New Orleans is a city of mysteries. Tourists, fascinated by ghosts and grandeur, learn about them on French Quarter walking tours. For those of us who live here, there are other mysteries. Like, “Why am I paying so much in property tax and my street still has massive potholes?”

Here’s another New Orleans mystery that may have crossed your mind – when you’re driving down Tchoupitoulas Street. “What goes on behind that floodwall?” The Port of New Orleans is one of the most vital strands of the city’s economy, but to the average New Orleanian it’s the least visible.

And if you’re driving around New Orleans, at some point you inevitably find yourself stopped, waiting for a train to go by. On those occasions, a number of questions may cross your mind. Like, “How long have I been sitting here?” “Why is this train so long?” And “What the heck is in all these train cars anyway?”

Well, good news! Today’s the day we solve all of these mysteries about the port and the trains, courtesy of Brandy Christian, President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad.

Brandy Christian, CEO of the Port of New Orleans and New OlOrleans Public Belt Railroad

Brandy Christian, CEO of the Port of New Orleans and New
Orleans Public Belt Railroad

Here’s another difference between being a tourist and a resident of New Orleans. If you’re a tourist, you go shopping on Canal Street. If you live here, there’s a good chance you don’t. Maybe you haven’t even driven down Canal Street in a while. If that’s the case, let me reassure you about something: Rubensteins men’s clothing and shoe store is still on the corner of Canal Street and St Charles Avenue. Just as it has been since 1924.

Which brings us to the second New Orleans mystery we’re going to unravel here. And that is, with the radical shift in New Orleanians’ shopping habits, the advent of e-commerce, and the consistent decline in formal men’s fashion, how does Rubensteins stay in business? That mystery is unraveled by owner and General Manager of Rubensteins, Kenny Rubenstein.

Kenny Rubinstein, owner and General Manager of Rubinsteins men's clothing and shoe store

Kenny Rubenstein, owner and General Manager of Rubensteins men’s clothing and shoe store

To anybody who doesn’t live in New Orleans, it might seem strange to draw any kind of comparison between a port, a railroad, and a menswear store. But the sound of a train whistle blowing from somewhere near the river on a foggy morning, tugs pushing barges on the Mississippi, and the Krewe of Rex rolling by Rubensteins as the Mardi Gras parade makes the turn from St Charles Avenue onto Canal Street are all equally iconic New Orleans moments.

Kenny Rubinstein, Peter Ricchiuti, Brandy Christian, Out to Lunch at NOLA Brewing

Kenny Rubenstein, Peter Ricchiuti, Brandy Christian, Out to Lunch at NOLA Brewing

Out to Lunch is recorded live over lunch at NOLA Pizza in the NOLA Brewing Taproom. Photos by  Jill Lafleur.