I am combining these two days, because I combined them in my journal. Also because I was out of town all day yesterday and today, so the two issues dovetailed nicely.
“I woke up to much muggier weather yesterday, and rode the streetcar and walked to the French Market for breakfast, where I ate beignets at the Cafe du Monde (which, I understand, you aren’t allowed to leave New Orleans without doing).” They were hot, odd-shaped doughnuts drowning in powdered sugar and very tasty.
Then I spent the morning in the Cabildo on Jackson Square, which is a unit of the Louisiana History Museum, “and learned about Bienville and Iberville (who [my] mother has mentioned on numerous occasions but I was clueless about), among a lot of other Louisiana history. New Orleans [like Texas] has been under six flags. Spanish, French, Brit (for a very short time), its own (after it seceded but before joining the Confederacy), Confederate, and U.S., some more than once. A very interesting place in which to be born.”
At noon, I took a streetcar to the Garden District for a walking tour, thinking I’d grab a bite to eat when I got there. I ended up walking quite some distance before the tour even started, but the po’ boy (New Orleans’s version of a sub) sandwich I found was pretty darned good.
The first part of the walking tour was spent in one of New Orleans’s aboveground cemeteries. The water table there is so high that if you dig a hole it will fill with water, and the coffins float after a heavy rain. So they build these fancy little mausoleums:
The cemetery was interesting, but not why I’d taken the tour.
“I was expecting gardens in the Garden District, for some strange reason. The rest of the tour was mostly spent pointing out famous people’s houses (the lead singer of Nine Inch Nails, Anne Rice, Archie Manning) and places where movies (Cat People, Interview with a Vampire, Easy Rider, but not, to my disappointment, The Big Easy, the only New Orleans movie I’ve ever cared anything about) had been shot.
“There were a few (a very few — most houses had either just lawns or they had a jungle) gardens, but they were pretty incidental to the tour. Not what I was expecting at all. Towards the end of the tour it really started getting muggy (in spite of the tour guide’s insistence that it wasn’t — she obviously wouldn’t have known dry weather had it walked up and kicked her in the teeth)” and I was coming down with a migraine (the second of the trip). So I left the group a little over two hours into the tour and went back to the hostel to nurse myself.
11 years ago this morning I left New Orleans, still with a pounding head, and headed up to Baton Rouge. I arrived about the middle of the morning, found a motel, turned the air conditioning on high, and crashed for a few hours.
In the afternoon I went out to see the Louisiana State University
campus. My father graduated from LSU in, I want to say 1948, with a degree in petroleum engineering, so I was interested in trying to find things that might have been there when he was, which I didn’t have a whole lot of luck doing. He has his name on a plaque there, too, because once upon a time not long after he died, my sisters and I contributed to a scholarship in his name, but I couldn’t find it, either.
“Oh, and I happened to arrive on the day of the LSU/ Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) football game.” For Washingtonians, that’s like the Apple Cup. Or for Indianans, like the Indiana University/Purdue game (my grad school alma mater is IU, so my favorite team is IU and whoever beats Purdue). Anyway, it made getting around campus somewhat problematic.
So I gave up on finding anything on campus, went to the public library and did email, went back to the motel, and crashed again.
Migraines while traveling are, if possible, even worse than one when I’m at home.