Wow, what an experience.
We rolled into New Orleans around 11pm after a slow start in OKC. The drive was long, but the weather was perfect after all the Tornado drama. We pulled into the parking garage beside our hotel (located in an awesome part of the French Quarter on St. Ann. Opening the door was a bit of a slap in the face as far as heat/humidity are concerned. Check in was smooth and we were taken through a maze of a courtyard to our room.
Oh my Lord. Love.
The Place was beautiful. With a small pool, fountain with goldfish and big, green plants everywhere! I could’ve spent a whole week relaxing in the courtyard (in the cooler hours) and never left the hotel. We crashed pretty quick in the comfort of the chilled room. I think our hotel offered breakfast, but we ended up at Stanley for breakfast. Not a huge place, but super simple/delicious items on the menu. Much of Monday was spent in/out of shops, grabbing a bite to eat and shopping again. By 3pm we headed back to wait out the hottest part of the day and then hit the streets again around 7. We grabbed dinner and then headed to a bar called ‘Port of Call’ for a Monsoon. From there we found Bourbon St. and wandered a bit until we found a fun bar and parked there. Knowing we had to be out the door early, we started early and were back before mid-night.
Tuesday we hit the road by 8:30 and drove 30’ish miles to Jean Lafitte for an airboat adventure. Again, it was ridiculously hot/humid even by 9:30. We went out on a boat with about 12 people, plus our guide James. He was pretty funny and took us around, pointing stuff/alligators out. He got out and hand fed one named Vicky that he’s been working with ‘for years’. We moved on and were cruising along when suddenly we’re slowing and he’s asking me to get up (Cait and I were on either side of him). I jumped up and turn to see that there is smoke coming from the engine in the back.
The boat overheated.
So we sat. And waited.
It took about 30 minutes for the ‘rescue’ boat to come. James switched with us and the other guy towed the original boat back. We lost out on a good chunk of time, but James took us to this closed off area. He killed the motor and suddenly all these gators are swimming toward the boat (these gators know the sounds of the boats and come quick for treats). He’s feeding them and talking about size and suddenly goes…. “okay, who wants to touch one? I’m not suppose to let you, but I gotta make it up to you.” Cait and I nearly fell from the boat, we were so excited. Basically he brought them in close and then as they turned to swim along side the air-boat, we could reach down and pet behind their eyes. So cool. I touched a wild alligator. Life changing. Such a powerful creature.
Afterward we headed back to the hotel, grabbed lunch and hit up a few museums before retreating to the cool of our room for a few hours. The museum exhibit about hurricane Kartrina was so sad. And the huge screen playing clips from the storm with the added fans to have wind was a bit… off putting after the storm we’d been through. Pretty sad at how much damage was done, but also how everything was handled.
Dinner was at the gumbo shop and then we wandered a bit before heading home to get stuff ready for this morning. We were able to sleep in a bit (8:30), have a easy breakfast and then headed up toward Memphis by 10am. We made a new friend with the woman that helped bring our bags to the car. She talked a bit about her experience in Katrina and because of it, her family photos, deed to her house, etc are kept in her car. As much as I loved the city, I couldn’t live in fear like that.
We had a short drive today – only 6hours. The drive was fine until we were about 2 hours from Memphis. We hit a massive lightning storm with rain so hard that we couldn’t see more than 30 feet in front of us. We crawled along I-55 at 35-40mph for a bit before it let up. I pretty much just white-knuckled through and Cait sat perfectly still staring out ahead. Needless to say, we skipped ‘Eye of the Tiger’ on the playlist.
We hit Memphis around 5:15. It’s the same hotel that I’ve stayed at the previous two times I’ve been here. I absolutely love it. It’s right downtown, easy access to Beale, and major highways and I *know* the area. We grabbed dinner and drinks at the Kooky Kanuck and then wandered Beale for a bit before coming back to our hotel so Cait could pack her purchases (I’ve got to drop her at the airport at 5:30am). We were relaxing when suddenly we hear something outside. We weren’t sure what it was, so I jokingly commented that, with our luck, it was a tornado siren. Joke is on me, because the dark clouds rolled in with thunder/lightning and surprise (!!) it was a tornado siren. It only lasted maybe 20 minutes and the hotel staff said they weren’t concerned – we’d get a call to our room if we needed to hit the basement (plus side, we have a basement). Weather is supposed to be fine for tomorrow, but I can assure you that I’m pretty tired of this weather crap. Like, legit… I’m done.
Not sure what tomorrow holds, but I know it includes getting some more sleep once Cait is safely delivered to the airport. I’m exhaused.