Kittie Howard

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jumping into the New Year!

Happy New Year!  From our house to yours, heartfelt wishes for a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year.  And I hope ya'll had a great holiday season!

Thursday evening, hub and I returned from our trip to New Orleans (after driving from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to the Northern Virginia, environs.)  We had a glorious time in the Big Easy (New Orleand)! (I've posted some photos on the sidebar.)

Thanks to the helpful personnel at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, I learned much about my great-grandmother's early history.  (Her parents died in the 1867 yellow fever epidemic; Spanish Carmelite nuns brought her to an orphanage/convent, now the Bourbon Orleans Hotel.)  Yes, yes, I felt her energy!!  And I'm going to share this with you, including Great-grandma Oubre's 'secret', after I cross-check my notes.  Her life was such a rich tapestry, I'm awestruck at how she persevered and prospered.

In the meantime, I'm posting photos from our drive along Mississippi's Gulf Coast (going to New Orleans) and across the middle of the state (returning to Virginia).  A lovely Mississippian, Shelley Rickey, is in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.  She's doing what young people do:  seeing the world, learning and growing in the process.  Shelley plays the ukulele and has quite a following in Europe, along with the band she's in!  I also learned much from her blog about holiday customs in The Netherlands. 

From one who's spent a lot of time overseas and remembers how it feels to touch Home to one who's There now, as promised, some Mississippi photos:

Crossing into Mississippi from Alabama! 

The Welcome Center at the state line.

Elvis still rocks!

Even in the South, a region known for its hospitality, Mississippi's graciousness is legend.

Holiday display at the Beau Rivage Hotel, Biloxi, Mississippi, on the Gulf Coast.  Hurricane Katrina wrecked this beautiful resort, but management rebuilt, and it's more beautiful than before.  There's also a $15.00 buffet that offers every mouth-watering treat imaginable.  And slot machines and card games for those so inclined.  And golf.  And a luxurious spa, ahhh, very nice!

View of the Gulf of Mexico from our 19th floor room.  That's a man-made boom/barrier.  I lack the words to express how much I longed to see the Gulf, smell the Gulf. 

Trees that survived Hurricane Katrina.

Right across the road from the Gulf of Mexico.

So many homes were destroyed.  But houses in the background show efforts to rebuild.

Hotels have rebuilt or are buying up cheap land to build.  The fear is that the Gulf Coast will become a strip mall of hotels.

With beautiful, rebuilt homes dotting the shoreline drive, lost amid commercialization.  But people need jobs that hotels support...they also need the money the rich pour into the area as tourism is seasonal, all a vicious circle.  So many people said that they were on the verge of turning the corner when the BP disaster hit and the tourists didn't come.

The beaches along the Gulf Coast are magnificent.  Since Louisiana has maybe ten feet of beaches, Louisianians enjoy frequent visits here.  The white sand and the blue Gulf are a holiday-perfect combination.

Protected grasses on the beach. 

More rebuilding.

Shrimp boats at Bay St. Louis.  A slice of Cajun life is here as Cajun Country incorporates the Three B's: Beaumont, Texas; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Bay St. Louis. 

Just stop here for some delicious po'boys.  (That's my hub to the far left.)

Or enjoy roasted pig (couchon). . . at the Beau Rivage buffet.

As much as I my LSU heart would like to say otherwise, Ole Miss has got to have one of the prettiest college towns  in the U.S.  (And Tracy left a lovely comment about Blind Side and Ole Miss.  Michael Oher was the African student adopted by a wealthy white family who became a star at Ole Miss.  Thanks, Tracy.  Ya'll be sure and check out Tracy's blog!)


William Faulkner loved Ole Miss.

He lived here, just outside the campus, round the corner.

Linda Mead, one of Mississippi's Miss America's.

Shotgun house.  Prior to the Louisiana Purchase, Mississippi was a French colony, with Biloxi as the capital.  The French influence remains.  This photo was taken in Natchez, a city with an incredible historic district. . . so many beautiful homes from riverboat days. . . with a few shotgun houses here and there.
Driving across the Mississippi River from Louisiana into Natchez.

Mississippi on the left; Louisiana on the right.

A bench in Mississippi. . .  sit and rest a spell.

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