Friday, March 02, 2007

We arrived in New Orleans last Saturday morning. This was our first time back since Mardi Gras 2005, six months before Hurricane Katrina blew a hole in the levees and flooded the Crescent City. Looking back at my post about that trip, I get chills thinking about my comment that "New Orleans isn't changing (it never will--until a hurricane wipes it off the earth)."

I hoped the destruction wasn’t as bad as I feared, and that the rebuilding was going better than I had heard.

After checking into the Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue, we began walking towards downtown. It was eerily quiet, but it was also a Saturday and most businesses were closed.

The remnants of last week’s Mardi Gras celebration were scattered haphazardly about the streets. Beads here, empty cans there, an occasional purple, green, and gold boa. And, of course, the ever present aroma—just beneath the surface—of stale beer and urine. Ah, New Orleans!

At Poydras Street, our stomachs grumbled and led us to Mother’s. It was comforting to see a line of people snaking out the door of the legendary sandwich shop. After a twenty minute wait, I was scarfing down my Ralph (a Ferdi—roast beef, ham, debris, gravy, shredded cabbage, pickles, and creole mustard—with swiss cheese) while Nell enjoyed her shrimp po’ boy.

After lunch, we walked over to the Mardi Gras Marathon race expo, which was being held at the Intercontinental Hotel just down the street. Immediately, I was surprised how small the expo was. Only three rooms and a handful of vendors. In previously years, the expo had taken up a good chunk of the Superdome. Now, with less runners and support, it was a fraction of its former size. (I later learned that there were 1,184 marathoners at the race.)

I picked up my race packet and a new pair of sunglasses, and we waited for Kyu Chan to show up. After he had picked up his marathon goods, we caught a ride back to our hotel, where Nell and I settled in for a nice afternoon nap.

An hour or so later, we walked over to Magazine Street and grabbed some coffee at CC’s. Dave, who had driven in from Atlanta to run the 1/2 marathon, joined us a bit later, and, along with Kyu Chan, the four of us grabbed a pre-race dinner at Semolina's Bistro Italia.
To be continued…


Just12Finish said...

Wow, that came up fast. Seems like yesterday when you did White Rock. Congrats on knocking out another marathon ... you're accumulating quite a collection there!

Farce Withers said...

Yep - too bad George Bush and the Repubs have their heads up their asses.

afuntanilla said...

congrats! awesome! also, i love MOTHERS. great place...can't wait to read the rest.


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