Just uploadind some pics on Fickr of our trip to N.O.! Unfortunately, I didn't go crazy. We drove 2 cars, the kids and I in one and R and A in the other (with some interesting cargo -- if ya want to know you gotta call me because this story is too long to blog...) It was sad in a way because she had really gotten to know the kids while she was here -- you know the stuff that you don't get to know when you're in a condo on the beach. But there was a lot of singing in our car as we headed south.
We stayed in Metairie. My poor SIL's kitchen is still not finished and they are all still living on the second floor. Uptown looked OK by April, tho it was still really weird. We took the kids to the zoo and most of the animals were out/back. They changed the camp in the La. exhibit to include an old fridge and a blue roof. Walking through the zoo was different. Nagin may be an idiot with his chocolate city comments, but it was a different place. Lots of vanilla!! Not really N.O. The street cars are still not running on St. Charles and most of the university area had flooding. But the fraternity houses on Broadway were up and running! C and S were impressed by the volcano in front of the ZBT house.
The trip was very stressful, and not something I want to publish on a public blog but just let it be known that some of it was loud and furious. And you don't EVER want to leave your house unattended for 7 months in a city that flooded. Even if you are a fastidious housekeeper. The critters ate everything they could get to and had quite a party doing so! Add to that a fridge that sat with dried maggots in it for 7 months (BIG thanks to SIL for doing the initial food/maggot toss -- too bad she couldn't just toss the fridge like every one else in the city) and you have a small picture of our spring break vacation!
We were obviously busy with initial clean up and did not get around much but the kids did get out to the lakefront with their great aunt and C tooks some great shots of the yacht club and Lake Ponchartrain (I'll try to get those on Flickr too). In Metairie, out off Transcontinental, where the flooding was minimal (2-5 inches that came in and stayed when the pumps failed) the effects of Katrina were obvious. EVERY house has a trailer and a POD in the front lawn. You know when I heard that FEMA provided trailers (hey we were offered one for A here) I thought they would all be alike -- some sort of government perfect white box. NO.... it is any trailer they could get their hands on. My BIL's next door neighbor has a hump back trailer off a pickup. Lovely! The streets are still lined with them 7 months later -- and these were houses that had just a little damage in comparison to those washed off their foundations.
By the time we were there things were trying to stive for normalcy. Most high schools had cleaned up and had classes, a few were still sharing facilities (co-ed finally!!) The lakefront and St. Bernard, NO East forget about it. As we were leaving to head home we decided to to a final search for that illustrious N.O. delicacy (at least in our house) Barqs in a bottle. Got on I-10 passed the French Quarter and headed out -- things look the same at 85 miles an hour you don't notice that the homes are all empty and any cars you might see look like little coffins --- they probably floated there. Rhett decided to pull off in NO East around Bullard Ave (someone once left me at a McDonald's there because they didn't like my driving...) I guess he just wasn't thinking. There is nothing there. Well, the old Schweggmen's has a building -- a shell... but that's it. It is a giant ghost town. No cars, no people, no nothing, just empty shells.
On the way home we stopped for gas in Biloxi and decided if we were that close that we should head down to Hwy 90 and see if there was more rebuilding in Missisippi. Sheilah and Rob lived in Ocean Springs for a few years and I really got to love the Gulf Coast there. Well, Bioxi looked like Beruit. There was a house across Hwy 90 that had a hole washed right through it-- gorgeous antebellum home. It was still there mind you, all around it were just foundation slabs. Big casinos with the 1st 2floors GONE. The bridge to Ocean Springs was washed out just like I-10 in Pensacola last year and over Lake Ponchatrain this year --except this one wasn't fixed yet. It looked like a toppled house of cards. (That reminds me -- driving over those temp bridge spans was very interesting!!) It looked like there was construction going on around the casinos. We never made it to Ocean Springs.
We did make it home though -- all SIX of us.