Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Down South

So its off to hurricane country I go. This is the first time I have been to my Mom's since Hurricane Katrina hit.
I started with a flight from Oakland to Houston Hobby. The gal in line with me to board the Southwest Flight is picking something out of her zip up sweatshirt. Nope..... She is afraid of flying, lucky me! She is picking out her fingernails. She peeled them all off while waiting for this flight. The rest of the flying to Houston is uneventful. Then I go from Houston to New Orleans. Sat next to a normal gal from Mendocino. I gave her a ride to the hotel she was staying at. That worked out because it was a few blocks away from where Shannon was and she was able to read the directions while I drove.

I met Shannon at his hotel and we went out for a nice dinner. The day before was actually our 6 month wedding anniversary so we made it a nice dinner. We went to G.W. Fins and had a nice dinner. He had told them it was our 6 month anniversary and they made us a personalized menu and brought us an anniversary "plate" and decorated the table with glitter. We went and gambled at Harrah's for a while and after traveling all day, that was all I was up for. This is what they give you now instead of coins when you win. (since hurricane hit)

Thursday we went and ventured in to the French Quarter and checked out Cafe du Monde for some Beignets and coffee. Shannon had never been to New Orleans and I had not been in a long time so it was a fun day to just wander and check out some things. Next time we will go on the tours. I want to go on a swamp tour! Alligators, yay. We checked out the touristy things like Jackson square, Bourbon street (of course) and actually had to pick up something for a co-worker so it gave us a mission. We had a great lunch at the Gumbo Shop and had Gumbo and Jambalaya. Yummmm. Later we headed to my moms house. We have to drive across that I-10 bridge and it got torn apart from the hurricane. It had just opened in January of this year. While driving we saw the HUGE cemetary. (Sorry Tami, I didn't go check it out. I will wait until you go with me and we can go on the Haunted tours and stuff) On the drive we saw a huge amount of hurricane damage before crossing the bridge. The pictures did not come out very good of this. (i was in the car) The houses were structures still standing, looked like houses, no doors or windows and just a mess. The water had just been pushed through. There were FEMA trailers through some of the neighborhoods. Some places are starting to rebuild, others have nothing to really come back to. It looks like a war zone.

My mom's house is coming together. There are only a few things that are left and noticable that there were any problems. (no pictures) Friday we spent the day with my Mom. She came up with a great idea that Shannon loved. We went to the Stennis Space Center. This is where NASA tests all the rocket engines. Its about 15 minutes from my mom's house. We saw pieces of the moon, huge rocket engines, rocket testing platforms and all sorts of stuff. If Shannon tells you, it would be more technical so that is the best I can do.

We also went to Silver Slipper Casino. We had lunch and gambled a little. Lunch was great and the gambling was.... not so good. This is a new casino that went up in the fall of 2006. It is labeled as Lakeshore MS. It is right on the Bay Saint Louis. This is an area that is basically wiped out from the hurricane. I was looking out in the bay after driving in the area and wondering how many washers and dryers and refridgerators were out in the water, amongst everything else. All that remains of these homes is the cement foundation. Its that way by my mom's also. Last time I was there she showed me the houses with the little airplanes in the yards and boats and such, over by the bay. This time there is a cement foundation and actually there are still clothes in the trees, flipped over boats in the trees and furniture. There is nothing to go back to and the Mississippi side is not getting covered by Insurance. Don't get me started on that, its another story. I didn't take pictures here as my mom was with me and we didn't stop. It is hard on her and actually really overwhelming to see.
Saturday we went back to New Orleans, just Shannon and I. We went to the Sculpture garden and then attempted to get into the Museum of modern art. On the way there, I noticed we were right by where one of the levee breaks were in New Orleans. (its marked on a map) So we went over to check it out. So here is the levee and the wall that has been rebuilt and the neighborhood.

Most the homes are just ruins and then right in the middle of all this would be someone rebuilding. It just blows me away to see it. I don't know how someone must feel mentally to come back and rebuild right in the middle of this.

The sculpture garden was kind of neat to see. The weather was just beautiful that day.

We tried to go the the Modern Art museum but it was a members only viewing and we didn't want to pay that fee to get in.

We did a driving tour through New Orleans next. Its marked on the map and takes you through the college/university areas (Tulane and Loyola (or something)) then through the Garden district and back to the French Quarter. We went back for more beignets and had more beignets and spicy cajun foods for lunch.

After that we went back to Diamondhead (where mom lives) took her and Randy for a nice dinner and that was it. Up early Sunday (5 am) to get to the airport. We had to go home since the kitties were missing us.

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