We arrived safely in New Orleans on a beautiful, sunny, 88-degree
day. We promptly unpacked the 50+ boxes, which caused the van to let
out a sigh of relief! Luke was grateful for all the supplies
and really couldn't believe how much stuff we had brought. He planned
on reaching out through a network of teachers to distribute the
supplies as quickly as possible and to get them where they are most
needed. Funny thing- Kate's box from Amazon (containing many books and a number of copies of the Hobbit) arrived just as we were unpacking the rest of everything.
After that bit of business was taken care of, having worked up a
great hunger, we went to lunch at a wonderful Soul Food restaurant
called "The Praline Connection." Fried pickles, fried chicken,
jambalaya, red beans & rice, mustard greens, and macaroni and
cheese… I have to say, my soul felt pretty darn good after that! (The jeans may have been complaining a bit, though.)
Turns out Luke has had a bad case of food poisoning from the weekend. As his assistant principal witnessed him being sick in the restroom at the school, he got to leave for the day and spend time with me! However, he looked pretty green after lunch, so I left him to an afternoon nap and Gerise and I walked around the French Quarter
and checked into the Hotel Villa Convento, reputed to be the famed
"House of the Rising Sun." We were going to stay at his house, but in typical Luke fashion, a friend of his got evicted and would be moving in with Luke today. So between that and the boxes of supplies and books… Thought a hotel might be a better bet.
Luke called a little later when he was feeling better and we all went out for drinks at Pat O'Brien's, apparently a New Orleans tradition/tourist trap. It was great getting to know Luke's girlfriend Jackie. (You can email me for the dirt, but basically she's beautiful, smart, ivy-league educated, and somehow my brother managed to trick her into dating him. She's even met some of Luke's friends and still likes him, so she's fabulous in my book!) Then we went for a piece of pizza on Bourbon Street and a couple more drinks at a dive bar. It was pretty great to hang out with Luke, we regaled Jackie with family stories and probably bored her to tears on occasion. Before we left, some drunk frat boy-types came over to give Jackie their number (despite the fact that Luke has his arm around her and is kissing her and stuff…) Apparently they get that all the time: "She's with him? Really?" It's kind of a Lloyd Dobbler effect, which I tried to explain to Luke, but he's too young and too much of a guy to have seen 'Say Anything'…