As oil prices soar around the country, more and more people are turning to alternative forms of transportation instead of traditional sedans or gas-guzzling SUVs. Here in New Orleans, it has led to a resurgence in the Italian scooter, the Vespa. Fuel-efficient and good-looking, the Vespa’s popularity in the Crescent City illustrates the continuing connection with between New Orleans and the Old World.
We always appreciate seeing someone ride up to the market on two wheels, and scooters, especially Vespas, have a special place in our market hearts. Co-founder and executive director Richard McCarthy started his love affair with scooters when he was only thirteen. Any day of the week you can see him riding around town on his Vespa avoiding potholes and high-energy costs. If it looks like rain, you may get to see him in his tuk-tuk, or auto-rickshaw. Common all over Asia, the tuk-tuk is bound to catch your eye down here in Louisiana.
We recently saw market-shoppers Devon and his dad, Jeffrey Huseman at the Crescent City Farmers Market on their Vespa. The Vespa is hand-painted with New Orleans scenes & symbols like Mardi Gras Beads, Po-Boys, K&B Signs, Sewerage & Water Board Covers and Second Lines, as well as famous New Orleans sayings like “Let the Good Times Roll” and “How'z yer Mom' N Em?”. The Huseman’s are thankful to artists Evelyn Menge and Derick Butler for their rolling artwork.
So, keep your eyes open when you are out on the roads of New Orleans and if you're lucky, you might see a Vespa worth remembering.
Market Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.
The Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round in four New Orleans neighborhoods. The CCFM hosts nearly 80 local small farmers, fishers and food producers, and more than 100,000 shoppers annually.