Houston to New Orleans

   

We left Houston, went through Beaumont, and finally — after four days and 900-plus miles — we escaped Texas. We determined that Exit 880 off I-110 is probably the highest-numbered interstate highway exit in the country. Even I-5 in California, which goes from the Mexican border to the Oregon state line, only makes it to Exit 796…

Of course, our Texas car trouble paranoia was replaced by Louisiana state trooper paranoia. We’d both heard for years about how they look for any excuse to pull over cars with California plates here; there have even been news stories on the phenomenon. So we didn’t speed. We stayed at least 1MPH below the limit even as cars passed us, cursing all the way. And we had no problems…

We have no problems with TROOPERS, I should say. The roads were a different story. These were some of the most godwaful freeways I’ve ever driven, with undulating waves of bumps which threatened repeatedly to send the car airborne. Say what you like about the mechanics of building of sinking soil, but both Texas and Mississippi seem to have discovered a technique Louisiana never read about. It was hell…

Settled for lunch at a KFC next to a Wal-Mart (where we bought a pillow) in Lafayette…

 

We arrived with just enough time to unload, shower, change, and drive into New Orleans for Poppy Z. Brite’s Prime Dinner at Marisol, around which much of our trip had been scheduled. It was a great place and a nice dinner (even the calf’s brains and sweetbreads weren’t nauseating like I expected) and it was nice to be recognized. The only mildly uncomfortable moment was when we apparently freaked out the entire restaurant by informing our server that we don’t drink and thus would be skipping the wine…

After dinner, we drove around just a bit, being careful to avoid scary neighborhoods like the one we drove in through, and I got to see the oldest continuously-operating A&P store in the country…

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