And together we learn

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Big Easy

Back from my whirlwind trip to New Orleans! What an interesting and beautiful place it is...except for Bourbon Street, that was just plain wrong. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Calvin was SO GOOD on the planes, both going and coming home. He slept, he played peeka boo, and was generally darling. In fact, on the last leg today he slept from takeoff to landing, and I had to wake him up to get off the plane. I'll travel with him anytime! Not bad for a crazy 14 month old.

The first night we were there we hung out in the French Quarter. Beautiful!! The old houses with the ornate ironwork, gorgeous parks, cool antique stores--it was so fun.

And I took this photo just for Jennifer

Then we had the great idea to stroll down Bourbon Street, because after all it's the most famous street in New Orleans, right? Well, it may be famous, but it's not someplace I'm EVER visiting again. We decided that it's even worse than Vegas, in terms of pure debauchery. Yuck.

But the rest of the French Quarter was lovely. We had a fancy schmancy dinner, and let Calvin go to town with the little dish of ketchup while we tried to finish our meals.

For dessert--Praline Bread Pudding!! Mmmmmm.

Of course the whole time I was there I was looking for evidence of Katrina. Flying into the city it looked like any other place, except that occasionally there would be pile of rubble where there should have been a house. Oh, but flying in, I saw paddleboats on the Mississippi River!! How cool is that!

I had to drive and get something for Steve out in an area that was really badly damaged. There was nothing left. House after house, gutted. All the businesses closed. Somehow, I pictured houses, but it was weird to see huge grocery stores and McDonald's and post offices all closed. There was a visible water line on the houses. It was really eerie. It's amazing that there's anything left at all. But periodically would be a business with a big sign announcing that they were open--it seemed like everyone took it as a kind of victory when each place returned.

Even the really swanky parts of town had gutted houses and piles or rubble, still.

It was...interesting.

But, oh, the old streets with the twisty-limbed trees that arched overhead, covered with moss in brilliant green. They flanked gracious, stately, purely Southern mansions that were so charming it was hard to believe they were real. And unfortunately, I don't have pictures of any of them because we were driving and I never had a chance to stop. Dang it! They were so gorgeous.

But this nice internet person took one for me. Thanks Stanley Beck!

The weather was hot and SO humid!! As a western girl, I don't do too well in the humidity. Give me my good old arid climate any day. I'll slather on the lotion, but still be able to breathe, thank you very much.

It was stormy the first day. And not a storm that was even much of anything. Basic, average type storm. But the wind was so strong that it pulled a shopping cart out of an old lady's hand and sent it flying through the parking lot. It gave me some idea of just how destructive a real hurricane could be, if a measly little storm could blow like that.

It was a flying fast trip with not much time to really see things, but I got a glimpse of the city. But it was wonderful to spend some time with my Steve, and it was a lovely break from the routine.

5 comment(s):

What a city of contrasts - from those gorgeous houses and buildings (I just love those old houses especially the big mansions - would love to live in one of those) to the empty husks of what was once full of people living their lives. Sounds like a really interesting trip. I have always wanted to go there, I'm glad to hear that there's still some nice areas left.

By Blogger theotherbear, at 4:19 AM  

Sounds like a wonderful trip! I've never been there but would like to go sometime!

Did you see my post this week---my son's middle name is Calvin and we almost named him that and called him "Cal"....but alas we chose to use it as a middle name. I love that name!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:44 AM  

Becca, I liked your pictures, and your descriptions. I was there when I was around 11 or so, I remember the beautiful old architecture. I don't really remember bourbon street, just being there...I don't think we were there at night, maybe that is why it doesn't stick out in my mind the way you saw it. I do remember my dad being offered drugs while we were all standing together...didn't make me want to visit again...
glad you had such a nice trip,

By Blogger Jennifer, at 12:38 PM  

I'm glad you made it there and back, safe and sound. And so glad the little guy had a good trip, too. I absolutely love traveling with my children. People think I'm nuts, but perhaps some kids are just good travelers. Whatever it is, it's great fun.

I think you really hit it when you said it's a sign of victory when a business reopens. They're reclaiming their places, and they are learning to be survivors rather than victims. We have friends down in NO who were the first on their block to move back and start working - I've been glad to see them really taking the lead and being a good source of encouragement for others.


By Blogger Dy, at 12:34 AM  

It does sound like an interesting trip. Thanks for the photo (made me cry!)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:55 PM  

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