We had a nice drive to New Orleans, choosing a southern route through Bayou country. We had thought we would see evidence of Hurricane Katrina but there was very little. That changed when we entered New Orleans as abandoned and damaged buildings began to come into view. We were going to the place I had booked on www.vrbo.com, a great site for finding good accommodation at a reasonable price. My directions from Microsoft Streets and Trips combined with missing street signs (Katrina?) got us immediately lost in a devastated ghetto area. I phoned our host, Glenn, for directions and he guided us in.
We pulled up to the front gate, which was open so I pulled into the yard. Unfortunately, the gate was an overhead style and I had forgotten about Big Blue's rooftop carrier....KRANG!!!! Luckily, I stopped as soon as I heard the noise. The carrier was caved in but, after unloading and removing it, we were able to punch it back out for a speedy repair. The paint scraping from the gate, however, will take a little work to remove...and they look a little bit like cool racing stripes anyway.
Glenn's house is divided into 5 apartments of varying layouts. We took a tour of the three units Glenn had to offer and selected the biggest one because it had 2 full bathrooms; and it was the most expensive at $115 a night. The house is quite old and Glenn has done a beautiful job of renovating it. The property is large as well and has many palm trees and tropical shrubs. It survived the hurricane relatively unscathed, however, a couple of other buildings on the property were heavily damaged, as were many others in the neighbourhood.
The downside to our stay was that the house is on the border of a very "not-so-nice" (i.e. high crime) area. On our tour of the units, I had to reassure Brenda that it would be OK, even though I wasn't fully confident in doing so. I was thankful to have the gated parking for peace of mind. We moved in our stuff, Brenda put a load of laundry in and we headed off for groceries. Brenda made us a fabulous pasta dinner and we called it an early night to save ourselves for Katie's arrival on Saturday.
A great thing about our location on Pauger Street is that it is only 3 blocks to the French Quarter; in fact it runs right into Bourbon Street. Penny had told us about a blues/jazz singer, Marva Wright, who Don had seen perform and really loved. We found that she was playing in the evening at the Ritz Carlton on Canal Street so we decided to walk there through the Quarter to check it out. We found the venue but, unfortunately, her performance dates and times didn't line up with our short stay in New Orleans.
Along Canal Street we saw a group of sniggering young gay men taking pictures and Brenda noticed what they found so funny. They were standing on the corner where the street names were imbedded in the sidewalk and they were taking a picture with their foot over the "C" in Canal...teehee!
We walked down to Decatur Street and found a nice restaurant where we had lunch on their balcony above the street. Our waiter, Adrian, served us a nice lunch and we learned he had worked out of Vancouver on the Alaskan cruises. He was very friendly and invited us back for dinner that night with Katie.
We returned home and drove to the airport to pick Katie up at 5:30pm. We had a loud and cheerful reunion as she walked out of the gate. It was so great to see her after 3 months and we noticed right away that she had lost significant weight; not at her target yet, but getting close. We need to thank Kris for her ride to the airport and the fun CD of Lily pictures and movies.
We returned to Pauger Street where Katie fell in love with her loft accommodation in the old house; she said it was the "fort" she always wanted. We had cocktails and opened the mail Katie had brought us before heading out to Bourbon Street and more cocktails. It was 7:00pm by now and things were starting to rock in the Quarter with drunken debauchery all around (not us, yet). They say if you can't buy it on Bourbon Street, you can't buy it anywhere, and I believe it.
We walked on to Adrian's restaurant (I don't remember the name of it) and had a fantastic dinner. Adrian was smitten with Katie, to the point of giving her his phone number and a big kiss. He tried to set up a date with her but it would be tough with his working hours and our short stay. We got home by taxi (you don't want walk in our neighbourhood after dark) by 11:00pm, starting to feel our alcohol buzz. It had been a great start to our week with our darling.