Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. The flowers are blooming, the grass is greener, and the weather in New Orleans is about the best that it can be. Not too hot, not too cold. As a child, Easter always meant a new pair of shoes to compliment the new Easter dress crafted by my Mom, or on occasion, purchased from one of the local department stores on Canal Street. My Mom loved a good pair of shoes, which has passed down to me, my siblings and our kids. She had the best taste and knew not only quality fabric, but also the best shoes that would last and be passed down to each other or other members of our extended family, there were many, after we outgrew. No shoes ever crossed the threshold for street wear without first getting a set of taps. Getting those taps usually meant a walk “across the tracks” at Holmes’ Shoe Shop on Florida Avenue. I think myself and my siblings were happy when plastic taps, although not as durable as metal, were made. It made our footsteps and our lives a little quieter. I even had them on my school shoes and always tried to walk quietly to not attract attention to myself.
Louisa Transferred to Desire
Public Service busses, Louisa transferred to Desire, was our mode of transportation. If the Louisa bus was taking too long, be prepared to walk ”out front.” The sales of Canal Street waited for no one, and you best believe, my Mom Etta, knew where to find them. The early bird is known to get the worm, so we were usually at our destination, Imperial Shoe Store at the corner of Bourbon and Canal Streets, quite early. So early that the store employees would be hosing the sidewalks down preparing for the barrage of Saturday shoppers. Yes, young folks reading this and I’m honored that you are, vendors actually cleaned the sidewalks.
My Mom Always Had a Shopping List
There were many mothers that had the same plan as we did, because the line to get inside the store was usually long. Numbers were given out and people stood in line never complaining, just patiently waiting their turn to take the elevator up to the children’s shoe. If blessed, the size and shoe that my Mom chose was available. If not and it was a little larger, it was purchased anyway, and Kleenex was used until it fit like it should. I’m thankful that if the size was too small, it remained in the store. Grabbing a pair of nylon socks off the rack (I hated those because they always slid down in your shoes), the bill was paid and we were back in the hustling crowd of Canal Street. My Mom always had a shopping list each and every Saturday and was on a mission to get everything she needed on that trip. A bag of popcorn was usually purchased from the small Woolworth’s next to Imperial to keep us happy and fed until we made it down to McCrory’s for a hamburger and a drink.
Back on the Desire Bus