Monday, April 10, 2006

New Orleans

We're back from New Orleans! A six-hour drive on Friday and a six-hour drive back yesterday - you'd think I would be full of hair-raising horror stories of life on the road with an almost-three-year-old and an 18-month-old. However, the kids did GREAT. I was amazed. They only got really punchy and restless at about the 5-hour mark both ways and they both behaved very well during the weekend. It was actually a nice trip.

Oh, let me back up and tell you that I went home on Thursday and the husband and I went to the mattress store and ended up talking to the manager of the store. He is a complete jerk and I wanted to rip his face off when he started acting condescending and began to explain to us about how the beds are manufactured. I stopped him mid-sentence and told him that if he was going to act like this, we really needed to get our money back because this was really making me mad! And get this - he actually had the nerve to tell me that I needed to get a good night's sleep. Precisely my point, idiot!!!!

Anyway, that afternoon I ended up with a fever of 100ºF (yes, I'm an engineer - I feel the need to specify whether a temperature is in ºF, ºC, K, or R), but by Friday morning, I was feeling much better and by Friday afternoon, was able to eat a greasy McDonald's cheeseburger on the drive over to New Orleans.

So, getting back to the trip, we arrived in New Orleans at about 7pm, picked up my pen-pal, and headed over to the MIL's house. We ate gumbo for dinner, put the kids to bed and then headed out to show my pen-pal some of the famous New Orleans night-life. However, since we're old, married people now, that just meant we walked up and down Bourbon Street, stopped for a drink at Pat O'Brien's, and then went for coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde. But then again, that's pretty much everything you're supposed to do in New Orleans. (Well, that and getting really drunk, doing stupid things to try to get someone to give you some Mardi Gras beads, and ending up throwing up down some side street - but we thankfully decided to skip that part.)

The following day, we were treated to a tour of the Steamboat on which my pen-pal will be cruising and performing and then we went to eat lunch at R&O's out at Lake Pontchartrain, drove around and looked at some of the devastation, and drove around the Garden District and the French Quarter (in the daylight this time). We dropped my pen-pal back at her boat in time for her to head off up the river. I think we hit all the highlights of New Orleans in her 24-hours of time there. :)

My impression of New Orleans these days? It's definitely coming back. In fact, it was hard to tell on Friday night that there was ever a hurricane. Everything seemed pretty much the same as pre-Katrina. Bourbon street was busy - it looked the same, smelled the same, felt the same. The only strange thing was that Cafe du Monde began closing up shop at 12:45am, just as we were finishing our coffee and beignets.

There are obvious sections of town where you can still see the water mark on all the houses and walls and there are still boats piled up along parts of the lake shore. It will take a long, long time for some of the sections of town to clean up - but I think most of that has to do with paperwork, bureaucracy, and foot-dragging insurance companies. It is clear that the people of New Orleans want to reclaim their lives and get on with the clean-up.

No comments: