New Orleans to Houston
Houston Travel Blog› entry 39 of 59 › view all entries
Miss Annieâs breakfast started our day in fine style. We had pancakes that were very obviously NOT from a pre-mixed package. The coffee was strong and flavorful, warming my little soul and getting my eyes to pop open. I am sure going to miss her cookinâ! It is not fancy â˘ just very, very good. The Creole Gardens Inn was a disappointment in that the rooms (at least our room) are not kept in good repair. We told the owner about the stuck drawers in the bureau, but nothing was done. A lot of the problems were nit-picky, but that makes them as annoying as a mosquito whining in your ear all night. Although I would stay there again, Jag absolutely would not. For that matter, I am not sure I would want to return to New Orleans in spite of the marvelous restaurants and the beauty of parts of the city. Jag and I do not party â˘ I donât drink alcohol.
Due to the problems caused by Hurricane Ike a few weeks ago, the motels in Beaumont, Texas, are either all closed or, most likely, fully booked by people who evacuated from Galveston and Houston. We managed to reserve a motel on I-10 in Houston for tonight, but will have to go to another place tomorrow evening. It also meant we had to skip a planned visit to Avery Island and the Tabasco Sauce factory. It would have added over 100 miles and three hours to our drive.
Saw a sign outside Lafayette, Louisiana, advertising a brand of Cajun food seasoning. The name was âSlap Yo Mamaâ!!! ROTFL!!!
We passed the amazing Achafalaya Swamp on a causeway that went on and on for many miles. I just wish there had been a way to photograph this beautiful place. Mangroves and cypress trees rise out of the water and I suspect there are alligators swimming around out there. It is a National Wildlife Reserve. The causeway is amazing. I do not understand how it could be built considering the depth of the mud and the water.
There do not seem to be any rest areas along Interstate 10 in Louisiana. We finally saw a sign for a âWelcome Centerâ - our favorite two words on this trip! (We stopped at the one in Texas, naturally.) There wasnât a car to be seen down there. Then I noticed the barricades at the entrance. The east-bound side, on the other hand, did have a few cars. There were a couple of barricades at this one, too, but with an opening large enough to pass through, which we did. A man standing in front of the building waved us over and in his best Cajun accent, very loudly yelled: âDiânât yah notice ma barâcades? Yâall jesâ slipped right on thoo! This hereân ainât gonna be open âtil at leesâ next yar, ifân then.â It was all we could do to keep from laughing. Lucky for him, though, that he didnât call Jag âboyâ. Jag would have let him have it verbally with both barrels! He reminded us of the sheriff in one of the James Bond movies that took place in Thailand. The only difference was this olâ boy was skinny and the guy in the movie was chubby. As we were leaving the closed rest area, another couple pulled in. I'll bet that sheriff (or whatever he was) had to start his spiel all over again. The confusion was natural: there was no sign on the freeway indicating the closed status of those rest areas.
We got stuck in two long traffic back-ups. Both were caused by accidents. The first took place just outside of New Orleans. A car had gone through the barrier and into the water earlier in the morning. I donât know whether anything happened to the driver, but it certainly caused big problems for everyone for many hours afterward because of the need to repair the barrier. Later, near Lake Charles, someone who was driving a pickup truck and pulling a trailer also ran up onto the centeral dividing barrier. Again the freeway was reduced to one lane and the traffic backed up for a couple of miles. Speed no doubt played a part in both accidents. What kind of idiot drives at 75 miles per hour while pulling a trailer? Apparently a bunch of people in this part of the country âŚ!
Our motel for tonight, a Howard Johnson Express, is just okay. It is clean and we canât ask for anything more. The price, though, had Jag spitting fire and brimstone. I agree with him in that we are being overcharged. When we passed through Beaumont I noticed that hurricane damage did not cause the problems I expected to see. Rather, the hotels are fully booked by people who fled the last big hurricane. I am so glad I donât live in this area. They have far more hurricanes and horrid weather conditions than we Californians have earthquakes - something that scares them more than anything they can think of.
We went to dinner at a place called the Cadillac Bar. It serves Mexican food. The salsas were terrific. I had a taco salad, Jag had a regular salad with chicken and both of us were quite satisfied. The food was pretty good, but we only wanted something light anyway. Service was so-so because the place was full. It was extremely noisy. That is very conducive to getting people to buy alcohol. It is, after all, a bar - albeit a very large one. There was a lot of laughter, so whatever the restaurant was doing, it was doing it right.