February 12, 2001
At 0800 Central Standard Time, the Training Ship Empire State was located at Bienville Street Wharf, New Orleans, Louisiana and taking various services from the pier. The air temperature was 57 degrees Fahrenheit; skies mostly cloudy; winds were from the East at 05 knots; barometric pressure was 1024 millibars and rising. Relative Humidity was 71%.
Life is short, and it's up to you to make it sweet.
Sadie Delany (1889-1999)
Bon temps roulez! (French for: let the good times roll!) Ah... life in the Big Easy. New Orleans, Louisiana and the captivating French Quarter, what a nice place to rest. This city on a big bend of the Mississippi has something for everyone, of every taste. Gourmands will find some of the best food in the world just up the street a few blocks, but teenagers starved for fast food Americana can hit the Golden Arches right across the corner. For cadets not tired of looking at marine life, one of the top ten aquariums in the country is a block from the ship. Need more sea time? Old time paddle wheelers leave from the dock up river from us for tours of the Mississippi...gambling included...costumed as river boat gamblers, Mark Twain, or saloon card players optional. Maybe you want something unusual? One can take a trip into the swamps with the Pirate Jean LaFitte, visit civil war plantations, talk with Voodoo priestesses, catch some of the best Delta Blues at Preservation Hall, or see the giant Louisiana Super Dome. Ride a horse drawn cart through streets laid down decades before this country came into existence. Hop a streetcar named "Desire". Tag along behind a funeral procession moving down the street; black horses pulling a black wagon draped in crape; jazz band blowing a tune to wake the dead; everyone singing, wailing, and carrying umbrellas-and it isn't raining. When you get to the graveyard, you find that no one is "buried" here. Everyone is in above ground vaults due to the high water table....Seems coffins had a nasty habit of popping out of the ground on rainy days.
For those who want the seamy side of life, that too is right up the block. In fact, it appears that the ONLY rule in this city is you can NOT walk down the street carrying a can or bottle in your hand. After that, I can't tell if anything else gets the attention of the omnipresent star and crescent gold badges of the NOLA police. Nope, this place is nothing like Kansas, Dorothy.
My personal favorite activity in the city that loves a good time is to sit in the Café du Monde on the banks of the river and watch the people. The coffee is unbelievable - a mix of chicory and regular coffee. The recipe dates back to the civil war when the Union blockade meant a shortage of coffee beans. Residents here ground up the dried roots of chicory and mixed it with the few meager beans they had...and grew to like the concoction. You can buy cans of the coffee mix up there in New England, but it isn't the same as what you get here on the banks of the Big Muddy. Maybe it's the water. Maybe it is the hundred year old coffee roasters or brew pots; or maybe it is the chewy square donuts, called beignets, dusted in confectioners sugar just as they come out of the hot fat fryers, but this place is open and filled all day and night.
Yesterday afternoon I had ship's business to attend to and repairs to the equipment in the engine room, but my wife Peggy cured that and turned my senses to something besides radarscopes, headsets, and work. Peggy, my son Joe and I decided to play the tourists and stroll leisurely through the absolutely, fascinating French Quarter. What an enjoyable way to spend a lazy winter, afternoon. The relaxing experience served to remind me once again that youth is truly wasted on the young. Peggy, Joe and I began our trip not far from Empire State, on the River Walk, and followed our noses, shop to shop along the crowded streets among pre Mardi Gras revelers. We lingered to watch a young black street dancer tapping his way to the big time, his music courtesy of the café next door. The peppery aroma of spicy Creole dishes and the enticing sweet smells of beignets drew us along. We wandered until the sounds of my rebelling stomach nearly drowned the minstrels and I began to weaken. I couldn't decide what to eat but then I remembered the cardinal rule of dining delight which states, save room for salad; eat dessert first, so we did. We went directly to Café Du Monde, beignets, and Cafe au lait.
Next, we sauntered between picturesque horse drawn carriages and gray mules wearing straw hats, through the wrought iron fences and into Jackson Square. The beautiful park was so named in the 1850's to honor Andrew Jackson and his heroic performance at the Battle of New Orleans. There, fixed proudly beneath the fragrant magnolias, the General himself sits nobly astride his trusty steed perpetually guarding St. Louis Cathedral, the Pontalba Buildings, and the Cabildo. Not to seem disrespectful, but the General, forcefully waving his hat from high atop his raised charger, reminds me somewhat of the Lone Ranger and Silver. I doubt that the General would mind the comparison. Do You?
The historic Square has been the site of public meetings, hangings, and beheading in times past, and the Louisiana Purchase concluded there, as well. It has a storied past, but today the atmosphere is that of a kinder and gentler nation. The politicians and jailers have been replaced with clowns, street performers, break-dancers, jugglers, and mimes. The Cathedral and adjacent Presbyter have been here since the 1790's. Tour groups are sandwiched between the worshipers, weddings, and funerals as every day life continues among the tourists - all happy to be there.
Our refreshing sojourn continued along the banks of the ageless Mississippi, past the Paddle Wheelers and tugs to where it began... nearly a lifetime ago, it seems. The delightful afternoon passed through the warm glow of sunset into the dusk, and the everlasting river continued by. Yes indeed... youth is wasted on the young.
See you tomorrow.
QUESTIONS FOR TUESDAY 13 FEBRUARY
The Captain drew a rectangular box on the navigation chart and instructed the Cadet Officer of the Watch to keep the ship inside the area. The perimeter of the rectangle measures 38 nm. If the length is 3 nm more than the width, find the width.
Green plants convert light energy to chemical energy and food in the process of Photosynthesis. Other organisms that live deep in the ocean in the absence of light synthesize organic substances as food using chemical reactions. What is that process called?
The United States acquired land that is now New Orleans with the largest area of territory ever added to the US at one time. What was this purchase called?
When did the United States complete the purchase mentioned above? From what Country?
ANSWERS FOR MONDAY 12 FEBRUARY
$480.00+ $200.00 = $680.70
$23.50 + $65.00 + $165.00 = $253.80
$680.70 - $253.80 = $426.90 Current Balance.
Pelagic species live in the water column.
French; Fat Tuesday; 27 February 2001