What a Tuesday! Christy and I had no idea what we were in for when the alarm went off bright and early. Luckily our first stop included coffee...we needed it.
It was even a special kind of coffee, unique to New Orleans. Chickory coffee is famous for its unique flavor and yummy taste...although Christy and I decided that it's hard to name anything that tastes bad when a main ingredient is whole milk. Christy actually asked for skim but we promptly got a strange look and a firm 'no'. The drink just happened to perfectly compliment the beignets we devoured in record time. They are delicious fried dough pastries coated with powdered sugar...yum.
After breakfast we went back to the Kelly house to pick up Steve, who is Michael's sister's boyfriend. He is working on his PhD at Oxford, but as part of his coursework he spends six months out of the year in New Orleans, studying neighborhoods and community dynamics. After so much time practically embedded in the most historic and influential parts of the city, he has a unique perspective that served as the perfect framework for our whirlwind tour. Our next task: conquer the longest bridge in the world!! The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is a sight to behold. It's supported by more than 9,000 concrete pilings that guide the way to the city of New Orleans.
It took about 30 minutes to span the bridge before we headed Uptown. Michael, Steve, Christy and I had lunch at Joey K's on Magazine. Christy's family friend (yes, another one...they've got the South on lockdown), is a sophomore at Loyola so it was great to have her join us too! We tried to help her with a little life advice (I'm still not convinced that the German Shepard puppy is a good idea) and then had so much fun browsing the racks of vintage clothes in the Funky Monkey.
We said good-bye to Rachael and set off to take care of the next only-in-New-Orleans task on our list. I was skeptical when Michael first told us about snowballs. He described them as being just like sno-cones, which I have always liked but never found to be earth-shattering. Luckily though, snowballs are muchhhh better than any sno-cone I've ever had. Plus they provided some needed relief from the relentless heat.
Steve had to catch a flight back to D.C. so we dropped him off at the airport and made our way to the Lower 9th Ward. The area was made famous after being decimated by Hurricane Katrina. So many of those heartbreaking pictures of people stranded on rooftops happened here. And because of our Thelma & Louise connection, we were especially excited to see the area very much changed by Brad Pitt. To save time, here's a link to the project he started two years after Katrina, called 'Make It Right'. Once again, we had special context for our conversation--Michael's dad has actually been a resource for Pitt as he continues work on the project. He shared with us the alternate, not-so-positive opinion that spending $750,000 on a small number of homes may not actually be the best way to 'Make It Right'. This really hit home as we drove past the blocks filled with sparkling, state-of-the-art homes and back to the typical reality of neglected, barely livable structures...and watched as kids got off the school bus and walked right into them.
Part 2: We lighten things up with some Hurricanes and awesome jams....and a Windjammer for Michael, of course. :)
Above: Christy and I in front of one of the 'Make It Right' homes.
Left: A row of the more typical houses in the lower 9th.
Right: Album cover? Nahhhh...just enjoying some snowballs. Cute green and brown mouth, Michael!