Saturday, March 24, 2012

rivers and roads

If you're from Louisiana, or currently call it home, you might want to skip these next 2 paragraphs.

The state of Louisiana (at least the part along I-10) is one giant litter box filled with rusty 1984 Chrysler Lebaron's, burned down EZ-Cash stores and smoggy oil refineries. If I saw one smokestack today I saw 10,000.

90% of the state smells like a toxic mixture of swamp gas and rotten fish.  BUT, they did do at least one thing right.

I know this will sound strange coming from me, an Alabama fan, but you guys nailed it with Baton Rouge. I've been to most SEC campuses and so far, LSU's is my favorite.

I was taken aback with the prevalence and beauty of the Spanish-styled architecture. The campus was large, yet comfortable and the Live Oak lined streets gave the entire place the feel of a turn-of-the-century plantation. The campus was spotless, and walking up to Tiger Stadium felt like I was approaching a grand cathedral. You guys did good when you put together your Capitol.

Oh and New Orleans. You did pretty good with New Orleans too.  Although I feel like asking for forgiveness just from glancing at the Bourbon St. sign, I can't ignore how special the rest of the city is.

One of the first stops we made today was Chalmette National Historic Park. Here, we walked the battlefields where General Stonewall Jackson defended New Orleans against the British in one of the final and most decisive battles of the War of 1812.

Afterwards we headed into the city and stopped at Jackson Square for breakfast and a look at some local art.  We visited the New Orleans Jazz Historic Park in the French Quarter, visited a couple of local shops and headed out. We did swing by the Superdome on the way out of town which was already decorated for the Final 4.

Didn't do too much else today since we had a ways to drive. We did stop at a rest area in Grosse Tete that housed a live Bengal Tiger. And We stopped in Orange, Texas and took a walking tour of Blue Elbow Swamp.

As we were traveling west on I-10, we passed a couple of Bandidos bikers. If you've ever seen an episode of Gangland you'd know why I was terrified of even being within 20 feet of these guys.  It was a harrowing few minutes as we approached, then passed these nefarious characters. For the next 20 miles I obsessively stared  in my rearview mirror knowing without a doubt the Bandidos were coming to hunt me down for looking at them funny when we passed. I made eye contact with one of the guys and it was like staring into an endless pit of terror.

Maybe most of that last paragraph was just my delirious sleep deprived mind playing tricks on me. But we really did pass some Bandidos on the interstate.

We arrived in Houston around 6:00 PM well traveled and worn out.  It's 11:45 PM now, and after watching DVR'd NCAA tournament basketball, it's time for bed.  Although to be honest, I am a little worried about going to sleep you guys. I'm afraid the Bandidos will terrorize me in my dreams.

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