Sal and I made it back from New Orleans on schedule yesterday morning. We seriously got off the ground and in the air without a single drop of rain hitting New Orleans. There wasn’t even anything stronger than a nice gentle cooling breeze.
It’s a good thing I was so proactive about getting us rescheduled to a Sunday morning flight… They cancelled all evening flights and closed the airport shortly after 6pm. Over the loudspeaker one of the gate agents was telling people, “We’re dealing with crazy conditions and I’m doing this all by myself, so if I seem like I’m being rude, I’m really not, I’m just trying to get you all out of here safely. But every flight is overbooked, so if you’re on a standby list you can give up on that flight right now… Don’t worry though, we’re going to get you out of here, even if it means you’re getting on a military transport or something. But don’t come up here askin’ about adding frequent flyer numbers to your itinerary or any of that, ’cause that stuff ain’t gonna happen today, baby!”
People laughed and applauded. Hooray for keeping a sense of humor in the midst of tension.
In addition to the ongoing struggle to steal Sal’s seat in the airport, there was also an ongoing comedy of sorts with a young gay couple sitting across from us. They were planning their wedding, and talking about guest lists. They kept cracking us up with their playful bickering, about whose first cousin HAS to be invited even though he’s a bastard and never calls, but it’s not his fault that he was raised to be an asshole, etc. They made me smile in the midst of a long damn morning.
Sal had his First Class seat and I couldn’t get one — in fact, the gate agent laughed at me when I asked if any First Class standbys had been upgraded. S’okay, the important thing is that we got out safely and on time. Anyway, Sal sat with me in Coach and gave his First Class seat to the person who was supposed to be next to me. Ain’t he sweet?
Predictably he passed out as soon as the plane took off, and was out cold the entire flight. Have I mentioned that I envy him that ability?
Thanks, all, for your kind text messages, emails, and phone calls this weekend. Your concern was touching and appreciated, even if completely unwarranted. It’s hard to convey to people outside of New Orleans that right up until Saturday evening, the mood was pretty cheerful in the French Quarter. Sure, a lot of people left starting Saturday morning, but none of us were in any danger at all. AT ALL. People were just being proactive, and getting out early to be on the safe side. Even the boarded up windows and such didn’t deflate the mood too badly — you just kept on walkin’ until you found a place that was open, and was serving food/drinks, and you thanked them for being open and wished them good luck.
It was a good trip, in spite of everything. I’m still sad that I didn’t get to see Shirley Q Liquor, but in the time we were supposed to be watching her show, we ended up exploring a bunch of new places and making new friends. Hard to get too worked up over that, y’know?
Besides… There’s always Mardi Gras!