After leaving Mississippi, I drove into Louisiana and started over the miles and miles of causeway above Lake Ponchartrain. Having flown into New Orleans previously, I’ve not experienced the 23 miles of water, cypress, shanties, boats, birds and sun. Unfortunately, my arrival was timed wrong and I started hitting rush hour traffic. Driving a big rig with a toad (car in tow behind) is NOT my idea of relaxing, so I was looking forward to my gps getting me to the campground I’d been able to contact. Fortunately, that part went very well, BUT, when I pulled into the camp my alarm bells started going off. There was no one in the office (which didn’t have a door knob-only a hole where it should have been). There were several rigs in residence, mostly levee workers and roofers and carpenters there to fix the damage caused by hurricane Isaac earlier in the month. They assured me it was a safe place because the owner wore a gun on his hip, so none of the people out on the street would dare to come in! Not a high recommendation in my book, especially since big parts of the fence were blown over and tree limbs were still on the ground from the storm. But since I wasn’t ready to venture back out in that traffic, I unhooked Tracker and backed in, plugged in and turned on the water. I vegged for about an hour, then decided to turn on some electric, except there was none and the owner still wasn’t there.
I decided that instead of braving it out for the night, I would try to get out of there before dark. I tried the original place I had wanted to go (phones weren’t working earlier in day); this time I got through and the gentleman I talked to asked where I was and he said, come away from there! – we’ll squeeze you in and told me to call him when I was 10 minutes away. I phoned him after the gps was confused by the first detour and he talked me through that and a couple more, then he met me out on the road and I followed him the last couple miles to the new park (gated, 24 security, fine fences, waterways, nice new clubhouse with food and live music, salt water swimming pool and hot tub, lots of big rigs-and insurance adjusters, roofers, cement contractors, carpenters working on Isaac clean-up). I found that a great many roads were being worked on-probably in preparation for the Superbowl this coming year.
Dan and John arrived the next day and on Friday we went out to River Road to tour some plantations. The ones that are left are either beautiful thanks to historical societies,or falling down, but there are not many left considering there used to be around 500 plantations just along that stretch of the Mississippi). The plantations grew sugar cane as their main crop, turning the planters into millionaires. The first one we visited was Destrehan Plantation. Some of their slaves were part of the slave revolt of 1811, and a trial court was convened on the porch that we walked on. The leaders of that failed revolt were beheaded and their heads were displayed on pikes in New Orleans! And I thought we left that behavior behind in England . . .
I utilized the shuttle from my campground on Saturday. On the way home later that night, I questioned one of the employees about what happened during Katrina there. Where I stayed was under 12′ of water and where two of the major levee breeches happened. Across the road from the park was an 10′ block levee wall meant to keep out the water, but actually held the water in after the storm surge and breech. Water poured over that wall and stayed there because of it, causing much damage. No wonder everything was new there (except the roads).