"For almost 50 years, she
has been a living, loopy, ambulatory French Quarter landmark: Miss Ruthie the
Duck Girl, a sidewalk sideshow followed by waddling water fowl and wide-eyed
tourists. For a while, she was Ruthie on wheels, roller-skating to the beat of a
different drummer. And she’s also been Ruthie the wild bride of the streets,
trailing veils as she makes her rounds, cadging beers and smokes "for
later," smilingly sweet one moment, cursing a blue streak the next.
…Outlandish and capricious, she’s the last of the great Quarter characters,
an eccentric on a scale both lowly and grand…"
"But she’s more than
just an offbeat character; she’s a symbol of the past, from long before what
some see as the Disneyfication of the Quarter, when New Orleans was a haven for
eccentrics. In fact, if the changes in the French Quarter in recent decades
could be expressed mathematically, Ruthie might just be the only constant in the
"Ruthie came to epitomize
the unregimented, unconventional and permissive side of Vieux Carre culture, the
kind of insouciant charm that has seduced thousands over the years and burned,
in those who paid attention, a memory of street life unlike anywhere else in
America, maybe the world."