New Orleans or BustIt was the weekend of Easter and we figured that it would be a pleasant drive with great weather. Who would have thought that it would be snowing in the middle of April as the Easter baskets were prepared? We were headed down to New Orleans to see my older brother before he was deployed to Iraq. We broke our 12-hour drive into a two day trip.
The first night we checked into a hotel room that we found to have no heat. Perhaps the smell of cheap Indian cuisine at check in should have warned us that we were in for a rough night! We didn’t sleep well (probably due to freezing temperatures) but arose early to get a good start, only to find ourselves rushing around so much that we locked ourselves out of the room on the way to breakfast. Rescue came from a hotel worker but it came at the expense of great delay! Upon arrival in New Orleans we found fields and yards full of FEMA trailers.
The houses and buildings were still being rebuilt. Some of the buildings were abandoned and neglected, as if no one cared for them or if perhaps they had just given up. On some of the houses you could still see signs pleading for help and rescue.
The devastation left by Hurricane Katrina was unparalleled to anything that I have ever seen. My heart was touched by not only their physical losses but also the losses of peace and security they must have experienced.
Since my brother is in the military he lives on a military base. Whenever you enter the base you must have proper identification as well as a pass to enter which makes them very restricted, protected and safe.
There is a large fence surrounding the base with rolls and rolls of barbed wire attached to the top. Mom said it reminded her of visiting Berlin when she was a child. The base has an intercom system that blares the Star Spangled Banner three times a day.
If you are outside walking or driving when the music begins to play, you must stop what you are doing and be silent until it is finished. Seeing and hearing this made me wonder if our citizens would have more respect for their own country and servicemen if they had this reminder each day.
Every visitor of New Orleans makes it top priority to visit the French Quarter. The French Quarter was damaged during the hurricane but was one of the first parts of the town to be rebuilt as it is a very historic part of New Orleans.
We walked down Bourbon Street and enjoyed seeing a variety of people. Neon lights and street entertainers abounded on every corner. Coming from a conservative Christian family, some of what I saw and smelled was eye opening, and I suppose I should leave it at that!!
Another famous part of the French Quarter is the Cafe du Monde, which sells the world famous beniets.A beniet is a fried doughnut covered in powdered sugar. The cafe also sells really great hot chocolate. Although we had to wait for a table it was well worth it.
I was surprised that a restaurant that served one food item could be so busy. Our waitress was typically southern, with a large smile and powered sugar all over her uniform. We enjoyed visiting with her and taking pictures of ourselves with powdered sugar on our faces.
I would drive another 12 hours to eat there again.
Our trip to New Orleans wouldn’t be complete with out the ferry ride from the West Bank. The ride was a short one but I enjoyed it because as I looked around I realized that this was a tourist stop for me but almost everyone else it was just a means to get from point A to point B. I think it probably became blase to them and the excitement that I was feeling had worn off long ago.
Once we got home that night and my brother showed a video filmed in New Orleans that included the ferry being blown up by terrorists my excitement waned a little too. There might have been so problems here and there but I believe those little things difficulties make trips more memorable and sometimes more fun!
Would I do it again? As long as the trip include beniets!!!
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