New Orleans Photo Journal: Streetcar Lives On

C1 Director of New Work Ilana Brownstein headed down to New Orleans in advance of the Boston opening of Tennessee Williams’ Green Eyes, and brought back this photo journal of Williams-associated landmarks. (All photos are by Ilana Brownstein and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.)

Tennessee Williams may have died in 1983, but his influence can still be felt all over the French Quarter — from the historic, to the kitschy. He is perhaps best remembered for A Streetcar Named Desire, so it’s not surprising that the iconography from that play feels ever present as one wanders New Orleans.

My favorite find on this trip was a restaurant called Stanley. It has a sister location called — what else — Stella. Next to Stanley’s is their service bar (take-out drinks are the norm in this city), where you can get a Stanley Screamer served in a plastic take-out cup that unscrews and turns into a megaphone so you, too, can drunkenly scream “STELLA!!!” at passers-by. Best to get your screamer in time for the Stella Shouting Contest, hosted annually by the Tennessee Williams Festival.

Blanche also gets the beverage treatment, this time at Bar Tonique, where the Blanche DuBois cocktail is pretty and sneakily sultry.

Blanche’s famous quote in the play is: “They told me to take a streetcar named Desire, and then transfer to one called Cemeteries and ride six blocks and get off at Elysian Fields.”

Williams once wrote that as he sat in his apartment at 623 St. Peters Street, that he could hear “that rattle trap streetcar named Desire running along Royal, and the one named Cemeteries running along Canal and it seemed the perfect metaphor for the human condition.” Today New Orleans continues to embrace this — TW fans can’t walk around New Orleans long without stumbling across the components of this play’s famous title.  And while there isn’t a streetcar actually called Desire any longer (now the St. Charles car will get you to the Garden District), you can still walk Elysian Fields Ave, or take the Canal Street car, or wander the famous cemeteries scattered around the city.

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