We left our soggy spot at Caswell Springs UMC in Moss Point, MS about 7:30 AM on Friday. There was a break in the rain so we decided to hitch up and go. We drove the Roadrunner over from the RV spaces to the big parking lot and hooked up. It was nice of our NOMADS friends to come over in the drizzle and say goodbye again with some hugs and handshakes.
Then we were off. It was an easy drive to the Louisiana border where we stopped at the Visitor Center. We talked with Gwen who was very helpful and gave us information, maps and brochures so that we could develop a plan for our add on trip to see New Orleans. We were originally planning to drive to Houston but ice storms made us think twice and we stayed away, not wanting to take that risk.
We found a decent campground in Slidell, LA. It is only 30 miles from New Orleans so we figured we would park the coach there and just drive the Honda in to New Orleans.
The campground lost 1500 trees in Katrina. The campsites were small but adequate.
We got set up and drove into New Orleans. Our plan was to find some lunch, see the World War II museum, and take a windshield tour of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. And that is what we did.
After lunch we walked around the building and went to the Victory Theater to see the Tom Hanks -produced-movie "Beyond All Boundaries". It is a 30 minute documentary and has footage of the war on two fronts: Europe and the Pacific. It notes that 65 million people died and is a very good history lesson.
On Saturday, we drove into New Orleans again and were a little early for our 11:00 A.M. bus tour.
My overall impression of the Ninth Ward and New Orleans is that it is up and running. The area is fully functional and not the devastation and hopelessness that I remember from the Katrina aftermath. I have a completely changed view of the area.
We saw evidence of the damage and can not fathom what actually happened. My imagination is not that big--. I expected a whole lot worse. I am sure there remains countless stories of people who were impacted and that will never get their lives or homes back. But I saw an area and a city that was vibrant, restored and back in business.
From the ninth ward, we went over to the northern end of New Orleans, past some canals and bayous and to an above ground cemetery. There are three more well know ones in town.
We drove by Lake Pontchartrain which is immense. We also saw a couple levees that had been repaired.
After our tour it continued to be a beautiful (but cool) day and we saw the famous Cafe Du Monde and the French Market and the Flea Market.