Florida Exit

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We exited Florida this morning (bet’cha thought we’d never leave), passed through Alabama, Mississippi, and into Louisiana on I-10, stopping only twice at rest stops, and once for fuel. It was a pretty good road until we approached New Orleans on the I-10 Twin Span Bridge crossing Lake Pontchartrain: a seemingly endless series of slammity-bam cement slabs that shook our internal organs relentlessly.

During Hurricane Katrina on August 29th, 2005, the Twin Spans suffered extensive damage. The rising storm surge shifted bridge segments and in some cases pulled them completely off their piers. According to Wikipedia, the eastbound span was missing 38 segments with another 170 misaligned, while the westbound span was missing 26 segments with 265 misaligned. Those missing segments were replaced with temporary segments that are very rough and narrow to drive on. New spans are presently being built, and in passing, we could see the stages of development, from cement pilings of assorted heights, to cut and rebar-exposed ranks of even length, and the decking.

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Wavy pavement with lumpy joints make for a bucking ride with trailer attached! But, we made it safely to the New Orleans RV Campground thanks to the Hensley hitch and the airbags on the rear suspension.

The campground was just an idea, pre-Katrina, was built post-Katrina, and is now adding 100 new sites. It’s located right on the now-famous Industrial Canal just a short distance from Lake Pontchartrain. The area lives up to its industrial name. Quite a switch from yesterday on the Emerald Coast!

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The campground is an interesting place, as it’s presently more of a work than a vacation spot. One lady and her husband are insurance adjusters. One neighbor from Boston (A Red Sox fan) is a detailer, who’s working on cleaning the interior of a whole bunch of FEMA trailers so they can be moved to storage. No, he doesn’t know what they’re going to do with them in the future. I hope they let them out-gas a good long time. Between five and six tonight, lots of pickups returned from work. Electricians, carpenters, etc. are all down here to rebuild. One little girl outside the only other Airstream in the park ran inside to call her mom, “Daddy’s coming, I see his truck!” Life goes on in NOLA.

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The folks who own this spot had owned the land before Katrina hit, and went to work to put things right soon after. Crystal is a traveling nurse, and after a year of helping NOLA get back on its feet, needed to get away for a while. They’ve rented out their house, live in a fifth wheel here, and they hook up and move out when nursing jobs call. Her husband is working on expanding the park, putting in boat slips, and creating a great place for RVers to stay, for either work or fun. She’s helping out in the office. Just across the canal are boat works of various kinds, so it looks like it has a great future. We wish them luck with their dream.

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