Saturday, January 17, 2009

Trek to New Orleans Airport....

Kirsten safe and sound in her Beach Front Condo -"home" for the next two weeks!

Yesterday I drove to pick up my 84 year old Aunt Kirsten who is visiting from Denmark. She ended her flying journey in New Orleans, Louisiana at about 11 PM, striding confidently and energetically into the lounge of the New Orleans airport after more than 22 hours of travel. What an amazing woman!!!
To get to that reunion, I drove there from Pensacola, Florida traversing Alabama, Mississippi and ending in Louisiana travelling mostly on the Interstate Highway I-10! One day, one highway - four States! The weather was warm in the daytime - around 65F. The drive was about 4 hours and saw the little rental car going through under sea tunnels and over long bridges. Alabama and Mississippi billboards beckoned motorists into numerous Casinos with examples of payouts, fine dining and "loose" slot machines. Long segments of the drive were through wetlands and vast expanses of "nothingness" - just nature! Passing through Mississippi into Louisiana brought signs of hurricane damage - perhaps from "the big one - Katrina" and perhaps from subsequent relentless hammerings of the Gulf States by Mother Nature.

The I 10 eastbopund in downtown Mobile, Alabama approaching the George Wallace Tunnel.

The 8.7 kilometre, I-10 Twin Span bridge into New Orleans over Lake Pontchartrain was severely damaged during Hurricane Katrina with several segments of the bridge collapsing into the water. It is scheduled for destruction in 2011, pending completion of construction on the replacement structure. An interesting report on the reasons for the failure and some chilling photos can be found at the site . The report states "The Interstate 10 Twin Span Bridge over Lake Pontchartrain north of New Orleans, La., was rendered completely unusable by Hurricane Katrina. The cause of the collapse of the bridges generated great interest among hydrologists and structural engineers as well as among the general public." A new, 6 lane, bridge is under construction (US $ 800 Million)and I couldn't help but wonder how safe the existing and clearly repaired bridge was in the interim. We made it across twice without incident!

The next two weeks will be sun and fun filled for us as we explore with Kirsten and enjoy one another's company.

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