Struttin' Down Royal Street
Royal and Canal Street - Monkey Wrench Corner
You are now standing on the corner of Royal Street and Canal Street, or, as locals know it, Monkey Wrench Corner. This is where “monkeys” or unemployed sailors once “wrenched” or begged passers-by for money.
Hi, I’m Kevin J. Bozant, born in the 9th Ward and author of several books about New Orleans. New Orleans musician Al Hirt made a recording in 1967 called "Struttin’ Down Royal Street". That is exactly what we plan to do on our stroll through the French Quarter today. Although we will be heading northeast into the French Quarter, we are actually struttin’ DOWN Royal Street because we are heading "downtown" or "down river."
Canal Street is the great dividing line of New Orleans. I'll tell you more about that as we go, but for now, all you need to know is that French Quarter streets change names as they cross Canal Street. So, to get going, turn your back St. Charles Avenue, and head down Royal Street.
We will be walking against traffic so stay on the right banquette for now. In New Orleans, we do not call them sidewalks. The first block of Royal is nothing to write home about. In the early nineteenth century this was the gateway to the great Creole “promenade publique.” But today, the 100 block is... in transition, to put it kindly.
VoiceMap uses your location to play commentary automatically. Stretches of silence are normal. If you get lost you can refer to the map on your screen, but otherwise you can put the phone in your pocket and enjoy your stroll.