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New Orleans: food and ghosts and lots of walking by Ann Treacy
June 15, 2015, 1:52 am
Filed under: Louisiana, New Orleans

We spent four nights in New Orleans with everyone – cousins, aunts, uncles, grandma and grandpa. (Everyone else was smart enough to fly!) We stayed out near Tulane, a couple miles from downtown. It wasn’t very far but it was a pretty sketchy walk – Katie and I tested in out. SO it was fun to learn that area (Freret) although we spent more of our time in the French Quarter.

We took a couple of tours – a ghost tour and a cemetery tour. It was fun to learn little bits and pieces about New Orleans. I now understand why the street all change names at Canal Street. (After the Louisiana Purchase, the Americans came in and renamed everything and the locals weren’t having it.) I learned that a corpse will cremate in those creepy mausoleums given the heat in NOLA. That is why the tomb must be sealed for a year and a day – before it can be opened (if need be) for the next resident. I saw Nicolas Cage’s tomb – waiting for him. (Some people kiss it. The guide thought that was funny since he’s not in there. I think it’s weird either way.) I heard a few gruesome “ghost” stories that I wish I could unhear.

We spent a lot of time walking around – from Jackson Square to Bourbon Street. We visited a few voodoo shops. So be nice to us, at least until you think our positions have run out! One of us got our fortune told. We visited a Tomato Festival. I got us close with some modern art – very realistic looking women in swimsuits.

We ate a lot. We went back to brunch at the Court of Two Sisters and we were very happy there again. We went to a place called Purloo, where we saw Randy from My Name is Earl. It was a thrill for us. If service had been better we might have had enough liquid courage to talk to him as it was, we played it cool. We did learn the difference between Southern hospitality and Northern efficiency. It could have been an opportunity to learn patience – but we don’t have time for lessons like that! The food was great; we ate shrimp, gumbo, jambalaya, catfish, oysters, poboys, and Aine’s favorite deep fried peanut butter and jelly.

We loved New Orleans. In respect to population, it’s about the same size as St Paul. But it’s much more like European city, with a great buzz in town all day and night. It rained while we were there, which was actually nice in terms of heat management. We did notice that the water doesn’t really go anywhere after the rain. The puddles linger. I can only imagine what that’s like in a hurricane. But given a chance to return to NOLA – we’ll take it! Lily says she’s moving here but she says that about a lot of places we visit. Good thing she’s young, she can live in them all at some point!

Surveying some swampland in Louisiana by Ann Treacy
June 15, 2015, 12:33 am
Filed under: Louisiana

We took a pontoon trip around the bayou of Lake Salvador. It was the perfect activity for a very rainy day. We saw a ton of alligators from our covered pontoon. And the area is so pretty and so different from anything we’re used to seeing. Some of us held a baby alligator; some of us didn’t.

Little Rock: 9 brave students and 1 President by Ann Treacy
June 10, 2015, 7:29 pm
Filed under: Arkansas

Day three of the road trip started in Little Rock. The first place we visited was the Little Rock Central High School – ground zero (maybe birthplace?) of school desegregation. In 1957 (same year Grandpa started High School), nine African-American students were denied entrance into the school, despite the 1954 Supreme Court order to integrate (Brown v Board of Ed). They arrived the following day with an army behind them.

On day one there were apparently 1,000 protestors.  I can’t even imagine how many protestors, guards and hopefully some supporters on day two. I’ve seen the pictures but what I didn’t realize until we visited was how big and fancy the school is. (Note for those who don’t know I went to a very small high school. Not even a little bit fancy.)

There’s just something about the stairs and the majesty of the building that increases my awe of the young students who bravely went to school – as was their right.

We left armed with books to read on the issue. It was hard for the girls to believe how recent the event was.

We also went to the Clinton Library – but due to two sleeping teens in the car our visit was very brief.

Then we drove for roughly 400 hours – at 55 mph – to get to Baton Rouge. (All of the locals drove the speed limit, which made us nervous!)

Independence MO: Big lessons on President Truman by Ann Treacy
June 10, 2015, 3:48 pm
Filed under: Missouri

Day Two of the road trip starts in Missouri. Turns out Independence is pretty close to Kansas City so we stopped to see President Truman’s home town. We saw his house, which is pretty posh. And we learned a lot about him – like he was a haberdasher before and after being President.

Also we talked about his big decision to “end the war decisively”. It was an interesting discussion about what we would do if we were in his shoes – and how glad we were not to be in them.

We also saw (from a distance) Independence Temple, which has one of the most interesting steeples I have ever seen. It was designed by Gyo Obata and was the headquarters of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

And we got our kicks briefly on Route 66. And landed in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Road trip! First stop is Kansas City for art, technology and BBQ by Ann Treacy
June 8, 2015, 2:57 am
Filed under: Missouri

OK it’s been more than a year since I posted anything – but we’re on the road again so I’m going to post.

The girls, Grandpa and I are on the road. We’re going to New Orleans, where we’ll be meeting with Grandma, Katie and her family and Billy. We just finished the first lag of the trip to Kansas City. I learned at a conference earlier this year that I love Kansas City.

We are staying near the Plaza, which I have to say is beautiful even through it’s really an upscale, outdoor shopping mall. The older girls spent the afternoon shopping there. Aine and I spent the afternoon at the Nelson Atkins Museum. We saw the amazing shuttlecocks and the touring The Four Seasons by Phillip Haas.

In the late afternoon Aine, Grandpa and I went on a quick tour of Kansas City Startup Village – an amazing community with Google Fiber. It’s in a working class neighborhood (mostly) in Kansas City, Kansas. Matthew Marcus gave us the tour. He is one of several instrumental entrepreneurs in the neighborhood who have worked at making the community fertile ground for other entrepreneurs. Several houses in neighborhood have been turned into homes for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial efforts. In the area they have about 54 startups in 15 local houses in about a square mile area. I’ll be writing more about it for work – but I will say the idea of a community bubbling up organically, starting with access to Google Fiber is so compelling to me.

We had yummy barbeque for dinner. After dinner, I walked around the University and the girls went swimming. Tomorrow we head to Little Rock.

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