Wednesday, 25 March 2015


I'm sitting in my hotel room, looking down Common Street in NOLA, looking towards the Mississippi River, a view blocked at the end of the road by Harrah's Casino, various other tall buildings, and the levee on the river, the last bastion holding the river within its banks, protecting a city set lower than the river itself, making it prone to flooding. This is what happened in Hurricane Katrina a decade ago. The levee failed downriver from here, flooding much of the city in the process.

It's a lazy kind of morning, the pre-noon hours gone in an indolence of snoozing, sleeping, lazing about. You would wonder, in a city as beautiful and lively as New Orleans, why I would spend the morning in bed when I could be out exploring. I think most of us already know the reason for my resting; I need the rest.

Within this laggard state, I have time to enjoy the sun streaming in through the windows, all the while refreshing myself with the breathing cool of the air conditioner beside my bed. There are clouds in the sky, over the river, down at the end of the street, moving quickly past, off to the north. The noise of traffic is almost stilled now that the morning rush hour is over. It's quiet, a listless kind of near somnolence. I will get going soon; for now, it's time to behave as shiftlessly as I can.

Yesterday was an exploration, after a four hour drive from Lake Charles. We picked up "cracklin's" along the way, a Cajun treat available at almost every store and gas station along I-10 as is slides its way across the bayous and swamps of southern Louisiana. This is Acadiana; Cajun country, peopled largely by those Adacians expelled from the Maritimes of Canada during what the Europeans call the Seven Years War, and what the Americans call the French and Indian Wars. The British controlled Canada; those French speaking people who would not swear allegiance to the British crown were expelled, heading south to French controlled Louisiana.

It is another of the many quirks of this city, besides the quirkiness of the river, that this land has passed from the Native Americans to the Spanish to the French to the Americans. In fact most of the buildings in the French Quarter were built by the Spaniards. The streets all had Spanish names before the French took over. Then there is Canal Street, the main street in NOLA, which acted as a dividing line between the French and American populations once the USA completed the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the streets on the French side having French names and the streets on the English side having English names.

There is a lot of history here. This afternoon we will explore some more of it, before having a Crawfish Dinner in the French Quarter. Then, tomorrow we are on the road again, to Alabama and Mississippi, with Florida to follow.


  1. I will begin to follow your journey as I start mine. A 38 yr old mother of a 1 yr old and 5 yr old....and ALS

    1. Hi Sarah

      This is the saddest message to receive. You are going to go through a lot of stuff. If you want to "talk", email me. If you want to cry, shout, scream, blurt or anything else, email me. Where do you live? I truly hope you have a supportive family around you. It makes all the difference in the world.