As I mentioned several weeks back, we spent a few days in New Orleans. Now, those of you who have managed to reach that Senior Citizen status will understand what I’m going to say. In the past, we’ve always sort of, kind of rested up for the trip. You know, we gather our strength for what we know will be many hectic days.
We didn’t have the chance this year. And as you’ll learn, that was fine with us.

My son from Alabama, Todd, had spent a couple weeks in Fort Worth painting his mother’s house. He called on Sunday, saying that he’d be in Port Neches on Monday.

Now we haven’t seen Todd in a few years, so naturally we were eager for him to arrive. And when he did, our daughters and their sons were here to meet him. For the next couple days, we sat around catching up on all that had taken place in the years since we’d seen him.

Those were two days we wouldn’t take a million dollars for.

As part of payment for painting the house, Todd received a Ford Taurus station wagon. I’m not sure the year, but he and I were both concerned that somewhere along the three hundred and fifty mile trek down here, he might have trouble.

We breathed easier when he rolled in Monday afternoon. No problems at all. We decided that we’d caravan to Baton Rouge Wednesday. That way, he’d only have a couple hundred miles on his own.

Fortunately he has friends in Alabama who could pick him up with a wrecker in case something did happen.

We parted at Baton Rouge. He headed east on I-12; we headed southeast on I-10, and as we waved, we experienced the same ache of pain all parents feel when one of their children is leaving despite how old the child is.

Now, New Orleans has a lot of construction going on. When we arrived, we ran into one dead-end after another. More than once, detour signs took us around in circles, but finally, we reached the hotel. I called Todd. He was just crossing over into Mississippi, and no problems.

After unpacking, we headed for the Riverwalk Mall where we bought the girls knickknacks, shirts for the grandsons, and fudge for us. (of course most of it went to the girls)

The hotel has a happy hour from five-thirty to seven. We were enjoying a cool libation when my phone rang. Todd had just pulled into his drive. It was about six o’clock.

The next three days were filled with the hustle-bustle of vacation, of frustration when plans went awry, of both of us fighting a sneaky cold that slipped up on us.

Believe me, it’s hard to have a good time while blowing your nose and sucking on foul-tasting throat lozenges.

The folks in New Orleans are working hard. We drove through the Ninth Ward on the way to one of our stops. Debris was out of the streets, but still in some yards. Several crumbling homes were being covered with those ubiquitous kudzu vines.

Folks still stood in small clusters along the streets, but their numbers were much smaller than those before the storm. We couldn’t help feeling sorry for some because they had grown up in that environment and knew nothing else. I have the feeling that some of them just don’t know what to do.

It makes sense to me that one reason the streets were not as full, the crowds not as thick, the restaurants not as packed is that those on welfare and entitlement often walked the streets, frequented the malls, and lounged in the parks.

Three quarters of them are gone. And they can’t return because there is no affordable housing for them.

The City That Care Forgot will rebuild, but don’t expect it to be an overnight affair.