Four things you didn't know about The Fly
1) "The Riverview" is the proper name for The Fly behind Audubon Zoo. You know the one: soccer fields, sunbathing, tugboat watching. I’ve lived around the corner my entire life and didn’t know it was “The Riverview.”
2) The Riverview is off limits to pedestrians at night. I’ve grown up running on The Fly and hearing stories of friends, teachers, aunts, uncles, cousins, all going to hang out at The Fly during all hours of the day and night. While it’s fairly obvious they don’t want cars up there after dark, one might infer from generations of stories, easy pedestrian access, and no signage to the contrary that The Fly is perfectly open and accessible to foot traffic at any time. False.
3) The Riverview, as well as Audubon Park, was donated to the Audubon Nature Institute by the city.
I was enlightened by this potpourri of Fly trivia (I'll get to #4 in a bit) during a rather unpleasant crash course in Riverview history a couple of weeks ago:
Friday the 20th, I found myself driving home with a friend, after a Christmas dinner at Antoine’s. It was 10:30 p.m., and there was an event still happening at the Audubon Tea Room. Since we are both chemical engineers, I suggested we go look at the river so he could see the skyline of the refineries on the West Bank and the magic that is watching tugboats glide across a foggy water’s surface.
We parked by the entrance and walked up the levee. It was chilly, so he gave me his suit jacket, as any gentleman would. While we sat on the levee chatting and watching the ships, we were suddenly alarmed by a truck that came flying up the levee, jumping over the curb. As a cross-country runner, I felt inclined to remove my high heels and make a run for it. However, something about ruining my favorite stockings kept this impulse at bay.
Out of the vehicle popped two Audubon security guards. Phew, I initially thought.
Unfortunately, phew was the wrong reaction.
After being informed of Riverview trivia facts #1 -3, I apologized to the officer, explaining I was a neighbor and had never been aware of these facts. Yet one of the guards pressed on: Are you [we] stupid? Can you [we] not read? He then aggressively lectured us, while calling the police to have us cited as criminal trespassers.
Clearly, my friend in a suit & tie, and me in a dress, heels, and stockings, were there to cause trouble. All criminals dress up for their offense, right?
The two NOPD officers were incredibly kind (2nd district officers), and as trivial as they seemed to think the offense was -- since, you know, there are assaults and burglaries throughout the city that might be more worthy of their time than the infraction at hand — their hands were tied by the insistence of the Audubon guard to press charges.
This brings me to the fourth thing you might not know about The Fly -- excuse me, The Riverview:
4) You support the Audubon Zoo and The Fly, too, in case you didn’t know. Flip over your tax bill. Below “City Taxes sub-total” you will find an entry titled, “Audubon Zoo & Aquarium of the Americas.” Too bad it doesn't even get you one free admission per year.
Native New Orleanian Elizabeth Kukla is a student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She writes about being a NOLA girl from afar in “Growing Pains,” a weekly column at NolaVie.