Hitchhiking to New Orleans

The first of february would be the day I would arrive in New Orleans, but I'd start the day just outside Mobile, Alabama. I'd been staying with Josh, a guy from couchsurfing, he loaded me up with a couple containers of leftover chili and gave me a ride about an hour towards New Orleans, conveniant for him as this was the direction where his work was.

I hopped out at an on ramp, said goodbye and thanks, and marched up ready to thumb a ride. I patted my pockets as I usually do, then realizing my phone was gone... I thought I'd left it in his car, I wondered if he would realize and turn around. Just to be sure, I walked to where he dropped me off and found it laying on the ground, it must've fallen off my lap when I got out. Happy to have it back in my possesion, I went back to the on ramp in the cold morning and began thumbing down cars.

Some time went by and I decided to go up on the freeway to get to walking, right then is when an older man named Terry picked me up, he was retired and working at a Walmart a few towns up to stay busy. He dropped me off along the freeway and I was picked up very quickly by a woman named Lola on her way to the casino up the road a ways.

She told me I should have a sign; when we got to the gas station near the casino we both went inside and she asked the cashier for cardboard and a marker, I made a "New Orleans" sign. She gave me her phone number and described a scarf she wanted that could be found in New Orleans, telling me to get it if I could find it and that she would pay me back if I could get it to her whenever I passed through town next.

I walked down to the freeway waiving my thumb and sign around until an 18 wheeler headed for New Orleans pulled over and let me in, a guy from Lithuania was driving. We talked about travels and beers as we cruised for the city, over the long bridge and into downtown where he dropped me off.

I walked towards the center of town and found a park bench where I enjoyed a portion of the chili, some had spilled out and slopped things up a bit. I wandered into the french quarter down decatur seeing some familiar places from my first trip to town a summer or so ago. I eventually landed in the coffee shop attached to a Harrahs casino enjoying some tea.

Heather picked me up shortly with Richard and we went to their house. She was all smiles and energy, we caught up on times that had happened since our great hitchhike from the northeast to New Orleans those summers ago. Her house was peppered with various projects, she pointed me up to the loft they'd built where I'd be sleeping for my time there. She was also in the midst of opening her tea shop and pottery place, she told me about the various paperwork and preperation involved in that.

Her and Richard took off shortly, they were just on a lunch break from a temporary sign spinning job they were working for H&R Block. I took off when they did and wandered the block with loose intentions to find a coffee shop or bar, it ended up just being a quick lap around the neighborhood and a return back to the house where I relaxed for a while.

I had an easy night from there, the next day would begin the storm of parties and good times that would eventually peak in an event the city had been awaiting to see for over 40 years, the Saints in the Superbowl.

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