Over time the 9 pound meter box covers became popular with tourists and with locals. For a while, even though it is very illegal, people stole the covers as souvenirs, dragging them through airports along with other treasures. Of course, tightened airport security has made it more challenging to pull off. Others have turned the popularity of the covers into a business. Local jewelers have fashioned earrings and pendants out of the design while others have created doormats and mouse-pads. You can even find merchants selling water meter cover paraphernalia on sites like Etsy.com (http://www.etsy.com/search?q=new+orleans+water+meter&page=1&ref=related).
It is interesting to see how Edwin Ford's entrepreneurship enabled the efforts of entrepreneurs 100 years later. It is a testament to the power of good design and to the importance of retaining the little things that give places valuable character. In fact, as I watched the closing ceremony for the Olympics in London I noticed the delegation from the Rio 2016 Olympics projected the famous Rio sidewalk designs onto the performance space. It triggered my own nostalgia and reminded me that every city has those things that make it unique.
I look forward to seeing what other little things make New Orleans unique and sharing them with you. Is there anything small, quirky and charming about your city? Have entrepreneurs leveraged it for profit or charity?