As usual, New Orleans did not disappoint. It was an intense visit on many levels.
We had driven about 2000 miles at the time we got off I-10, and within 10 minutes of driving on the city streets, our bike rack dropped a rivet on one side and the bikes were scraping the street. Thank god we were finally traveling at low speed!! That rivet must have been working its way loose ever since we left Tampa, and we never knew it. Andrew took one bike off to ride along with the car, wrapped the other one onto the remnants of the rack with some bungees, and we crept along the rest of the way to our crash pad. Luckily we were nearby and we actually knew where we were going. The next day we picked up some bolts at the local hardware store, and replaced the missing rivet. We also replaced the remaining rivet just in case it was on the way out too. Bike rack Ė better than ever!!
August in New Orleans was HOT. And we stayed with a friend who had no air conditioning, so we made sure to get ourselves totally beat so we could fall asleep when it was time for bed. I was so happy to be staying in one of those typical little old NOLA houses with the double French doors and heavy wooden shutters. COOL!!!
Also, our friend who so graciously put us up and gave us full run of the house (felt like it was home: internet, bathroom, set of keysÖ) was of course, NOT on vacation, but working very hard chasing down interviews and trying to produce a story between his day job and taking us out to see the sights. He did indeed take us around the French Quarter and Bywater areas of the city, and really gave us a detailed historical analysis of the socio-economic development (and fall) of the area. He also poured us some really good white port, which was a new one on me. Thanks, Christian! It was truly fascinating.
We actually spent 3 nights there, the longest weíve stayed in one place since we hit the road on Aug 1. I definitely appreciated the opportunity to slow down, catch up on emails and laundry, and not be on the move quite so fast! Plus I just love that town.
The car stayed parked the whole time we were there. We took down the bikes and rode them anywhere we needed to go, including from bar to bar a couple nights. Itís a great pace to see the details of the neighborhoods, you can park anywhere, and you wonít get a DUI! Plus in the peak heat of the day, riding a bike creates a much-needed breeze. Ahhhh!
The city is still in a state of inexcusable disrepair. The anniversary of the flood approaches (along with hurricane season) and folks still got no way to renovate their destroyed houses. Thereís rescue-graffiti still on most houses, though many are occupied again. Water quality is questionable, housing is scarce and expensive, grocery stores are hard to find. Except for the touristy areas, itís still hard to get stuff you need. Itís sad to see it remain like this so long. Seems to me when thereís a cataclysmic disaster that half destroys a city, the federal government ought to step in. What good are they if they donít do that?