A tourist in my own town – New Orleans

About a week ago I had my semi-annual check-up at Ochsner Hospital. They have recently switched over from pounds to (is it) kilograms. Can I mention just how much I HATE this system? Just get it over with. Tell me I weigh way too much. Don’t make me convert that lovely LITTLE number into a BIG number on the chart above the scale.

I had my blood work done a couple of weeks prior to my appointment – seven (yes 7) vials of blood were drawn – and I wonder why I resembled a vampire when I walked out! I ended up having another vial drawn yesterday and a shot. I was really BAD sick in December and ever since I’ve had one thing or another due to my immune system being compromised. The doctor suggested getting a tetanus shot since I hadn’t had one in a long time and it helps to boost the immune system. I don’t remember the details of the blood test, but when the results come back I may need to get a vaccine that they give to children and adults 65 and older that helps boost the immune system. I realized I’m giving you a whole lot of nothing information, but unless I write all the terms down, it is too much information to retain. The doctor and I discussed everything and I was comfortable with the information and know that I now need to wait for the test results before either taking the shot or not. The results will determine the outcome so the information was processed, decision made, and forgotten.

Hubby was working and I didn’t feel I needed him to accompany me so I asked a friend to make the drive with me. She is an older woman and so kind and sweet. She’s made several trips into the city with me and we make a day of it by going to lunch. Yesterday, we added an excursion to the trip. She is originally from New Orleans, born and raised, and knows her way around so it was really fun to just drive through some of the old neighborhoods and not worry about getting lost. Well, so I thought.

Our original plan was to take I-10 to City Park exit. We were traveling down Clearview to I-10 and she says, “You are missing the exit!” I was a little confused and thought I must have missed the I-10 part. Turns out it was the Earhart Expressway. I was freaking out a little because I haven’t heard anything good about this area. In fact, I had always been told to never take Earhart. My friend is really sweet and she kept reminding me of the speed limit. I guess I do tend to follow the flow, make the flow – you get the picture. I’m a little bit of a speed demon. This was one time when I told her the speed limit was 55 but I was going faster so the bullets wouldn’t get us. I’ve only heard bad stories so what else was I supposed to think!

We made it safely to S. Claiborne I think. It may have been N. Carollton Avenue. That’s it! Carollton and then to City Park. It was an adventure after all. You see some strange sites while waiting for traffic lights to change.

We drove to City Park and rode around a little. It turns out she has a wonderful connection to this beautiful park (that had once sat under 6-10 feet of water following Katrina). Her great-grandfather was a horticulturist and saw how deplorable the park had become. He attempted to rally the city council into bringing the park back to its former glory with no success. He then solicited several businessmen and he began the restoration process, eventually garnering support from the city council. The park has grown by leaps and bounds, but at the entrance to Storyland, there is an old oak tree named the “Anseman Oak Tree” and a street named “Anseman”. What a wonderful legacy to leave your family. I was so excited that she shared this with me.

From City Park, we made our way to the Lake Front (Ponchartrain Lake). I hadn’t been there since high school. We’ll just say, it’s been a while and leave it at that. I used to go the lakefront and sit on the seawall with my cousin. I loved looking at the lake and listening to the water as the waves broke along the concrete steps. There was once an amusement park on the lake as well. I rode my first rollercoaster there. I still remember the exhilaration of the first ride. Maybe it was also the guy who encouraged me to ride it with him. He was kinda cute!

The lake was beautiful and filled with sailboats. The breakfront was filled with families enjoying picnics.

On the way to the lakefront, it was amazing to drive down streets and through neighborhoods that had suffered water infiltration during the levee break following Hurricane Katrina. Mary Lynn never tired of me constantly exclaiming, “There was really 10 feet of water here? Right here!? Where we are driving?!” I may have wanted to bat me over the head for saying it so many times, but it truly was incomprehensible. Like everyone else, I was glued to my television set watching the water inundate the city that sits a mere sixty miles to the east of where I live. Streets that I had driven on and visited people were filled with water. It is not until you sit there in the middle of the street and look at the houses on either side of you that the magnitude of what happened and the amount of water that disbursed hits you.

As we were exiting Old Metairie, it began to storm; complete with lightening and thunder and at one point on Airline Highway, it was raining and blowing so hard the rain was going sideways. It’s not often that I can feel the elements in my truck so it was a little intimidating. That type of weather spawns tornados. We did get home without incident – probably because Mary Lynn kept mentioning my speed (both ways!) That was a new experience for me. Hubby is a retired State Trooper so you can only imagine how intimidating it is to drive with him as a passenger. I feel like he’s going to pull out the ticket book at any minute and tell me to pull over and then read me a list of my violations!

I really do not drive that much over the speed limit; no more than anyone else. Again, I am married to a cop. I know the leeway. I also have a heavy foot but I still manage to keep it within 8 miles of the speed limit on the open road. (I also know most of the places where the police hide.) And, I remember an important piece of advice from Hubby – it doesn’t matter what speed you are going, just be aware of the speed and how long it takes you to react and your vehicle to react. Just know your speed. He said he had stopped numerous people (25 years worth) who responded they didn’t know how fast they were going when asked. That is dangerous. (Public Service Announcement over.)

All in all, it was a very nice guided trip around the city as well as educational. I can’t think of a better friend to have shared the day with. I am looking forward to our next adventure!