I left Mobile, Al to head on to my next major stop, NOLA (New Orleans, La) to see my old friend Kate. Besides some breakdowns, the trek was pretty uneventful until outside of NOLA.
My approach of NOLA was mostly exciting and hectic. And not in a good way. As I started getting closer to NOLA, I started seeing signs of hurricane Katrina’s damage still evident. Upside down boats in the woods, partial houses on top of other houses, trash everywhere, boats with “do not salvage” painted on them. I stopped to shoot some video a little before I crossed the I-90 bridge into the city and noticed a white truck that kept passing me by. It started swerving towards where I was parked whenever it passed as well so it was kind of hard to ignore. Finally there was a 5 or so minute break where he didn’t come by so I put out some old boards with nails I found in front and behind my rig and got off the road to finish shooting my video and wait to see if my truck trap worked. Fortunately, the truck never came by again and I got my video so I rode on. Crossing the first set of bridges into NOLA wasn’t too bad but once I started on the Paris Road bridge, traffic got ugly. It was also starting to get dark and it was Mardi Gras so it made for a very dangerous crossing of the city. The whole way crossing the city to my friend Kate’s house, I was run off the road more than the previous 1,000 or so miles, yelled at, bottles thrown at, clipped once, almost t-boned multiple times in the same way when I took my big hit back home. I kept having flashbacks to getting hit and by the time I arrived at my friends house, I was totally frazzled and my nerves where shot.
It was great to see my old friend Kate who was doing her residency at a local hospital and had been living out here for a while. I spent most of my time in NOLA swapping out my broken engine on Kate’s front porch for a new one ,transferring between host and playing catch up on video editing and some other work.
I did go out one night and made it to Bourbon street for the Saturday Mardi Gras parade. Amazing colors, music, and parade floats but I should have left that area before midnight. My host and I were caught in the crazy ensuing madness of the dirtier side of festival, hardly able to move through the massive throngs of people until eventually it came to a total stand still. Someone had opened fire ahead of us and several people were shot. Fortunately, we were fine, just ready to get out of the crowd and get some rest. I had my helmet stolen (my own dumb fault for leaving it out in a super sticky finger town like New Orleans), the wheels stolen off of my trailer (tracked those down and got them back though), beer and maybe urine in my gas tank courtesy of some pleasant person strolling by my locked bike, and some other negative things that I don’t really want to talk about here.
I know I would probably have enjoyed the city if it weren’t Mardi Gras and while I try to look for the positive in every situation, this is one where I was done with the city and glad to leave. It was good seeing my wonderful friend Kate though. Now, on to Baton Rouge and Lafayette!