June 4, 2010

New Orleans Return

We drove into New Orleans a week ago with the usual nostalgia for friends, the city where we worked, and our favorite things to do here. There’s an almost welcome feel in the humid air. Vivid green grass surrounds the bayous and Audubon Park oaks. Bright morning yields to afternoon thunder, with sun reflecting on rising grey clouds on the horizon. Sometimes the whole sky darkens, with sudden lightning, gusty rain and thrashing trees! NO KCs House from Levee

It’s our third summer stay with K.C. & Kathi, at last in their new super-eco-friendly house next to the “repaired” London Ave. Canal. Since Katrina, every house in New Orleans, new and old, has a story. From FEMA trailer through design, sluggish government programs, red tape, construction,  nefarious contractors, multinational workers, delays and beer, at last it stands completed. We helped install furniture and more last summer. Whew! What  a lot of Ikea! The place looks super, construction trash gone, landscaping started. Tiny frogs in the garden climb to the upstairs porches. There’s a glimpse of our rig at the side.

It’s a cool house. Remind you of anything? Try this view of the front.  

Let’s move in closer. Try to ignore the cat boxes in front of the mural:







The yellow cross in the first picture is a clue. And the Plimsoll numbers on the blue wall above. OK, the yellow cross is a flag. Recognize it? (Answer at the end of the post.) The maritime theme suggests a steamship! The mast is Chuck’s work. He fixed it up and gave new life to a salvaged sailboat.

Kathi & K.C. are among many that wisely, I think, built raised homes, but they recently found out they don’t qualify for an elevation grant because they did not elevate their original house! Who would, after it was under water for weeks? It was yet another change in recovery programs rules, the sort of thing that’s plagued residents for five years. But they have a large yard! A program to reclaim the city enabled our friends to acquire the lot from a neighbor’s razed home to the right, and two lots to the left have been cleared, but not yet been developed.

NO Gotta Dance

There’s always something going on in New Orleans, and if there’s music, someone’s gonna dance! We’ve enjoyed a Christy and the Rascals performance in Slidell and Irish slow jams at Noel’s house. And good food!

DSC05905 DSC05904                DSC05907

A N’awlins favorite - Voodoo BBQ! They opened a first location in 2002 on Mardi Gras day along the St. Charles Ave. parade route, and have been expanding ever since. Meats are dry rubbed with local spices and slow smoked, as they say, to perfection. Sad to admit we picked up ours at WalMart in Harahan. With a side of gooey macaroni salad, and no regrets! Ooooeeee! That is fine stuff. Too bad I can’t smear some on the page and deliver it to y’all. But it’s gone!

This Times Grill catfish po-boy has SEVEN filets and sweet potato fries. 

I’ll mention that there are tensions here, too: Louisiana is the first state impacted by the BP oil spill, Katrina recovery is still in process, and hurricane season has begun. They expect a rough one.

P.S. It’s the Swedish flag. 


- Mexican Trailrunner said...

STOP IT! No more N'awlins food pics! 7 filets in one po'boy, sweet potato fries!!!! OMG. I can't take it.
This post needs a sound tract!
The house came out fabulously, what a good job. Wish I was there listening to that fiddler.
Waaaa, sweet potato fries, po'boys, waaaaaaaaa

C and G Taylor said...

Barb made me do it. And rain. We've got LOTS of rain.

Laurie said...

I went to NOLA for a quick trip in May and I am now back in Honduras. I loved being with friends and family. Thanks for the closeup of one of the new types of houses being built. One note: why summer in NOLA? Until yellow fever was brought under control in the early 1900s, the city was virtually deserted in summertime. And I think it should stay deserted between June-August. Beastly climate.

C and G Taylor said...

Laurie, you are SO right about the climate! It just happens that we love Mexico in the winter, yet must get a NOLA hit sometime during the year, and cannot always make it during spring and fall, the BEST time for festivals. We're not totally nuts,though - will be leaving this week!