Greyhound, Katrina, and Gators

Trip Start Aug 05, 2006
Trip End Aug 19, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Thursday, August 17, 2006

When leaving Columbia I rode the Greyhound bus south to Baton Rouge. Riding the Greyhound bus is an experience in itself and one I recommend everyone try at least once if for no other reason than to learn how horribly inefficient and slow it is. Normally it takes about 12 hours to drive from Missouri to Baton Rouge but on the Greyhound the trip lasted nearly 34 hours and took me to cities like Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Houston.
After arriving in Baton Rouge at 2am Josh picked me up and we spent a day in Baton Rouge hanging out and partying. Then Josh and I decided to take a trip down to New Orleans and observe some of the damage that remained after hurricane Katrina hit the city last year. Even though it has been nearly a year since the disaster the damage New Orleans is still significant. Even though the hurricane itself caused a great deal of damage it was the subsequent flooding from several levee failures that was the source of the worse damage. Many houses and business have been gutted after water ruined everything in their interiors. Some areas still don't even have working traffic lights and I noticed coast guard helicopters circling some areas. The damage from the hurricane was obviously not limited to New Orleans either. As I travelled along the coast near Biloxi, Mississippi I observed many businesses close to the beach where all that remained was a sign post and cement slab where a fast food restaurant or gas station once stood. However, in many places there is new construction and the affected areas are starting to return to normal although it may be years before these places recover completely.
Also, while I was in Lousinna Josh, his friends Mike and Torri, and I visited Mike's aunt and uncle who own an alligator farm about an hours drive from Baton Rouge. Every year his uncle goes into the marshes and collects tens of thousands of alligator eggs and puts them in containers in his shed to incubate, hatch and then sell to companies like Gucci. We arrived around midnight and drank and talked until about 6am. Then we went to the shed and found some eggs that were ready to be hatched. When an alligator is ready or come out of its egg it will poke its snout out of the egg to breath. After that all you need to do it crack open the egg letting it out and cut a small umbilical cord attached to its stomach. Its hard to believe that these small creatures will grow up to 16 feet long when they reach adulthood. I am now in Tampa visiting another friend, Alex. Stay tuned for more updates soon.
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