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New Orleans a year later - Day 2

by Keely Chalmers

Bio | Email | Follow: @KeelyChalmers

Posted on August 30, 2006 at 8:08 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:40 PM


By Keely Chalmers for

Day 2 in New Orleans: Had to visit Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter. We walk through the quarter to get there. It's hot, really hot. We see a few tourists, but only a few. This is not the big tourist season. It's just too hot. I get it. We sit outside and have beignets and coffee. They were great! Who would have thought fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar could be so good. Maybe it was the dough coupled with the street performer next to our table. He sang Aerosmith's "Crying." No instruments, just his voice. The beignets were $1.59. We tipped the singer a few bucks. What a deal!


Next stop: Fats Domino's home in the Ninth Ward. Like nearly all the houses in that area, it had been ruined by the hurricane and abandoned. The entire neighborhood is vacant. We see a few cars drive through. One is the postal carrier. Two others are military humvees. Even a year after Katrina, the National Guard still patrols damaged areas. But in comparison to what it looked like even just a few months ago, the neighborhood looks good. It's clean. Empty...but clean.


We run across a port-a-potty in the median. Who knows why it's there...perhaps it was placed their by some frustrated residents. Anti-Bush remarks are scrawled across the sides. The President was in town yesterday for the anniversary. Who knows if he saw the messages.


He did however give Fats Domino a Presidential Medal of arts. President Clinton had awarded the famous musician the honor in 1998. But it had been lost in the flood. According to the Channel 4 anchor this morning, Fats sang to the President, "I found my thrill on Capitol Hill" and the President replied, "If you found a thrill on Capitol Hill, you're a better man than I am."

Another educational day in a city full of stories.