27 December 2005

New Orleans - Day's 1 and 2 - the flight, blue roofs, boat off the express way.

I'm safely in New Orleans now, though unsettled after a red-eye flight (do you think people mind when I snore on airplanes? Me neither). I here with 8-10 other Boalt students to do some free legal work for New Orleans Legal Aid or Southeastern Louisanna Legal Services (I find out tomorrow).
Our layover was in Atlanta where we watched CNN show a guy getting shot by 20 cops in NO, they had to use lethal force because the guy had a knife and was flailing around for a few minutes ... tasers would have just been too risky in the 20 cops with guns vs. 1 guy with knife fight. Did I mention that the guy was black and the cops were white?
NO weather is perfect today (and is supposed to stay that way for a little while). It is about 70 with some pleasant humidity, really great, like it is during the summer at night with a cool breeze. Reminds me of nighttime Cuernavaca, including the over-long stares at my female travel partners. They call this "winter" for some reason, about 3 months of perfect weather followed by 9 months of crazy heat, hurricanes, and thunderstorms.
Flying in you see blue tarps everywhere, even over the Burlington Coat Factory (having a clearance sale of course). Our hotel (kindly paid for by my law school, Boalt) is one block from Canal st. at Bourbon st between Popeyes (open again) and McDonalds (not open). Theres trash bins full to the brim every block and refrigerators seem to outnumber cars along the sidewalks. Think about it ... people were told not to come back for about 6 weeks, some for longer ... refrigerators with no power and plenty of food get pretty nasty. There's a whole lot of people writing prophetic statements on them, but mostly just tags ... though I did see one with a warning about chemtrails!
Bourbon st. is alive, so testify the frat boys proud to be supporting the economy through booze and lapdances. The hot new drink is the hurricane, Ill try one later. There are almost as many police and security guards as there are tourists. At 10pm most resturaunts close and the noise level rises. We ate at some tourist trap which was fortunately low priced for okay food. The waiter was happy to taunt us for one member who asked for lemon in her water and for a vegetarian entre. Probably one-third of bourbon st. is back in action, lots of t-shirts making fun of Katrina, FEMA, Nagin, and the NO Police Department (which apparently has some serious problems).
How do we pay for this trip? The schools picking up the tab, as for food we get $25 per person per day which were tyring to stretch by making it $20/day to accomidate some late comers who are not part of our budget.
Naps between eating, an 11:00pm meeting, some fun reading with Rumpole , then time for sleep. Its 1:30, roommates say lights out. More tomorrow.

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