Mississippi and Louisana
Trip Start Jun 02, 2002
43Trip End Apr 01, 2003
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Hattiesburg, Mississippi is a college town and our friend's house was only a block away from the University of Southern Mississippi. Our good friends Brian and Vickie invited us to stay at their house and we accepted. With Brian and Jenn's help I was able to back in our house next to theirs. We hooked up our rig to their electric and water and slid out our slide out with only inches to spare. We slept and ate breakfast in our house and then we would go next door to hang out with our Mississippian neighbors.
Saturday - Our first adventure took place down in New Orleans, Louisiana. We jumped into one car and set out to watch the floats during the Mardi Gras parades. Along the way we learned that in Louisiana it is legal to have open alcoholic containers in your vehicle, however it is still illegal to be drinking while driving
We spent the day before the parades began by walking up and down Bourbon Street in the middle of the French Quarter. We drank hurricanes, looked at all of the old buildings, and listened to some great jazz bands we passed by inside bars and alleyways. The parades began and we had a great spot to catch a lot of beads. Later, we stopped off at a Cajun restaurant for some authentic southern cooking. As the day became night the streets became more crowded and the people became wilder and less inhibited. As we made our way out, we passed by a couple of girls up on the balconies who earned their Mardi Gras beads by flashing the cheering crowds below them.
Sunday - The weather was beautiful and we wanted to bar-b-q at a nearby state park. The four of us and their cool dog, Piper, began with a hike through the woods. About half way through, Brian and Vickie took us off the trail to a place they discovered on a previous visit. We pushed our way through the bushes and ducked our way under tree branches and we found ourselves standing at the foot of a square-shaped clearing
As I scanned the perimeter of this field I noticed how there weren't any roads leading to it or any clear cut paths to walk on. Why was this field here? Well, as we stood there standing at the edge of it, Brian proceeded to tell us how he believes that this place used to be where the KKK held their large annual rallies. Well, we were in Southern Mississippi and I could not dismiss Brian's idea so quickly. I also remembered the story of when Brian was in Kinkos the same time a Klansman in full costume minus the hood was there making copies. The four of us and Piper began to walk across towards the far side of the field even though all of us except for Jenn had a bad feeling about this place. When we got about half away across, Piper began barking at the woods in front of us. Now this dog did not bark this entire day, but now her ears stood straight up, her eyes focused, and her barking became more constant as we got closer to the other side of the field. Brian finally spoke up and said, "OK, I think we've gone far enough." The rest of us could not have agreed more. We turned around and the dog stopped barking, the bad feelings in our stomachs dissipated, and we made our way back to the trail.
After the trail, we found a bar-b-q grill and picnic table in the shade
Monday - Brian and Vickie had to go back to work so Jenn and I drove ourselves back to New Orleans. We planned on going to a couple of tourist sights in the area beginning with the D-Day Museum. Obviously, it was all about World War II. It had timelines, pictures, short takes, and letters of personal experiences. This was the best way to learn about history. All of the real life exhibits made the experience an intense one and there were so many things to read and see. Afterwards, we were too mentally exhausted to do anything else except walk up and down Bourbon Street.
Tuesday - In the evening, everyone but me went to the university to watch the African Music Trio Spiritualists. The show contained three nicely dressed men singing beautiful music with an accompanying piano.
Wednesday - All of us went back to the university to see the Vagina Monologues. This play was performed by women who are not actors and yet they were very good. They were direct and blunt and they brought up many issues and viewpoints about their vagina that have never been spoken out about before. At times it was very entertaining, enlightening, and funny, while at other times it was disturbing. It was an experience worth seeing.
Friday - I took Jenn to the New Orleans airport to catch her early morning flight to Florida for our friends Michelle and Glenn's wedding. I would have loved to have gone but it was not in the cards. That night, Jenn went to Friday night services.
Saturday - Jenn went to Michelle's house for happy hour and hung out with all of her friends.
Brian, Vickie, and I went back to New Orleans because Brian and I had tickets to the Galactic show. We knew that the show would go on late into the night so we made reservations at a hotel which was difficult because this was the big Mardi Gras weekend. Vickie came along because as a birthday present for Brian, we planned to go to the Tabasco plant at Avery Island, LA the next day. She hung out in the hotel room as we jumped into his car and took off towards the club.
We arrived a little early and decided to pass the time walking to Bourbon Street and back. The club was huge with a large stage on one end, a smaller stage on the other end, and a medium sized room in the middle to hang out in. Rebirth Jazz Band, Wild Magnolias, and Z-Tripp, were also there to entertain us in this order. As soon as one band ended, we walked across the club to the other stage and the other band was already on stage and playing. It was non-stop action and fun. Galactic's first show was amazing and the other bands' performances were memorable as well. The show went on all night long, but we could not make it through the entire night and left the concert at around 4AM.
Sunday - Jenn went to Michelle and Glenn's beautiful wedding at the temple. The ceremony was filled with many symbolic and nostalgic items like a bible six generations old. Jenn had a great time at the wedding and also got to hang out with some of her old friends and she made some new ones as well.
We arrived at Avery Island two hours after we left the hotel. The only things we saw outside the car window were alligators, houses on stilts, and boats instead of cars. The Tabasco hot sauce plant was an old red brick building in the middle of nowhere. The tour was cool even though it was Sunday and the plant was not in operation. We learned about the Tabasco sauce process and were impressed when we found out that they age the stuff for three years before it gets bottled.
The Tabasco gift shop was full of Tabasco brand products and souvenirs. There was a tasting table and we had a blast tasting the various flavors of the hot sauce as well as their brands of mustards, jellies, soy sauce, bar-b-que sauce, and ketchup. They even sold wood chips for throwing on a bar-b-que grill from the actual barrels used to age the sauce. All of us walked out of there with some tasty sauces we have never tried before and I was lucky to find a cool baseball cap that fit my head.
Monday - I had the pleasure of picking Jenn up at the New Orleans airport. When we got back to Brian and Vickie's house, we went out to dinner at Copelands for some fine New Orleans cuisine.
Tuesday - Our last day with our good friends involved a canoe trip down the Black Creek River. We loaded up the canoe with the cooler, ourselves, and Piper the dog. A local dog followed us along the river bank because he wanted to join in our fun. So much so that he jumped into the river and tried to swim his way to us. Piper barked a few times and Vickie told the dog to go home and that was enough to get the message across. The day may have been cloudy, but the shine in the smiles on our faces told a different story. We brought kazoos and a harmonica and we jammed our way down the river. We had such a great time with our friends.
We felt sad when it came for us to leave our neighbors Brian and Vickie. Thank you so much for allowing us to park our house next to your house and everything else you provided to make our stay the most comfortable. Brian, good luck on your exams and Vickie, good luck with your job status. We miss you both. Our next stop was Mobile, Alabama.
Smiling with sunshine,
Love Dave & Jenn