Archive for October, 2007

Leaving New Orleans


I insist on eating breakfast at the croissant shop across the street before we leave.  A couple of chocolate croissants and an orangina to go.  We get on the road and I feel just as yucky as I did the night before.  G tells me I look like crap, and now we have the entire empty van, so I sleep on the back bench for a while as she drives.  I feel better after lunch and the drive is pretty much unremarkable after that.


It's good to be back home.  Even though I miss Luke a lot, it was nice to see my kids again.  Rose sure was happy when I picked her up.  She pretty much held my hand for the next 48 hours.  Dillon read both books I brought home for them, and ate the madelines from the bakery… 

New Orleans Trip Day 4


My disappointment in not having stayed out all night last night evaporates when my phone rings at 6:15 am.  My consulting job intrudes, someone thought they were going to leave me a message and were surprised when I actually answered.  I stay up and take some pictures of the sunrise.  It's my last day here and I don't want to miss anything…

After a wonderful breakfast at a croissant shop across the street from the hotel, we walk to the D-Day Museum, which is a pretty decent hike.  I am surprised at how much I actually truly love this museum.  All of the docents are WWII Veterans, and they have an amazing wealth of experience and perspective.  I feel like I learn more in one day than in years of history classes. Parts of it are definitely sad, I sort of hate looking at all of the artillery, at how many ways humans have figured out how to kill each other.  But there are some really amazing stories as well, I attend a lunchtime presentation on the North Platte Canteen, and am moved to tears. 

Luke's planning on cooking me dinner after his class tonight, so I eat a quarter of a muffaletta sandwich that, in retrospect, may have included a little salmonella on the side…  Then we take an evening "Haunted History Tour of the French Quarter" (as seen on CNN, Sci-Fi and the History Channel!)   I like the history, not sure how I feel about the hauntings, though G is convinced our hotel room is haunted.

When Luke picks me up later to make some of his famous burgers, I am already feeling kind of sick to my stomach…  I hang with Luke's Teach NOLA crew, and one of them asks if I have eaten anywhere in New Orleans that day, he has pretty much heard of people getting food poisoning from everywhere.   I eat half of a burger, which hurts Luke's pride and feelings, though it was in fact good, I just couldn't eat much.  We hang out, I ambush Luke and Jackie to take a picture to bring back home per my mom's instructions.  When Luke drives me back to the hotel I get kinda choked up to leave again… Wish I could stay another day, really, but it's not entirely up to me. 

New Orleans Trip Day 3


Luke is back at work today so I spend the day mostly shopping around the French Quarter.  We get together with Luke and Jackie for drinks at this hotel called 'the Columns' which is this amazing old mansion with probably 25 or 30-foot ceilings.  Gerise gets a mint julep, which none of us have really tried before (though I am a huge mojito fan) but it looks like algae-infused lake water, so despite it tasting pretty good, no one else wants one.  We sit outside and enjoy a beautiful night, but eventually the mosquitoes chase us into the building.

For dinner we go to a Mediterranean restaurant called "Byblos" and the food is excellent.  I love to eat in New Orleans, everything we've had is really wonderful.  We drop Gerise at the hotel and hang out at Luke's for a bit…  Then Luke drops Jackie and I off at the Maple Leaf to see this amazing band play.  I pretty much loved the Rebirth Brass Band from the moment they played their first notes, which happened to be "I'll Fly Away", dedicated to a founding member who had recently passed.  I called Charles halfway through the song, it was way too loud to even pretend to speak to him but I just let him listen to the music via my cell phone.  We both love that song.  

I love the band enough to make up for the fact that there are literally roaches on the walls of the club (just tiny ones, by New Orleans standards) and the fact that they go on about an hour late…  But I really wish I could be down here for this music all the time.  It is truly an amazing experience.  I get back to the hotel about 1am, my ears still ringing, but somewhat disappointed that I didn't stay for the second set… 

Day 2


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'…