A friend of Madame Chouteau, who will be known as Brenda Starr, provided insight into neighborhood life over the weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18, 2008. There were a series of street closings and miscellaneous celebrations. Pictured are some empties lined up along the gutter near the intersection of S. 10th Street and Allen, found on Sunday, May 18. How many dead men can you count? Following is the report of Brenda Starr. Enjoy.
One of the street closings over the weekend was for the 9th Annual Car Show, originally begun by Hammerstone’s Bar. For 8 years the car show was confined to Ninth Street. But, like most things in Soulard, in an attempt to draw more beer-drinkers to the neighborhood, the show has been expanded to include more and more cars, and then to add to the excitement there was created the "Wacky Soapbox Derby." To make room for this wonderful event, all of Geyer Avenue was temporarily closed for the excitement.
Another spectacle was billed as the "Soulard Olympix." The main event seemed to be elbow bending, since the Olympix was described as time to "crawl your way thru Soulard’s Pubs and Private residences."
Still another street closing - the area where S. 10th Street intersects Allen - was sponsored by Jim and Julie Price. I was told this was a charity affair, but the person I questioned about the matter did not know the name of the charity.
Friday night: Geyer, my street, looks like a fraternity party. Three young men have pulled chairs out onto the sidewalk in front of their apartments at 1006 and are drinking. At 1003 there are three young men and a young woman drinking beer on the stoop. Emergency "no parking" signs are posted all up and down the street, in anticipation of the Wacky Soapbox Derby.
Saturday, early afternoon: Old-timey music from Spooty’s bar is blaring across the neighborhood. I assume it is for the benefit of the neighborhood, since there are only five patrons sitting on the patio where the speakers are located.
In the late afternoon the old-timey noise is surpassed by rock music coming from the Price’s event on 10th Street and Allen. I am a block away. With my windows and blinds tightly shut and the air-conditioning going, I can still hear the music inside my home.
Saturday evening: at 10:30 p.m. the music is still blaring away. My stroll down the alley at that hour reveals several young men urinating in a neighbor’s dogtrot. When I suggest that they use one of the three port-o-potties at the event, they said that they were urinating on the neighbor’s property because the port-o-potties were full. It is not clear whether the facilities are full of people or full of urine. But, what the heck, an excuse for public urination is an excuse.
There were a lot of people at the 10th Street celebration, some of them obviously drunk, and some of them obviously underage and drunk. One wonders if anybody is supposed to monitor underage drinking. The Prices? The City of St. Louis department which authorized the liquor license? Alder woman Phyllis Young? Obviously, nobody was in charge. Obviously, nobody cares.
Sunday morning: at 7 a.m. the neighborhood is blissfully quiet. 1006 Geyer still has the chairs, now empty, and a few beer bottles, now empty, on the sidewalk. 1003 Geyer is more poetic - a beer bottle sitting in a flower pot. Soulard’s flowers. And 10th Street between the alleyway and Allen, the site of the Price event, is a mess. Plastic trash bags overflowing with food and miscellaneous garbage are everywhere. One must assume that the rats had a good time when the music stopped and the drunks went home.