where you are because there WASN’T A SIGN THAT SAYS POYDRAS!!!! Shout obscenities in the car and realize you are going to lose at least a half-hour of pay.
Turn around and try to find Poydras, again, in a maze of one way streets as your partner keeps asking where you are, but you don’t see any signs! Turn left somewhere and drive North somewhere until you need to call your partner again.
13. Go North on Canal (near a trolley) until you spot Carrolton Street and navigate which way you should turn. Answer call from client who is confused why you are so late and so lost.
14. Turn left on Carrolton until you reach St. Charles – turn left
15. Keep going, make a few wrong turns because all the streets go one way and signs are missing and you should arrive at your final destination – 1 hour late!
16. You have now reached your final destination in one piece and one hour late – have a nice day!
(cross-posted at NOLA.com)