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Parking reserved for sheriff's deputies

Photo by Brian Williams

The sheriff's trusty steed.

Yesterday in the airport in New Orleans, I heard a vehicle behind me while walking to the gate.

It was the sheriff.

The local sheriff's office has purchased a fleet of three-wheeled dreadnaughts that cruise the terminals and gate areas. These suckers stand out: They are tricked-out with LED's and faux mag wheels. They are to Segues what Bentleys are to Smart Cars. 

The deputy driving behind me had the pleasant look of Wilford Brimley. He pulled up to our particular gate, parked the vehicle and watched us board, with the confident look of a man who knows he could out-run any terrorist in a drag race down the concourse. 

The elephant in the terminal: The inevitable Paul Blart comparisons.  I suppose the deputies on these cruisers differentiate themselves by being armed, but very few people look cool atop these vehicles.

You know how there's nothing more harrowing at the supermarket than walking with your cart in front of someone who you fear is going to hit you with their cart in the back of the ankles? Walking in front of one of these is the vehicular version of that. These tricycles are tall—the deputy in the saddle is a looming presence. It makes you suddenly pay hyper-close attention to your lane-changes as a pedestrian. I considered going to Cinnabon, but it would have meant crossing two lanes of oncoming traffic coming off the Chicago flight.

Just a word to veteran air travelers: When in the New Orleans airport, be prepared to share the road...with the gentle giants of the concourse.

We hope you can join us tonight.