I questioned whether I should go home to Cut Off this year. I’m allergic to my hometown (all the mold and mildew of the swamps). I don’t keep in touch with anyone back there (I was a social outcast back in high school). However, the family wants me. So, I’m there babye.
Arriving in New Orleans around 10PM, X-mas Eve, I was met with hugs and kisses as my mom, dad, Evan (newphew) and I went to my sister’s place. Phil (bro-in-law) and I did some guytalk catchup till I got some couch-crashing sleep. I was later woken up to kids running around, and a gift to unwrap in my face. It was cute. One set of nice really nice kitchen knives, an automatic tape dispenser, an MC Escher book later, and a few other cool toys later, we were outside marvelling at the first White Christmas New Orleans has had in 50 years. It was beautiful.
One smoked turkey, some ham and a Falgout Family Portrait later we left Mandiville around 4PM to head to Cut Off. We were concerned about the roads, since there was lots of snow, but Dad figured that if the Causeway (26 mi bridge, across the Ponchetrain bridge, which we had to cross) was open, then we were home free. Should we check to see if we would have problems getting across the Mississippi? Heck no! I mean, if we can get through a 26 mile bridge, then crossing the little ol’ Mississippi River, should be nothing.
We got past the Causeway, and I decided, it was naptime. I woke up to noticing us doing what seemed to be a U-turn on a major highway as 310 was closed off. (Our first choice for crossing the river) After some Falgout deliberation, we decided to take another bridge, and ended up taking a Left Handed Turn into some Frozen Swamplands. This later got us right to the river, but no way to cross. Which made us cross. After going up and down the river for many more miles, we found ourselves right back at the airport, where my whole adventure started, with no way to get over that tiny river. So, X-mas night was spent in the confines of a Best Western. Thankfully, the connecting Denny’s would be opening at 10PM.
What’s that? The employees can’t make it across the bridge either? No Denny’s X-mas Dinner for us? But Red Warrior needs food badly. So, we went outside, mom in her Mink Coat, me in my Leather Trenchcoat and dad in his “Goosedown” to go outside and walk about a block in the freezing weather, for food. On Christmas. It was around this point where we couldn’t help but laugh at the situation. Maybe it was the surrealism. Maybe it was that the three of us just spent 3 hours in a hotel room on X-mas night, snowed in, laying waste (Warning 2.6 Meg video. Right click and Save to File) to a considerably sized flask of Jack D. on an empty stomach.
We walked into the Hilton’s Sports Bar, and was much later approached by a waitress who looked like she was at the end of her proverbial rope. So, we gave her some proverbial slack. Apparently, due to the weather, she had been working since 2PM. Mind you, when we finally get there, it was 10-11PM. Food. Drinking. Popcorn. Drinking. Yea, X-mas is over!
We walk back to the hotel, all read some more and even partake in some ballet watching. “Well, I guess we’re not making it to church tomorrow.” Crash.
Wake up. Get dressed. Go to Denny’s (finally open!) and we notice that our Hostess seems to have a hard time dealing with the sheer amount of people that have bombarded her. This, I’m sure, because she seemed to have a hard time even dealing with just 1-2 people. We’re finally seated (I think we must have earned some good karma last night as the hostess actually walked us to our table, rather than the couple in front of us who just got pointed to where they were supposed to sit.) and got some food (none of us got what we ordered, but we dealt). Little bit later: “Say, is that Pastor Jemison?” (Pastor of the church we were supposed to go to this Sunday morning.) “Holy cow!” So, we called him on over to our table and greetings abound.
Come to find out, he had to get one of his son’s to the airport and somehow got here, but had to wait as his son had missed his original flight to Beruit, and was trying to get on standby. At one point, his wife called and I was amused by this transaction I had with her on the phone:
“Yeah, he’s (Pastor J) playing hooky from church.”
“But so are we.”
“True. But he’s paid to be good. You’re good for nothing.”
(Have I told you how I love word tricks?)
Anyways, we say our goodbyes, and get back on the road. Back to 310, which Dad is hopeful is open as it’s now 50 degrees outside and most of the snow seems to be gone. Ok, so we didn’t earn THAT much good karma. After talking to some of the people who were in “line” to get on that frozen highway, we decided to not wait and made that SAME LEFT HANDED TURN, back into the swamps. This time, I got pictures in the light.
After another on-ramp barricade, we talked to the cop and the two of the exact same people who were in “line” back at 310 and came up with a gameplan with our newfound information from the cop. 2 Bridges open. One inside New Orleans, one far, far away. Of course, being Falgouts, we let them head into the fire (read: city) and we took the long route. I think it ended up being the best bet as the traffic going into the city was horrible. (twice as long, none of the traffic). My dad told me that this was a good lesson as I was learning the backroads of Louisiana. I told him that I hoped that I would never have to use this information again. I decided not to tell him that a better lesson would be to drive the speed limit (not under) and pick a lane (he was literally in the middle of the road while on the Sunshine Bridge). This had been trying on us all, so I digressed.
So, just shy of 24 hours after we originally left my sisters place, we finally made it home. Only to find out that my old bedroom had been completely redecorated.
This story does have a happy ending tho. I later went out and purchased some Popeye’s deep fried chicken, and a daiquari for myself and a pina colada for mom w/o even leaving the car. Gotta love drive through alcohol stores in Louisiana.
–Snoopykiss now knows what they mean when they say, “You can’t go home.”