From Island Retreat to Magazine Street

Trip Start Aug 19, 2006
Trip End Oct 30, 2006

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Saturday, August 26, 2006

From Island Retreat to Magazine Street

We spent a somewhat uneventful day holed up inside Bokeh at the Island Retreat RV Park, enjoying the A/C, a storm outside, and more brutal heat... Finally we sucked it up and headed for NOLA...

When I drove down here myself last November, I came into the area known as East New Orleans and was completely overwhelmed... I remember calling our friend Robert, in tears, saying, "It's horrible! Just horrible... I had NO idea it was this bad..." And one thing I remember more than anything was the dearth of live vegetation... miles and miles of dead grass, trees, bushes, flowers, everything was brown and salt-caked. And the silence - it was so loudly silent!! Not a bee's buzz, a mosquito's whine, or a cricket's chirp. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the capacity of nature's unleashed power. How silly of us, as a species, to think we could control, withstand, or ignore Mother Nature. Then, last February, we saw the first signs of new growth on what appeared to be dead trees, shoots of grass between piles of brick, and weeds... timidly encroaching on people's abandoned yards, along trash-strewn sidewalks, almost as if they viewed their lack of predators too good to be true.

As we approached NOLA via I-10 on this trip, I noticed several things - 1)All things man-made were in various stages of repair, but nothing man-made looked "new." 2) All things from nature were healthy, green and growing. It was amazing to see the power of nature in two extremes - the destruction and the growth. It was humbling, to say the least... but not as humbling as the amazing sunset we were treated to as we followed I-10 into the Crescent City... Every kind of cloud formation I've forgotten from Earth Science class in high school, moody and dark, silver-lined, and rays of God everywhere! Then, as we drove across Lake Pontchartrain, the sun reflected off the water in the most saturated shades of magenta, burnt sienna, fuschia, and blood orange. We were so wowed, I had to shoot it. What that means to you fine folks is that, the picture is not all that and a bag of chips, but it's funky...

So it's after dark and we pull into town and we don't really have a place to stay. I mean we do - Bokeh, but no ideal place to park her... We have several offers of driveways which means internet, bathroom access, but no a/c (due to the fact that we need 30amp access and with a direct to house hookup, we get 15amps); no availability at any RV park, or the possibility of parking at the ARNO Warehouse out in East Jesus, LA...

We decided to pull up into the lot at the old ARNO compound at Magazine and Felicity Streets, where I volunteered back in November... the neighborhood has changed a bit, some for the good and some for the bad... the lot is a very active drug dealing corner now, so that was a bit scary, especially since we had no electricity, thus no a/c, thus we had to leave the windows open and when I say it's hot and muggy down here - I know it isn't last September, but it's pretty darn sweltering nonetheless. Our lot mates, as it were, included a guy sleeping outside the building named Tommy and a guy living in the old compound behind the building with a generator and his dog.

We figured we just needed a place to catch some zzz's before having to get up for Chris' interview tomorrow morning... so we locked the door, and promptly fell asleep...
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