Well, not anymore, but I was a few hours ago and it seemed appropriate given the last 24.
The last 24 hours started with the most ridiculous football game I’ve ever seen. That also turned out to be the most normal part of it.
We got onto an airport shuttle (kindly organized by Kalindra) that took us to Sea-Tac at 9pm. Our plane wasn’t supposed to leave until midnight, but being a little early wouldn’t hurt.
We found a fun place to drink.
As it turned out, our plane was 20 minutes late. No big deal.
As it turned out, our plane had a faulty starter and required an on-tarmac repair while we were already boarded. This was a big deal.
Two hours later we were finally taxiing to the runway. On the plus side, we were aided by a 130kt tailwind (hey, that’s what the pilot said) and still made it to Dallas/Ft. Worth in time to make our connection.
Our ride into Biloxi was a little bumpy. Our pilot did a good job avoiding the huge cumulonimbus clouds that covered the area.
The airport was closed due to weather about half an hour after we landed.
After a quick stop at our ultimate headquarters...
...we decided we were deliriously hungry and set out to find food. We settled on a little place I like to call “the greatest restaurant of all time.”
I met a nice local guy who ran a car dealership. He said that the town was starting to come back now, although things were still rough in some areas. His entire inventory had to be written off, but, he admitted somewhat sheepishly, business was pretty good in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. He wished us luck and thanked us for coming.
After plowing through some sort of “Ultimate Meal”, we returned to headquarters...
...to drop off our things and hopped in the vans for an afternoon trip to New Orleans.
I was stunned by the devastation that surrounded us in every direction.
Then we got to the bad part.
It’s hard to describe what it’s like. I can’t imagine a time when people lived there, even though it was less than 18 months ago. Row after row, block after block, mile after mile of destruction and chaos. It’s not only in a few concentrated areas. You could drive for hours and not see the same place twice.
But they all look the same.
When we were numb, we decided to revitalize ourselves by heading into the French Quarter.
It was simply impossible to comprehend the disparity between the two areas. The Lower 9th Ward was desolate, desperate, and looked like nothing had or could have lived there for years. The French Quarter was lusty and alive and looked like nothing bad could have happened for many lifetimes.
And they were five minutes from each other.
It turns out I love New Orleans. We stopped at Café Du Monde and I had a Beignet and a Café Au Lait.
We walked down Bourbon Street and I drank a Big Gulp-sized “Hurricane” drink.
We stopped at a gumbo restaurant and I ate seafood gumbo and alligator sausage (delicious).
That’s the part where I got drunk. And that’s the part where this story ends.
Tomorrow we start the real work.