Streetcars Return to New Orleans

Streetcars are among New Orleans' most famous symbols — having been immortalized in the play and film, "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Like so many other New Orleans staples, they were derailed when Hurricane Katrina hit.

But on Friday, Dec. 16, the streetcars returned for a test run, and today was their first official day back in operation.

That's sweet news to streetcar conductor Darrell Felix.

"You really can't beat this job," said Felix, who has operated a streetcar for 20 years. "We'd like to say that you ride the St. Charles streetcar, you pay for the ride, and you get the rocking for free."

Familiar Clang

New Orleans' streetcars date back to 1835, when they were the primary form of public transportation. The St. Charles car on the Canal Line is the oldest streetcar route in the United States.

Locals say the return of the old symbol helps brings their devastated city closer to normalcy.

"When you come to New Orleans and you see that streetcar turning that corner and hear that old familiar [clang]," Felix said, "you say, 'Yep, we're getting there. We're getting there.' "