Ah Bugger

The vapid utterings of a neurotic mind.

My Photo
Name:
Location: DC, United States

I ain't too proud to bug.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Oh NO

I waltzed into The Big Easy in the afternoon on Thursday and found a hotel in the middle of the French Quarter to reside in. I decided (and this was huge because for most of this trip I have been confusing people with my hobo-like appearance) to dress up and see what the French Quarter had to offer. I went to the lobby to ask the concierge for advice on a fine dining establishment, hoping against hope that his idea of fine dining was not the Hustler restaurant on Bourbon Street. His idea was for me to join him in going to the Saint's pre-season game, which I did. The game was pretty full with everyone wearing Saint's paraphernalia, but they still lost the game. Dan and I decided to hit Bourbon street. He used to be a drummer and played with the likes of Chaka Khan. He was appalled when I told him about her hissy fit in Boca, Marci.

In New Orleans, some bars will give you three drinks for the price of one and then you get to walk around town with said drinks. Well, I was not up to drinking all those beers, so while I carried them around for a while, I saw some street musician and gave him one. But he is not pictured below. These guys were great. So I danced while they sang. I got rhythm. (As evidenced from my hula dancing to their "sitting on the dock of the bay").

Friday was the anniversary of hurricane Katrina and people were preparing for the hit of Gustav. It was a really interesting time to be in the city. People seemed laid back about the whole thing, yet many were planning to leave by Sunday. One girl at my hotel hoped for a bad hurricane, so she could leave New Orleans for good. I told her to just do it, but her mother seems to have a rather strong hold on her. If there is one thing I have learned on this trip, it is that you cannot wait for other's to be okay with what you are doing. Sometimes you just have to go do what is best for you. I hope she does. She seemed like a really sweet girl.

I decided to take a tour of the city. We saw the beautiful traditional homes of early New Orleans...

And the ugly new traditions of the Big Easy. Three years later and still living in FEMA trailers. We went to one house in the lower ninth ward that the tour guide referred to as the Wizard of Oz house based on how it seemed to have just landed on the lot. Everything was askew and absolutely destroyed by the hurricane. There were still clothes hanging from a hook on the door and dishes in the sink. This was the destruction to the house. Someone painted band-aids filled with love on the side of the house. What struck me most was this doll who seems to epitomize the whole disaster. She seems to be waiting for someone to save her. Broke my heart to think of the little girl who had to leave her behind. A lot of the houses still bear their markings from the rescue teams that came through. Usually there would be an X with a date, the group that searched (DEA, ASPCA), how many people found inside and their status (alive, dead), and finally any info for others coming through (missing stairwell, etc). This house, amongst many others, had "TFW" spray painted on it. This means toxic flood waters. The toxicity of the water was a big issue that remained long after the floods had receded. The symbols on this house mean that they came by on Sept. 12. They did not enter, probably due to the tfw, and they found no bodies. I can't decipher who searched it. It looks like "ME" to me.

Katrina was of course just the first part of a one-two punch. Rita came in and flooded them all over again. Below you can see the watermarks of the flooding from both hurricanes.Of course, not all of NO is based on what happened 3 years ago. People were dying for all sorts of reasons before Katrina came in with her fury. Yellow fever seemed to be a big killer. AND NO IS currently the murder capital. (C'mon DC, we can't let them have our title!) As everyone knows, the cemeteries are above ground due to the fact that when you were to bury your loved one, you were forced to place them into filthy water. So they opted for crypts, which goes against the beliefs of many of the Catholic residents. The caskets rest on shelves in the crypt for one year and then the bones are placed in the "basement" of the tomb and the shelves are free for the next dead person in your family. It's these swamps that make the land very unstable. Weird how people always want to build on inappropriate land. I mean, Chicago is built on sand. Didn't anyone read the biblical verse about the house built on sand and yadda yadda yadda?But these live oaks are so beautiful and they grow so crazily. This one is 300-400 years old and named after some Scotsman, I am too lazy to look up, who had donated this land and also a ton of money for schools to be built all over the city. (I think it was McDonogh). See how they placed telephone poles to keep the tree from splitting apart?There is plenty of Gustav preparation going on. Sandbags were placed.All the windows were being boarded up. (I was thinking that this would be a great time to get to NO and offer to board the windows at $10 a pane?)After the tour, I wandered about and had a $7 lime slushy. Basically a margarita without booze. But $7! Jeepers, had I known that it would cost that much, I would have gotten the tequila. At least then I may not have cared. I love these frozen drink shops.

I ate a Muffalatta which was created in New Orleans and is so tasty. It is like an Italian sub but with an Italian dressing. Mine had olives on it. Delish.

It was sooo hot that I drank a gallon of water and it never came out again. (You are welcome for my subtlety there). I went to Cafe Beignet where I spoke to a couple from Calgary about the Stampede and also the firm conviction that all Canadians seem to have that the US shot the September 11 plane that crashed in PA down. Why don't we (Americans) have this notion? It seems reasonable to me. We also talked about the impending storm and whether or not it will truly hit New Orleans, and if it will be a hurricane at all. I am fascinated at the preparation this time around, though I bet plenty of people will just be hunkering down again, even with the mandated evacuation.

I stopped by Cafe Du Monde, but I hate chicory and I am still not sufficiently recovered from the beignet incident in Chicago, so I meandered over to the flea market where I bought two cds of New Orleans jazz.

As I was leaving NO, I was stuck in a fair amount of traffic. A lot of cars were packed and heading northeast. I am curious how everything will pan out. The skies were blue and everything seemed so peaceful while I was in town.

I really loved the city. The people are friendly and happy. The diversity is great and there is so much to do. I believe this was my favorite city so far.

Off to the beach along with the rest of ya'll. I did not plan my visit to the Atlantic well. Stinking 3 day weekend. (Ha! Never thought I would say that!)

3 Comments:

Blogger chanuck said...

Great to see you posting again.

God I love New Orleans and miss it. I truly hope nothing like three years ago happens again. It keeps chasing the true New Orleaneans out.

8/31/2008 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Harmony said...

Reading this brought back a flood of memories for me. I loved it there too!!!! Glad you are not there now!!! :) love you lil Bug!!!

9/02/2008 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Penny Karma said...

Wow, those post-Katrina pictures were really amazing.

11/11/2008 12:39:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home