New Orleans and The Delta of the Mississippi


When we got up this morning, I looked out of the window and could barely see the Marriott Hotel on Canal Street, a few blocks away. We were in the midst of a fairly strong storm and the rain was coming down hard. Thirty minutes later, the sun was shining. These kinds of storms are common this time of year.

After this morning’s storm we could see beyond the French Quarter from our 18th Floor perch

We had been to New Orleans many times over the past 25 years and we are sure to be back again… the 2018 American Library Association Annual meeting will be held here. In all those visits we made here, we traveled to a lot of places in and out of the city. There are several places and things we talked about doing and wound up saying, “we will do it next time.” This trip represents the “next time” for some of the things on our list.

After breakfast we drove to one of the items on our “to do list,” Mardi Gras World. Mardi Gras World is located in Blaine Kern Studios facility on the New Orleans riverfront. The studio has been making floats for Mardi Gras parades since 1932. Our tour guide took us through the studio and described the work that goes into making the floats. After the formal tour is completed, you are free to walk through the building and take photographs of the floats and the components. Blaine Kern also makes 3D Advertising objects… if you drive down the highway and see a cow hanging on a Chic-fil-A billboard, it was made in this facility.

Susie dressed for Mardi Gras. The guy to her left looks confused and Bacchus looks frightened
Styrofoam is shaped to the desired form such as this wheel.
After the foam form is shaped, it is covered with brown paper mache and is ready for painting.
Last year this form was The Phantom. The mask has been removed and some other modifications made to turn this into James Bond in Goldfinger for 2018 float
This eagle will be on one of the 2018 floats
The participants spend hours on the floats during the parade. They come on board with food and drink (most likely alchoholic). They can’t stop to relieve themselves so the float contains two rooms with a porta potty (see door above ribbon).
Queen Kong gets a new dress painted on and a manicure every year.
Dr. Seuss characters
Susie and the Angry Bird… Hope it isn’t hungry because Susie looks like a tasty morsel
The fiberglass Chic-fil-A cows are made in New Orleans
Which is Witch

In 2009, we were in New Orleans for our nephew’s wedding and took a trip south to the river delta. Plaquemines Parish includes the last 70 miles of the Mississippi before it enters the Gulf of Mexico and we drove south until the road ended at the Venice Marina. Four years earlier, Hurricane Katrina caused major damage to the parish communities. Once we crossed the Mississippi to the right bank, we saw a lot damaged property along side the road. We decided to drive down today to see how much has changed. We only got down as far as Port Sulphur before we turned back because a thunderstorm was heading our way. We did note that little of the damage remained. New housing, a lot of it elevated well off the ground, was seen in the 40 miles we traveled.

This evening we had dinner with Susie’s cousin Kathy, husband Hal and their children David and Rachel. Since this was our first ever meeting with Kathy, Susie feels that she closed the Fabricant family circle that had been broken for about 62 years. We spoke about our respective families and started getting to know each other. We promised to get together again, certainly when we attend the American Library Association meeting here next June.

Cousins Susie and Kath