Monday, July 15, 2013

New Orleans Adventure: On The Way Out

On Saturday (June 22) we checked out of our hotel and left the city.  We only had one stop for this day but it was one of the odder stops for this vacation.  All our domestic vacation have at least one odd destination.  The odd one for this roadtrip was the Hansen's Disease museum in Carville, LA.

Most people have never heard of Hansen's Disease but they probably have heard the more common name: Leprosy.  The Hansen's Disease museum is located at a former Leper colony attached to a prison.  The complex is now a National Guard base and a job corp center.

The museum is well stocked with items from the colony as the facility was just closed down in 1999.  It covers the history of the disease, how patients were treated and mistreated, and told of the people who took care of the victims of the disease.

After touring the museum we drove a small tour around the former colony.  Unfortunately this part of the tour was a cell phone led tour and we are still cellphone-less ... at least we don't have a cell phone with a loudspeaker.

The museum didn't have a gift shop so there were no magnets.  They are missing an opportunity there.  The colony mascot was an armadillo.  The seven banded armadillo is the only other known animal that is susceptible to the bacteria that causes leprosy.  There is a farm attached to the colony where armadillos were bred for testing.  Armadillo magnets would be a tasteful way of remembering the museum.

We left  Carville ... there isn't much there except the museum and industry ... and headed north-west ending the day in Natchitoches.  It was a nice little town with historical buildings and a downtown area along the Cane River.

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We went to Mass in a church near downtown Natchitoches, had breakfast, and headed towards Dallas, TX.  We reached the Wife's Aunt CH's place mid-afternoon and spent the rest of the day seeing cousins, eating, and enjoying each others company.

One of the highlights was a visit to the Pilot Point Opera House to attend the Songwriters Festival.  We were there only for a short time ... enough to use some of the free drink tickets ... but enough to listen to four singer-songwriters perform.  The first three were incredible.  Most had a country vibe.  Then came the fourth act.

There is some need for backstory here.  The artists really don't know when they will be performing so they have to be at the venue until they perform.  While they wait their turn they are supplied with drinks.  The fourth act, apparently,  had been drinking for most of the day.  He introduced himself as Sticky and I think that might be an accurate description of the guy.  He had trouble with his guitar ... which he had borrowed since he didn't have his own.  He started to perform with a couple of his equally inebriated friends on the harmonica and tambourine.  After about thirty seconds or so of unintelligible sound he stopped, said "I'm sorry.  I'm sorry. Can I start again?"  This happened at least three times before we gave up and left.  I think if the guy ever cuts an album, the first song should be named "I'm sorry.  I'm sorry. Can I start again?"

We stopped next door to a small bar to see Lowla.  Lowla is kind of a local star as she's had a movie made about her.  Here is the unofficial trailer.  I didn't take any pictures of the last two days except for one of Lowla.

Lowla, Pilot Point, Texas.
The rest of the evening was talking.  The Wife's cousin wanted me to get home so that we could restart our Scrabble game.  Not exactly sure why she was in such a hurry to lose (HA!  Just Kidding!).  It was nice to enjoy the company and to sleep in a real, non-hotel bed.

Tomorrow a brief stop in Dallas and then we head north.

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