The Flowmax Boys hit the Road

I visited The Big Easy for the first time on Thursday morning.

I may never be able to travel to The French Quarter of New Orleans ever again if the naysayers are right about hurricane Gustav.

The French Quarter is not pretty. It smells and it down right weird. I saw a guy walking down the street in broad daylight with nothing on but a jock strap. No one seemed to take notice.

There are the homeless, drunks, bars, jazz clubs, strips clubs, restaurants, prostitutes, tourists and thieves walking about this famous area. I saw it all in 24 hours in this town and even witnessed the theft along with the shop keeper chasing the thief while two cops stood by and laughed.

In spite of all of this it has its own charm.

After waking up at 2:00 AM to catch my flight we eventually arrived very early Thursday morning around 9:30 AM. We checked in our hotel Price Conti which is located just off of Bourbon Street.

We went out foraging for breakfast and found a place open near The Casino.

Local whites here speak with thick Cajun accents and the blacks remind me of a combination of a low country South Carolina accent mixed with a touch of Caribbean.

Blacks here still have a forceful African Influence from their customs, foods and beliefs that was reminiscent of blacks I have seen in St Croix.

I dinned on a crawfish and shrimp omelet with Louisiana hot sauce with a high pile of grits and biscuits. It was enough to feed 5.

We found most of the locals to be very friendly and all of the shops and restaurants were truly one of a kind.

During our stay we ate our fill of variations beans, rice, chicken, pork, crayfish, shrimp, sausages and hot sauce. The mainstay is starch and meat.

The following day we headed to Baton Rouge for the football game on Saturday.

Baton Rouge is a friendly and charming town without all the nasty of New Orleans. The foods and accents are the same, just the city is more “normal”.

In Baton Rouge they love their LSU Tiger Football team here but everyone was courteous and helpful even though we wore our Appalachian State garb. Locals went out of their way to make us feel at home.

The weather was stifling hot and humid beyond anything I had experienced with the approach of Gustav.

By now hurricane warnings were out and evacuation orders were given. Our ability to fly out of New Orleans was very doubtful. The game time was changed from 7PM to 4PM and finally 10 AM to avoid evacuation plan overlap.

And so it was that five 50 something idiots drove into a hurricane to see their college play the mighty LSU Tigers.

Our alumni tailgate began at 7:30 AM with you guess it, beans and rice and meat stuff with beer. It was all good. The event was supposed to be held inside in the cool AC but by now the Feds has seized the building for FEMA. Damn Yankees.

By game time it was dangerously hot with high humidly and no breeze to be found. I drank four liters of water and a paint bucket size Diet Coke during the game.

LSU clearly overpowered ASU and my Mountaineers fell in defeat.

At the end of the game we went back to the hotel and decided to get out of town while we could. We would drive all the way back to Charlotte since getting back to New Orleans airport was doubtful. They wanted us out of the hotel anyway because FEMA and the National Guard needed the rooms.

About 2 hours north the Flowmax boys decide to pee and get some road graze. We pulled in gas station to see masses of people loading up with gas, food and water. The lot was full and the shelves were empting quickly.

The interstate was very crowded but moved at a steady pace of about 45 MPH. We began seeing a lot of old broken down cars alone the way. I don’t think most of those old cars had seen an interstate in years.

We overnighted in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home to the Crimson Tide. The next morning we stopped by the Bear Bryant museum to pay our respects to this great coach and headed east to Charlotte.

Finally yesterday we rolled in around 5 PM safe and sound.

It was an exciting trip. I had never visited Louisiana or driven through Mississippi. It was neat to finally see the Mississippi river and to eat real Cajun food. The “normal” people were nice.


Kuckie said...

Everyone I know who's been to N'awleans says that you have to experience it to believe I am not surprised. However, I DO still think you guys were crazy to head right into that storm!!!!

Ken said...

Sounds like you had a blast. It's looking like the naysayers were wrong about the storm. That's a good thing!

Anonymous said...

What an exciting trip! The food sounds delicious... not something you'd want to make a habit of eating, I'm sure.

I'm glad you got to see the sights, the game and that you made it home safely.