In New Orleans sidewalk corners are adorned with delightful blue-and-white tiles, originally dating from the 1870s, telling you the name of the street you are crossing:

As I stepped over some of these, it occurred to met that they told a story about city planning.  Unlike the street signs in most cities (including New Orleans) that are attached to poles and displayed high, these can’t be seen by drivers.  These are designed for pedestrians, and perhaps bikers, using sidewalks.  They reflect a time when planners were designing the city for people on foot.

Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.