Hank – Bill and Erin kindly loaned their car to us so we could sight see in New Orleans. We parked in the French Quarter and walked around. I saw The Museum of Death and the Voodoo Museum on the map and thought they might be interesting. We went to the Museum of Death and couldn’t get in. The building was at its maximum capacity. Rather than wait outside we walked to a cafe for a cup of tea and a snack.
We went to the Voodoo Museum, which was interesting but somewhat disappointing thanks to a so-called tour guide who kept going off topic with things like children need to fear their parents in order to keep them on their best behavior. We did not return to the Museum of Death because we learned it’s mainly about serial killers.
Bourbon Street has a lot of construction going on. Street performers and artists were at the St Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square.
Later we drove around the Ninth Ward and St Bernard Parish so Kathy could revisit places from her days as a volunteer after Hurricane Katrina.
Kathy – We has a good day of sightseeing in NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana). I enjoyed walking around the French Quarter. Lots of restaurants, bars, and shops selling tourist trinkets. We saw a lot of beautiful art and sculptures around the area which was much more pleasing than the bar and shopping scene. Enjoyed listening to some jazz-blues mix of music while having tea and pastries during our time in the French Quarter too.
We thought the Death Museum was about different death cultures. It was at capacity when we arrived, but our plan was to see other things and come back. Once we learned from the locals that the Death Museum was focused on the different serial killers, we decided skip it. Looking forward to seeing the Funeral Museum (focuses in death cultures) in Houston, Texas when we get there in about ten days.
The Voodoo Museum was interesting. I don’t believe all this stuff, but I didn’t say anything to the passionate folks running the place because I didn’t want them to put any kind of voodoo spells or such on me. Not sure if I would do this one again. Many of the art and historical museums were closed today in observance of Martian Luther King Jr.’s birthday.
Jackson Square was hopping with many local artists and performers displaying their talents. And seeing St. Louis Cathedral is always a beautiful site.
We traveled down to the Ninth Ward, one of the worst areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath with a levy breaking in front of their neighborhood. St. Bernard’s Parrish is just down the road from the Ninth Ward and all the homes and businesses were lost there also due to massive rooftop flooding. These are the areas where I spent the majority of my volunteering hours at back in 2005.
I must say I was a little apprehensive about what I would see in these areas after what I saw as we pedaled along the Mississippi and Louisiana coastlines so far. Development and economic recovery did not seem to be moving very fast in those areas.
In the Ninth Ward there are still many empty overgrown lots where homes used to be, but there are many home that have been rebuilt there. Please know they still have a long way to go, but progress is being made. In St. Bernard’s Parrish I was astonished by just how much this neighborhood had recovered. It was such a pleasant surprise. Again, still many empty overgrown lots from homes and previous businesses but they are doing very well here.
We actually went into the newly built Walmart that is in the same location as the old one. The old Walmart was flooded to its rooftop and closed for business so after Katrina their massive parking lot was the main center of town where people went to get bottled water, food, clothing and cleaning supplies that were donated from around the country. The clinic (a few portable trailers) I worked in was not far from here. I also helped rebuild homes in this area six months after the storm.
It was a little surreal as we drove around these areas knowing that this massive disaster happened just 13 years ago and life is continuing to go on. I had really mixed feelings. Saddened that Hurricane Katrina happened to begin with. The loss of life, property (cars, houses and everything in them), jobs and all sense of what was normal ended for these folks in 2005. I witnessed the lasting psychology difficulties that they endured on my last volunteer trip to the area six months after Katrina. I wish these people all the best. The kind people of New Orleans always have a special place in my heart.
We picked up supplies for dinner and headed back to Erin and Bill’s place. As a token of our appreciation for all they have done for us, we made them a nice chicken pasta dinner, with fresh salad, garlic bread and a bottle of Washington red wine. We enjoyed a great dinner and many wonderful conversations throughout the evening with our newest friends before calling it a night. Overall, a really good day.
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