Friday, October 31, 2008

halloween night wine blogging

st. michele winery

roated tofu & potatoes O'brien

jack o'lantern cookie

blueberry pie

finally finished the cognac i purchased at Schipol airport to finish off my euros (was actually a bit disappointed - my taste runs much more to Armagnac these days)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Orleans - three years on

Always nice to see some classic features of my hometown re-open. St. Charles streetcar of course now running its entire route and Chalmette Battlefield has also opened its gates again. Chalmette itself was surprisingly re-inhabited; given that St. Bernard parish has minimal defences against another stalled hurricane raising a storm surge in Lake Borgne, I'm surprised that so many would return. St. Bernard Highway seemed mostly back to normal and the Chalmette ferry to lower Algiers had a good amount of traffic for an early Monday afternoon.

My last trip home, i stayed mostly in the sliver by the river so did not get much sense of how the city was recovering. This time, I made a point of driving through both the 9th ward (upper & lower) and Gentilly. The montage below is Pratt Drive at ground zero - Robert E. Lee to Fillmore. It must be psychological, but the side near the flood wall breech had 1 inhabited house (right by Fillmore) while the opposite side of Pratt appeared to be at least half inhabited. If there is another breech, I cannot image one side of the street faring that much better than the other. Another oddity that I didn't understand is why the Robert E. Lee bridge across the London Avenue canal is closed while the Fillmore and Leon C Simon bridges have re-opened.

Beyond New Orleans
Not sure why, but I've never actually seen the mouth of the Mississippi, so we drove down to Venice to where highway 23 turns and becomes a small two lane road with no shoulder and swamp on both sides. We were the only car on the road - fair number of big rigs and SUV type vehicles - everyone else had enough sense not to try driving a car on a road that is several inches underwater. Finally at the turn for the harbor, there was enough space to reverse directions and head back. Was too anxious to take a photo which I really regret now, but we did stop for lunch at Ft. Jackson on the way back. They still mow the lawn, but don't allow visitors - not quite sure why since the brick wall and moat seemed appeared to be doing just fine.

In summary:

Chalmette battlefield has re-opened, but the Beauregard house has not.
The St. Charles streetcar has re-opened, but Six Flags New Orleans has not.
Camellia Grill has re-opened (and still serves fine chocolate freezes), but Ft. Jackson has not.
Lusher has re-opened but Jean Gordon has not, and
Franklin has re-opened but Kennedy will not.


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