Wednesday, October 1, 2008

To Lake Ponchartrain and Beyond!

The Ponchartrain Causeway bridges are 23+ miles spanning the lake with opposite traffic directions--the longer of the two is the longest bridge in the world over water. Think about that. Isn't that something? I took Anthony and Ashley across it Tuesday. Anthony to the Insta-Gator Alligator Breeding Farm (and no, I cannot make this stuff up) in Abita Springs, LA (about an hour from New Orleans). Then Ashley and I headed West and North to Roseland, LA after depositing Anthony at his shooting location. Ashley was headed to see a gentleman who has a no-kill shelter for dogs. They have "around" 290 dogs there. He's pretty much all alone at it. It was both heartening and disheartening all at the same time. His heart is so in the right place, but....I'll let Ashley tell you the rest in her blog.

Ashley and I picked up some friend chicken, biscuits, and potato sticks (deep friend 1/4 of a potato wedges) at a gas station...yummmm. We saved some for Anthony. When we arrived back at Insta-Gator (say it aloud, go ahead)....Anthony was standing outside sort of waving his arms and mouthing "OH ---- MY ---- GOD". Please click here to experience a similar level of enthusiasm from earlier in the week. We didn't think his mood cold be further peaked after delivering his excited recap of the way the Insta-Gator(s) are doing so much for the environment, but the fried chicken just sent him into orbit--he became conflicted about the good manners of chewing with one's mouth closed and telling more of his story. Feeling a little to blame for providing this lunch, we gave him the go ahead to talk with his mouth full. He was really excited.

For me this was a wonderful excuse to see beyond the borders of the city of New Orleans. The north shore is highly wooded with tall cypress, though clearly caving to sprawl. In certain areas appalling clearings of trees have given way to white dry mud, that will soon give way to Wal-Marts or some such thing. Especially along Interstate 12 this was quite prevalent. The back roads, away from the highways, wound this way and that and were heavily wooded, but fort the occasional McMansion.

That afternoon Steve Maklansky visited the group at the hotel to give a talk about Katrina - right after the storm, and after...he also reviewed student work, and shared many personal stories. It was truly a special afternoon! See the post from a couple of days ago for pix--I'm a bit out of order--we are always driving soon as we bring one group of students somewhere, we hav eto pick another up--then its starts again--I'll try to catch the words up soon!

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