Tag Archives: New Orleans

Memory Lane Road Trip~Part 1

13 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

 

Prolog

 

The emphasis of this trip was FAMILY.  I had contacted several cousins and was looking forward to seeing them on this trip.  One cousin, on my mother’s side, lives in Elgin, Texas near Austin. I had not seen him for almost 20 years, and I was hoping things would work out for us to have some time together.  Three other cousins, on my father’s side, live in the Arlington/Grand Prairie, Texas area located between Dallas and Fort Worth.  I had not seen any of them in almost 20 years either. Several other cousins, also on my father’s side, live in Many, Louisiana located south of Shreveport. I had not seen any of them in more than 50 years.  So as you can imagine, I was excited to get in contact with them again during this trip.

 

Day 1 – Tuesday 4/17/2018

 

It was a beautiful spring day when DiVoran drove me to the Orlando International Airport, to catch my Southwest Airlines flight to New Orleans, LA.  The non-stop flight was on time, smooth and the peanuts were fresh.

 

                       

After I picked up my rental car, the plan was to visit a couple museums in the downtown New Orleans area and then to have coffee and beignets at the well-known Café Du Monde across from Jackson Square.  Well, it had been almost a year since I had asked Greta (my Garmin) to find a museum for me, and I guess she was still on vacation.  I had asked Greta to take me to the Musee Conti Wax Museum.  The downtown area was a zoo, with traffic and pedestrians everywhere.  When we finally got to the Conti Street area, she said “You have arrived at your destination on the right.” I didn’t see a sign for the museum, so I went around the block, and this time she said “You have arrived at your destination on the left.”  Was she confused or was I the one who didn’t know my left from my right?

 

 

There was no place to park, which would allow me to walk the street and get a closer look at the buildings, so I gave up and headed for my next museum.  As it turned out, I had a similar problem trying to find the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. The shops in the downtown area are so small, close together and shaded, that it is hard to see many of the store signs from the street.

 

 

 

 Next I plugged in the address for the Jackson Barracks Museum, and Greta did not recognize the address.  When I called the museum on the phone to get directions, there was no answer.  After driving around for a while, I spotted an Enterprise Rent-A-Car office and stopped in to ask for a local map and directions. No one in that office had ever heard of the museum.  But a customer waiting for his car overheard my question and said he could tell me exactly how to get there. I followed his directions, the best I could, which ended up taking me another hour of driving around to “nowhere.” I was disappointed not to find this museum as it looks, from this Internet photo, like a very large and interesting museum.

 

 

I decided to give up on museums for today. Maybe I would have better luck tomorrow. Now I headed for Walmart to getmy necessary trip supplies. (I guess Greta is back on the job, since she took me right to the store).  I had received an email advertising Sonny’s Baby Back Ribs at half price (One day only) to help celebrate Tax Day (?). When I was finished shopping, and was exiting the store, a helpful employee looked up Sonny’s BBQ for me on his phone. To my dismay there are no Sonny’s BBQ restaurants in the New Orleans area. So now the hunt was on for another restaurant, to satisfy my desire for Baby Back Ribs. This turned out to be the Saltgrass Steak House, where their Baby Back Ribs were falling-off-the-bone delicious and their sweet potato fries were great too.

                                            

 

—–To Be Continued—–

Our Trip Across America-Part 3

24 Oct

Last week Bill and his family were getting all packed up to begin their trip across America. This week they begin their journey. Bill’s wife, DiVoran will be sharing  memories of her first trip to  the South.-ONISHA

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill

We headed North on I-95 to Jacksonville and then I-10 West through Tallahassee, Pensacola, Mobile and Biloxi to New Orleans.  We didn’t stop there on this trip, but told our kids all about our visit there when they were just 3 years and 18 months old.  How we cruised Bourbon Street and how we enjoyed the party atmosphere during our quick stop there.

DiVoran

Bill and I remember different things, so he asked me to put some things I recall into his stories.  He’s speaking of my first trip down south.  Being from the Southwest, where we had mountains and deserts, it was like a wonderland, especially all the trees, rivers, and lakes.  I’d never seen Spanish moss or Pathos vines with leaves bigger than a man’s head covering the trunks of many of the big trees.

Of course, this was the mid 60’s, in the south, which was a time of race riots, sit-ins, and bathrooms and drinking fountains that said, “Whites Only.” Even though it didn’t affect me personally, it was a bit unsettling.

We had been living in LA at the time of the Watts riots, but I was unaware of the way the everyday African-American was treated in public and in the homes of their employers.

One other thing that was so different, I hardly knew what to think, was when we asked about going down to the French Quarter to hear some music that night.  Our hostess, in the very large house where we were staying, told us if we’d put our eighteen month old and three-year old to bed before we went she’d see that they were taken care of. Then she asked kindly if it would scare them if they woke up and saw a black face leaning over them to tend them.

Of course, that would be one of her maids, who had probably tended her children when they were small. “Oh, no, I’m sure not”, I said.  I believed then, and I know now, that our kids are “color blind.”   However, it didn’t come to a trial so all was well, and we absolutely loved the Dixieland band we were privileged to hear that night.

To be continued……..

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