Monday, March 2, 2009
New Orleans tripSo here's my post on New Orleans.
We drove up to Minnesota on Friday since we were flying out of Minneapolis. We stayed with Shannon's cousin Elizabeth and her family in Zumbro Falls and had a relaxing evening/morning just hanging out.
Saturday we went to see a college friend of Shannon's, Liz, who made Shannon's hair into dreads. It was faster than we expected; still, we had a good time just sitting and talking while Shannon's locks were transformed. That night we stayed with Anne and Nathan, whose wedding we went to last year in North Dokota. They've lived in Oregon, St. Thomas and North Dakota in the past year, and are back in Minneapolis until Nathan finishes seminary and they get an assignment (which will be somewhere in Minnesota, North Dakota, or... I think South Dakota). We went to church with them the following morning in the suburbs, at a church where Nathan used to work. He was welcomed heartily.
We took off that day from Minneapolis, switched planes in Memphis. Actually, we didn't switch planes, we just got off the plane and got back on because it was the same plane going to New Orleans. The flight attendant, seeing our polka-dot suitcase, said, "Hey, I saw that bag coming off!"
We got to New Orleans late in the evening (9ish?) and took a shuttle to our hotel a couple blocks from the French Quarter. We had to walk a few blocks through the crowd of revelers and over a few puddles of urine/beer to get there, but we made it. It was a nice old building branded with a national chain.
We got a little food from the hotel bar and I watched the news coverage of the parades happening that night while I waited. New Orleans has parades for a few weeks leading up to Mardi Gras.
The next day, Lundi Gras, was my birthday. I think we slept in a little because it was close to lunchtime when we left the hotel. We went to a deli called FredRick's where I had a shrimp po' boy and Shannon had rice and beans. Good stuff all around.
After lunch we took a van tour of Hurricane Katrina damage. We joined Paul, who know from McGregor, and his two friends (also from Iowa). The tour was really good. Our driver/guide had the authentic New Orleans accent that I imagined for Ignatius' mother in A Confederacy of Dunces and she had a good mix of statistics, information and opinion to keep the tour interesting throughout. We saw entire neighborhoods that remain abandoned and also some hopeful rebuilding projects.
After the tour was over we got out in the French Quarter and wandered around. We watched the sunset had some beignets at Cafe du Monde which were tastily messy.
We went to Canal Street to catch the Proteus and Orpheus parades.
[Shannon was right. I will never finish this. Oh well.]