Trapped Inside the Song

We limped into New Orleans on a Sunday afternoon. I parked the bus in a camp site at Bayou Segnette, jumped in the car and we headed into the city. No one used the word “brakes”. It was a perfect day.

Somewhere on the drive in we’d crossed over the little line dividing the Gulf air from the lower edge of the jet stream1. On the other side of that line is warmth. So, despite being February, New Orleans was the only way it’s ever been in the eight times I’ve been here, as far as I can tell, the only way it ever is, the way it should be, the way it was meant to be: hot, humid, sweltering. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

walking the streets of new orleans photographed by luxagraf

Windows, New Orleans photographed by luxagraf

walking, new orleans photographed by luxagraf

This time around we hit some of our favorite spots, crepes in the French Market, swings and Storyland out at City Park, but we also spent more time in one of my favorite parts of New Orleans, Faubourg Treme.

crepes in the french market photographed by luxagraf
Crepes in the french market

City park, new orleans photographed by luxagraf

tomb of the unknown slave, faubourg treme photographed by luxagraf
Tomb of the unknown slave, Faubourg Treme

I ended up finding a good coffee shop to work at in the heart of Treme. It also served Sno-balls with an absurd amount of syrup on them, which kept the kids on a good sugar high while we wandered the streets.

blue tongue photographed by luxagraf

While I was working Corrinne and the kids went to the Children’s Museum, which they all said was the best they’ve ever been to. Good enough that they went back a couple of times.

children's museum, new orleans photographed by luxagraf children's museum, new orleans photographed by luxagraf children's museum, new orleans photographed by luxagraf children's museum, new orleans photographed by luxagraf children's museum, new orleans photographed by luxagraf
children's museum, new orleans photographed by Corrinne Gilbertson
Going native. | image by Corrinne Gilbertson

I’d be hard pressed to come up with a more kid-friendly city than New Orleans, but then I think our kids may be a bit unusual.

One day at the campground I was working and Corrinne took the kids to the little playground. There ended up being some other kids there and they were all playing together. I wasn’t there but apparently the parents were complaining about how dirty New Orleans was (homeless people! Poop on the street! The horror!) and one of the kids told Lilah she didn’t like New Orleans. Later, when they were walking back to the bus Lilah whispered to Corrinne, I just don’t think I could be friends with someone who doesn’t like New Orleans.

City park, new orleans photographed by luxagraf

carousel, city park, new orleans photographed by luxagraf
The world’s fastest carousel did not seem quite as fast this year. Maybe it’s just us.

City park, new orleans photographed by luxagraf

City park, new orleans photographed by luxagraf

While it would have been nice to ignore the brake situation completely, it did need to be dealt with. I got in touch with a shop that said they could do it and drove it over one morning. They got it apart and for the first time I saw the front shoes, and yep, we need new shoes, badly. Unfortunately the shoes are a bit of an oddity and the shop couldn’t get a shoe that fit. We ended up sleeping in the bus in the driveway of the shop with one tire off that night. Probably our oddest campsite thus far.

None photographed by luxagraf

In the end though, two different shoes were ordered and neither ended up fitting. The next day we limped back to the campground to wait on a third set that was on order, but wouldn’t get here for five days. That meant an extra few days in New Orleans, but we’ve certainly been stranded in far less interesting places. No one was complaining this time.

We spent more time hanging around the campground this time around. Sometimes it’s good to spend a few days doing nothing. I worked, the kids played, we cooked lots of blackend redfish, ate crawfish boudin, and waited out a rainstorm or two. Once I even tricked the kids into letting me take portraits of them.

Bayou Segnette photographed by luxagraf

playing at the bus photographed by luxagraf

grumpy boy photographed by luxagraf

rainy days photographed by luxagraf

Blackened Redfish photographed by luxagraf
No we didn’t catch it.
Nice Airstream photographed by luxagraf
No offense to anyone who owns an Airstream, but, while they’re cool, they’re a dime a dozen. This, however, was utterly remarkable. Far and away the best homemade camper I’ve seen, anywhere. The skill and attention to detail on this thing was amazing. Plus, he can climb mountains without ever thinking about it. Possibly the first rig I’ve been jealous of.

girl smiling photographed by luxagraf

None photographed by luxagraf

girl smiling photographed by luxagraf

At the end of five days of waiting… that shoe didn’t fit either. I eventually tracked down shoes for the front, but it’d be another five days to have them shipped down and that would mean missing out on our reservations at Fort Pickens. We decided that, if we stuck to the interstate and avoided the stop and go traffic, it’d be fine. I also had a list of shops in Pensacola that I was pretty sure could help us out.

After ten days in New Orleans we were ready to move on anyway. It’s a lovely city, it’d still be top of our list to move to if we were interested in living in a city. But we’re not. Right now we’re more interested in discovering what’s around the next corner.

  1. Not mentioned in my summary of our planning tools were a couple of weather-related websites. We use obsessively, or at least I do. Pretty sure my wife has better things to do with her life. But between that site and the University of Wisconsin’s various weather data you can get a pretty definitive understanding of why the weather is what it is where you are and where you need to go to improve it.