Saturday, April 28, 2001

From Baton Rouge to New Orleans

Greetings from New Orleans, where we arrived yesterday for Jazz Fest. Which, of course, meant we flew in to Baton Rouge. It's pretty expensive to stay in New Orleans during Jazz Fest -- almost as much as Mardi Gras. But fortunately, we're staying gratis. Unfortunately, it's also not cheap to fly into New Orleans this weekend either, so we had to go with Baton Rouge. Also, unfortunately, we were priced out of my preferred airline, so we ended up on Delta. That wasn't so bad...the miles will transfer, but it did mean sitting in the back row. On the plus side, this is the first "1-stop" flight I can remember being on where they didn't announce a plane change.

After navigating the under-construction Baton Rogue airport, I got the car (Oldsmobile Alero -- thank you Avis Preferred) and it was off to enjoy the great state of Louisiana. We were hungry, so we looked in the guidebook for places to eat in downtown Baton Rouge. Unfortunately, the Avis map had us taking exit 1C off I-110 to get to downtown, and as far as we could tell, that exit didn't exist. So we were on I-10 and looking for places to eat near LSU.

Unfortunately, the maps we had didn't help us locate the place the book recommended near LSU, so after driving around and around the LSU camps (I had forgotten how poorly college students drive -- maybe it's just college students in the South -- they also don't make great pedestrians), we headed to our original destination downtown.

That would be Poor Boy Lloyd's, where we had (what else?) po' boys. I had a catfish po' boy, which I believe duplicated my only other meal in Louisiana -- when Ben & I drove across the country in '93. The food was great, and the very friendly and vaguely inefficient service reminded me I was back in the South.

Driving to New Orleans provided the sort of lush scenery you don't get in the Mid-Atlantic, along with a general feeling of swampiness. A couple of miles out of Baton Rogue, the car started beeping at me and I noticed a "low tire pressure" light on. Uh-oh. The car wasn't pulling to either side, but it wouldn't if I had a flat on a rear tire. So we went to the next exit and pulled into a gas station to check the tires.

There was no gauge either at the gas station or in the car, but the tires looked and felt full of air. Close enough. Hey, it's a rental car; I'll go out this morning and see if there are any flats.

We arrived at our hosts' at around 3:30 in the afternoon, chatted with them for a while, and then I was ready for a nap. After the nap, it was time for dinner, which featured crawfish. I don't think I've ever learned how to eat crawfish, but if you know how to eat crabs...well, I guess it doesn't entirely help, except for the general experience of breaking open your food to eat it. I did not get into the full Louisiana spirit of sucking the crawfish head, but hey, one step at a time.

After that, I was a bit too tired to head out and do anything -- getting up at 5:30 after a long week will do that to me, so it was off to bed to conserve my energy for today's trip to Jazz Fest.

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