KATRINA AND THE FRENCHMAN:
A JOURNAL FROM THE STREET
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Over the last six years, many people have told me
that my book Katrina and the Frenchman: A Journal from the Street
(KATF) had no real ending. I would answer, "Because it didn't
end." The pain continued and our New Orleans experience didn't
have closure. It's almost six years later, and we are now home
from our March Break trip to New Orleans. I'm happy to say we
left the city unharmed.
I will be making references to the KATF book, so
if you don't have one I suggest you buy one first. But now, just
as I took you through the pain, I will share our healing with
you over the following several pages...
March 14, 2011 - Travel day
We were seated in the last row, (lucky?) row 13
on the flight from Buffalo to Washington, which was absolutely
nauseating. Thankfully the stopover was long enough to allow us
to recover before the much nicer flight into Louisiana. We were
anxious, nervous, and excited. Would it be like our first, touristy
trip in 2003? How much has changed? Will we be able to get over
the pain enough to still have a good trip? Tommy’d had the
flu the week before and we dropped off a flu-sick Kaden at Grandma’s.
It was horrible leaving him like that, and we just hoped he would
feel better quickly. It was our first time away from the kids
for more than a night. We travelled light, one personal item (including
my massive purse) and one carry-on each. Not having to wait for
luggage when you land, or worrying where it'll end up is much
I took a picture for the kids. I wanted them to
see what it looked like above the clouds.
We took a cab to the hotel. (Note: If you have more
than two people the shuttle is cheaper, for two people it's the
same price and it's a direct route.) We didn’t know who
we’d see at the front desk. Part of us did, and part didn’t
want to see Chester.
He wasn’t there. We got checked in by a very
nice lady and went to our poolside room.
That's the pool on page 51 in KATF.
Double bed and "Chat Noir" over our
We didn't remember the rooms or bathroom being so
small. The shower drain was broken and the water took ten minutes
to heat up. Our knees hit the wall when we sat on the toilet.
The hot tub wasn't working. There was no remote for the TV and
the air conditioner was very loud.
We went to Montrel’s
for dinner. They were short staffed and food was very slow coming
out. Some people were even leaving, but we were in no rush and
sat with a glass of wine. Our food was okay and we went
back to crash at the hotel.
Being the trusting Canadians that we are, we failed/forgot
to lock our door. At 2:30am a girl walked into our room. G sat
up with the C-PAP mask still on and scared the shit out
of her. He locked the door and tried to go back to sleep. He could
hear the nearest bar’s karaoke until 3am. He had to turn
the AC off as well. We both found the mattress too soft, and it
just wasn’t a relaxing night. Such a shame.