September 5-10 --- New Orleans, the last stop on our journey across the country before meeting our Peace Corps group! The drive from Atlanta to New Orleans was really, really long, especially because of the torrential rain. We witnessed one car slide across four lanes of traffic into a ditch, disappearing for a moment before it surfaced, fortunately on all four wheels. Carol called 911 and when the dispatcher asked what color the car was, Carol thought it was red or blue, John thought it was black. So much for eye witness accounts.
We spent awesome, warm days with Nelsie, Walter, Arthur (age 4) and Ben (age 2). And when we say spent days with them we mean it; our room was right in the center of home life. Being awakened by kisses from two grandsons, it doesn't get better than that!
All of the Sterns are all in school, what an academic family! Arthur and Walter biked off every morning before we were quite ready to engage; we took Ben to school, and while Nelsie was in classes one day, we did errands and projects around their house. The yard is ever more lush, which meant John had a chance to be a gardener once again.
Arthur has a bike with training wheels, so Ben and Bop Bop (John) went off to find a two-wheel, no pedal vehicle - called a Ka Zam. Ben was a little reticent at first, but after we left, not only did he take to the wheels, but Arthur decided to have the training wheels taken off his two wheeler, and away they went!
Ben's maiden journey on his new Ka Zam
September 8 was the Saints' opening game, almost like a holiday. All of New Orleans was riveted to the television! Earlier in the day, it seems that every boy and girl in the city wore Saints' tee shirts or paraphenalia to school. Sad for Crescent City to see the Green Bay Packers win, but there is always the next game. Never forget:
During our visit, Walter was honored to deliver a lecture at the Louisiana State Historical Society. He is researching first-hand accounts of the history of integration in the New Orleans Public Schools --- a fascinating, complicated, and altogether important subject. There is so much to be learned about the accomplishments and the failures during the Civil Rights Era that applies to the increasing diversity in our country in 2011. How important that we remember this today.
Saying goodbye was difficult, but no better way to do it than have breakfast at the Laurel Street Bakery across the street from Nelsie and Walter's home.
Nelsie, John, Arthur (a/k/a Hercules),
Carol, Walter and Ben
We left New Orleans with huge overage of luggage and an even larger collection of amazing and wonderful experiences in this family and friends odyssey.
|If you could actually see all our luggage you'd understand|
why our overage fees were more than our plane tickets.