I woke up slightly after 4:00 this morning to start the trek to New Orleans. I was really tired. Cassie drove me to the airport and I checked in before 5:30. Tara was shortly behind, and then Jessica and Brooke came too.
There was some security breech right before we got there, so the line for security was excessively long. That's why they tell you to get there early, I guess. We were all not-yet-caffeinated zombies.
I got some much needed sleep on both segments of the flight. The travel was pretty uneventful - which is a good thing.
We arrived slightly after 4:00 pm. The heat was overwhelming. On CNN this morning, they said New Orleans would be about 99 degrees. Someone here said 101. Either way, it's HOT.
We all gathered and Iver and Spencer drove us to St. Vincent's, where we are staying for the week. It's an amazing building! It was built in 1866 - and originally was an orphanage. In the 1950's it became housing for unwed mothers.
On our packing list I noticed bathing suits. I thought that was odd, but turns out there's a pool here! That'll be a good way to beat the heat this week.
At 6:00 we had our volunteer orientation. We met everyone who's here for the week and the staffers that are here. We got a sense of what the week will be like - times we go to the work sites, etc.
We got the 411 on good food in the area - we're all really hungry! I had a croissant b'fast sandwich at Sea-tac and we split some nachos in Minneapolis. And I think I ate more than some of us on the trip.
We're in the Garden District near St. Charles and Magazine.
After our orientation, we headed to Voodoo - voted best bbq in New Orleans.
I had a "graveyard" of pulled pork and smoked sausage with a side of mac 'n' cheese (of course) and gris gris greens. It was all very good. I also had a Blue Moon.
We decided to leave the restaurant and head out to somewhere casual, where we could chat some more. We tried to go to Lucky's, but there was a bachelorette party (or something) going on there. Then we headed over to Whisky Dix on the Avenue.
(that's the owner of the bar, grooving to his own little tune. Whisky Dix is a new bar, since Katrina.)
And finally met up with other volunteers at Half Moon.
A few things to note: there are no open container laws in New Orleans. There are a lot of cockroaches this time of year. It is really hot in August here.
When watching Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke, they talk about how hot it was during the flooding. I can't imagine being trapped on a roof in this heat. Or sitting in the Superdome with thousands of others. Even as we enjoyed our food and drinks on our first night, these thoughts and conversations are always floating right under the surface.