New Orleans, Louisiana
Happy Thanksgiving everybody! There is so very much to be grateful for.
When our dear friend Coy passed away a few weeks ago we knew that one of us needed to be there for his celebration of life. Although Coy and I were great friends when I was in high school, and have had wonderful times in the last many years, he and Bill got really close in recent visits, and I agree it's best that he be the one to go.
So I looked at our planned route to decide where I'd like to spend five days on my own - where there were things I wanted to do that Bill wasn't interested in.
New Orleans checks the most boxes, including having cheaper flights to Los Angeles than some of the other options. It means speeding up our travels through the southeast, but with the heat and humidity we figured that was just fine!
Wednesday morning we're still under cloudy skies when we pull out of Bay St Louis. It's an easy 100 mile drive on I-10 (so weird to think we could just keep driving on this highway and end up on the Pacific coast!).
I'm going to be on my own in a city with a less-than-stellar reputation so I choose not to stay in the parks in the middle of the city. As we get off the highway and navigate through the horrible potholes, alongside the railroad tracks, and past the dilapidated warehouses, I'm wondering what I've set myself up for! I already know I'm not going out after dark :-)
|What could go wrong?|
|A large industrial area with a very active train yard.|
|Inside the park is much nicer!|
|This beauty across from the park makes it feel much more New Orleans!|
Unbelievably, Coy's youngest sister has had a heart attack! Their brother Jimmy calls to tell me she's unconscious, and it doesn't look good. What? He also contacts Bill who hasn't boarded yet. I spend all day trying to wrap my head around this wonderful family facing so much tragedy.
|Coy and Darla - RIP my dear friends.|
I check out a bit of the city before heading home. Thursday night my Steelers have an outstanding game that cheers me up a bit.
|I love the character and color of the homes.|
|Originally the D-Day Museum, opened here because the Higgins Boats that landed at Normandy were built in New Orleans. (thanks Jim!)|
|One of two entrances, this is a popular place. Note the Higgins in the back.|
|A large exhibit on Bob Hope and the USO - what an impact they had!|
|Visual propaganda was prolific in the US.|
|I found the maps most helpful in understanding what was happening where and when.|
|The jungle environment is very dramatic with films projected on large canvas tarps strung between the trees.|
|Artifacts from multiple battles.|
|Limited staples available in US kitchens.|
|Newsreel footage among the "ruins" of Anzio.|
|Finalizing the Japanese surrender.|
|There are a lot of images that bring me to tears. The reality of the horrors humans inflicted on other humans is overwhelming. This flag made by hand by French teenagers, and given to the American troops who liberated their town, is very moving.|
|It's exhausting being adored all day.|
In California Bill and our friends gather to celebrate Coy's life and reminisce about all the crazy antics shared over the years.
|Nearly 200 people show up to say good-bye in the middle of the desert.|
|It's always good to see old friends - Mike, Patty, Rita and Stacy with Bill.|
|"Dude!" Bill's friends having fun with him. It's a long story.....|