The Great American Road Trip – Episode III
by Carolyn McLaughlin
We drove several hours into the heart of Jazz country and Creole culture. I knew we were there when I saw signs for Lafayette, and I knew we had arrived several hours later when we became a part of Bourbon Street.
New Orleans was hot and gruesome during the day but a breeze off the Mississippi came and went that cooled everything down. A little too much tourism in the shops but the streets illustrated a town with color, flavor, energy and events. The architecture, the trees, and a few characters wandering around reminded me of my home port – the Caribbean, with a Southern twist.
Some hustlers, but more street entertainers…like the painted mimes and children tap dancing with bottle caps on their shoes for the necessary sound effects. A “Yoga Rasta” got himself into a 15″ by 15″ square box. This was a tricky endeavour which proved to be quite a good show. He also touched his toes to his chin without bending his knees. Something I will never even try to accomplish.
The night life was a carnival of freaks, tourists in awe, and amused locals. Melissa and I couldn’t slow down. We lost Rob and Dan (again) in all the confusion and had a lot of fun talking to bartenders and dancers. Everyone had a story, with plenty of illustrations. I enjoyed listening, while Mel was busy getting drinks or taking pictures. We really abused our drinking privileges since 18 is the legal age in New Orleans, and my we were thirsty!
Overall, New Orleans was by far the best stop yet. From the House of Voodoo during our tour of the town that day to the bizarre reality of the action on Bourbon Street afterwards. We eventually caught up with the lads, and proceeded to live it up until last call. At three in the morning, we weren’t very concerned with more that the triumph of finding our car, parked miles away in a lot somewhere. We slept in the car in the lot in New Orleans. This would be the first of plenty of nights surrendering to the maroon interior and a floor cluttered with fast food containers. With only a few hours before daylight and the fact that we’d be on the road heading West soon, a room seemed unnecessary, and no one was in any shape to pitch a tent.
So there we slept. The next morning we woke and actually sat there for about 45 minutes writing postcards. When the heat of the day began to nudge us, we started out for Texas, land of the Lone Star. We were ready to delve into that beach desire, and Corpus Christi seemed to be the place. As we hit the waterfront boulevard and the bright sun shone on sculptures of dolphins and blue marlins that leaped from the grassy medians, we knew beaches were close at hand.
Next Week: Beach time in Corpus