May 6, 2002
Next edition will be posted Monday, June 3, 2002
Over the Easter break, we packed up and flew to New Orleans, Louisiana, rented a van, went out to dinner to eat real Southern style cookin', and afterwards toured Bourbon Street and even managed to have a Beinget at Cafe Du Monde! The kids held up well but we did experience some culture shock.
I had never been to the South before and I couldn't even imagine how it might be. Our plane touched down and the weather didn't seem any different from what we had left in sunny California. The gal at Enterprise Car Rental was sweet as punkin' pie and she told us how to get to our hotel in the city of one way streets, and also mentioned the Cafe Du Monde.
We finally made it to a restaurant at about 9:00 PM and the kids were famished. We sat down in the "Non smoking" section which really meant that there simply was a fan in the room and the room itself was "not smoking" although the people in it were. And it was quite loud being Friday night. Our waiter approached, took our drink order, and informed us he would be right with us. Some thirty minutes and many games of tick-tack-toe later, he returned with our drinks and proceeded to take our order.
I was simply trying to order shrimp with the sauce on the side for our little ones but you would have thought I was ordering like "Sally" did in the movie "When Harry Met sally". Our waiter had the audacity to roll his eyes at me! No chit-chat like, "Where y'all from? The kids must be tired..." He just couldn't be put out doing us any special favors. It was new restaurant etiquette for me. Having paid my dues in the business, I wouldn't have dreamed of treating a paying customer so rudely unless I wanted to lose my job. Fortunately, this was not the norm for the rest of our dining experiences.
I looked at our little middle usually content boy. He was rubbing his eyes and looked miserable. I asked him how he felt and he blurted out, " I just wish everyone would shut up and stop smoking!!" Geez! We are spoiled Californians if I do care to say so. I told him to hush up and that he'd be fine after he had eaten something.
After dinner, we decided to take a walk and see if we could find the infamous Cafe Du Monde where they serve rectangular deep fried donut type things topped with mounds of powdered sugar. You know, just what you need after spicy shrimp cocktails, Hurricane alcoholic beverages, Crawfish Etouffe, and Hush Puppies which are deep fried corn meal balls, in case you were wondering. Actually, Cafe Du Monde was really recommended as a breakfast place, but since the gal at Enterprise mentioned it and our waiter mentioned it to us as a suggestion for dessert, ( see, he did warm up a bit) we decided to give it a go.
The place was packed at midnight with all sorts of people in costumes, families like us, and young college kids on spring break. We ate our "donuts" and meandered over to Bourbon Street.
What a wild town. Things were just starting to heat up. Bourbon Street was as bawdy as it has always been portrayed. Our ten year old son said to me, "Mom, when I grow up and bring my kids to New Orlean's, they're sure going to be surprised." I guess that was his way of letting us know that he was surprised.
The next morning, we checked out of our hotel and drove up to Vicksburg, Alabama and visited the huge battlefield there. It was way too depressing for me so I took a little nap in the van. Then we made the drive to Tallassee, Alabama to stay with our in-laws who have a son and a daughter who are close in age to ours. It was great to be spoiled rotten. We slept in and had delicious meals prepared for us. We all got to go fishing, rock hunting, and visiting. We even went to the Easter Sunday Services so everyone could get a close look at the different folks from California. I got to go antique shopping and visit the local mall which seemed empty compared to our malls. And the grand finale was a visit to the Dog Track my brother-in-law manages for some bonafide gambling.
After our visit, we stopped off at Bellingrath Gardens on our way back to New Orleans to spend the final two days of our vacation. We made the most of it. The first day we went out on the bayou on a high speed air boat, kind of like the boat Johnny Quest used in his adventures. We got to see real live alligators and different types of plants and even the site where Miraih Carey recently filmed her latest music video.
We got to enjoy great company and experience a whole different way of life.
What is a fool? Perhaps simply an undemanding mind which is satisfied with little. Could it be that the fool is really wise?
The wolf depends on the lamb, who depends on the grass.
Two dangers constantly threaten the world: order and disorder.
"Yes-Suh! Some Punkins" In Dixieland
That's what the caption on the top of this card reads. I bought it in an antique store in Alabama. Something about it captivated me.