Potholes, oh my potholes: An ode to crumbling city streets

Bend your axle around that one, Bubba. photo: caribb, Creative Commons

I’ve been to Peru and old Pompeii,

Along the Inca Trail and the Appian Way,

Up slippery slopes and down treacherous ravines,

But I’ve never seen streets like in New Orleans!


Apart from the levees, the city is flat;

Ain’t no topography to know where yat.

Yet the people down here all drive SUV’s

To survive the falls of over 90 degrees.


I once hit a pothole that swallowed my car

It felt like I had been bitten by an alligator gar.

It chewed me up and spit me out

Like a spoiled piece of speckled trout.


Built on a swamp by bungling contractors

The work has provoked countless detractors.

Except for politicians who keep getting re-elected

While our property taxes are sadly misdirected.


Cypress knees and live oak roots,

Busted pipes and bamboo shoots

Burst through pavement with incredible ease

As if they were thrown by the amazing Drew Brees.


Even the streets of the venerable Vieux Carré

Are made of bousillage and papier-mâché.

They trip up tourists and eat Lucky Dog carts,

Upend carriages and paralyze private parts.


The broken streets of New Orleans

Shatter bones and rupture spleens.

They puncture tires and ruin suspensions;

To pay for the damage, you’ll need at least two pensions.


So if you plan to drive in the land of dreams

Prepare to be rattled to smithereens.

Our roads were not built for the faint of heart,

But for masochists who like abstract art.


Folwell Dunbar, a New Orleans educator, is recovering from his latest Jeep® Trail Rated® commute.  He can be reached at fldunbar@cox.net

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  • Lol, loved it!

  • sp

    dude, how true, how OUCH true. Good to see your pen is still sharp.

  • Carling

    Great words and it rings so true I know with Super Bowl coming streets will improve. But, there are so many one that are forgotten and hopes these words can bring the attention that is so much needed. Good work my friend.

  • Folwell

    I hear ya brother. As for the Super Bowl quick fix though, superficial repairs over a spongy foundation and solar panel black asphalt in a semitropical climate ain’t gonna cut it. The Quarter deserves even better!