Archive for January, 2014

LA New Orleans

View of New Orleans from My Hotel Room

Some wishes do come true!  In my last blog entry, I wished I could work in a warmer place, like Florida.  Well, it wasn’t Florida, but I did get to spend the following rotation in Louisiana and Mississippi.  On my first day in New Orleans, the temperature was in the 80’s.

The 80’s didn’t last very long, though.  Soon the temps were in the 40’s — but still that was much warmer than when I was in Ohio.  A couple of days after arriving, I drove an hour west of New Orleans, and when I called the office to check-in for work, I received the news I would need to drive to Tupelo, Mississippi to work on a down site the next morning.  So I drove eight more hours as a cold front moved in.  I would be driving into some severe weather.

I drove up to Jackson, Mississippi on the first leg of my trip.  My GPS tried keeping me on a northerly drive, before turning east toward Tupelo.  About then, I began hearing about severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches for some counties in Mississippi.  I didn’t know my Mississippi counties from Shinola, but I remembered how the weather folks on TV had said a line of storms could develop, so I decided to go east from Jackson, then drive north from Meriden (or was it Meridian?).  Anyway — good choice.  I found myself driving through some pretty heavy rain, coming into Tupelo, but nothing severe.  If I’d kept going north from Jackson, I would have driven into the severe storms, where several tornadoes actually did form.  I don’t think I’d have had much fun dodging the tornadoes.

Anyway, I spent a day and a half in Tupelo (Elvis Presley’s hometown, by the way), then received word about a down site in Gulfport, Mississippi.  I started for Gulfport that afternoon, but stopped and spent the night in Jackson.  That night, the cold weather had arrived.  I had frost all over the car.

Ha ha!  I was headed for the gulf coast!  Though I had frost on the car when I started, the temperature in Gulfport was in the 40’s when I arrived.  I got the down site running again and hung around until it closed at 3pm.  This was Christmas Eve, and the pharmacy was closing earlier than usual.  After talking with the office, I found out they wanted me to drive back to New Orleans.  I’d volunteered to work over Christmas, since I didn’t have a real reason to take time off, to let the other techs spend the holiday with their families.  I’d flown into New Orleans, and the office wanted me back there if I’d need to fly to a down site somewhere else in the country.

But wait, if you’ve read my other blog Roam If U Want 2, you may remember I was born in Biloxi, Mississippi 52 years ago.  We left Biloxi when I was about 6 months old, and I’d never been back.  Biloxi was only minutes away from Gulfport.  I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out the place.  I drove down the street where we lived, Reynoir Street.  I’d known for some time the house we’d lived in had been torn down, when I didn’t see it on Google Earth, but being on the street made me feel closer to my mom, dead now since 1970, knowing she’d walked on the sidewalks and maybe attended the Catholic church a few blocks away.

Reynoir St, Biloxi, MS

Reynoir St, Biloxi, MS

Our house stood somewhere on that vacant stretch, which is now a parking lot for a casino.

After visiting Biloxi, I drove back to New Orleans.  That evening, I had trail mix and Diet Pepsi for dinner because the restaurants around my hotel were closed (Christmas Eve) and I didn’t feel like exploring for restaurants farther out.  While sitting in my hotel room, I enjoyed watching the A Christmas Story marathon on TBS.  I had the movie on all night, even while I slept.


Christmas morning arrived, and I checked in with the office (we provide 24×7 customer support, 365 days a year).  No down sites, so I checked with the store I’d been at when I was rerouted to Tupelo.  They were open, so I drove to Thibodaux, Louisiana to perform preventive maintenance on their robot.  I started getting hungry around 1:30pm, which was when another minor adventure took place.  I drove back and forth, looking for an open restaurant.  Life imitated art, as the only restaurant open was a Chinese restaurant, just like in A Christmas Story.  After finishing work that day, I drove back to my hotel near the New Orleans airport and got ready to fly home the next morning.

The next day, the day after Christmas, I’d expected madness at the airports and crowded flights with grumpy passengers, but the airports seemed a little quieter than usual, people actually showed good manners and the planes weren’t packed full.  I had two flights and spent a whole day traveling, but the experience was almost pleasant!