Thursday, September 27, 2007

Judges Visit

As I mentioned, some of the scavhunt judges were in town last week. Courtney, Claire, Sam Boyd, and Ian were on some larger roadtrip from Florida to Oklahoma. They left Talahassee the morning of last Wednesday, and arrived here that night (having stopped several times along Florida's Gulf Coast). They brought crabs for Hodag. After welcoming them to New Orleans, I took them to Cooter Brown's [1], our favorite local bar.

I played hookey from class and the lab on Thursday to show them around the city. I navigated them along St Charles to the French Quarter. We wandered around there for a bit, and stopped by a couple of antique stores. I purchased an old-looking Tulane beer mug with an angry-looking anthropomorphic green wave on it holding a pennant. The guy who sold it to me claimed to have been present the last time Tulane beat LSU at football (1982, reports this morning's Times-Picayune [2]). I also went inside St Charles Cathedral for the first time. We had beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde. All very touristy things to do.

After that, we drove out to the 9th Ward. The last time I had been there was in March when we were visiting the city and our departments. There is a little more activity there now than I remember in March, but there is still almost no one there (current population estimates are about 7% of the 2000 census figure). In much of the area, vegetation has completely overrun whatever human activity was once there. Parts of it feel almost like the wild swampland that used to be there. Except for the obvious part that it's dry now. I felt myself tearing up; I almost cried. I didn't do that in March. I take that to mean that I'm more emotionally invested in the city now.

We headed back home. I had picked up some alligator meat earlier in the week, and had been advised that it cooks just like chicken. So we made a stir fry out of it. Everyone loved it. After dinner, all of us (minus Nora, who had to study) drove out to Metarie to sneak into the Metarie cemetery, which is really creepy at night. It's a very old New Orleans-style cemetery with above-ground graves and intricately-designed mausoleums. I tried to take them to Snake and Jake's (warning: Myspace), but the bartender wouldn't let us stay because Sam is not quite 21.

[1] The name comes from an old saying "Drunk as Cooter Brown," which has a short story behind it.
[2] Nora promises a post about LSU's mascot, Mike the Tiger, as soon as she no longer feels sick.

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