New Orleans

The Elk’s Lodge in Metairie, Louisiana would be our home base for visiting Karen’s uncle and his girlfriend in New Orleans.  We arrived in time to a full house of Elk members enjoying a New Orleans Saints football game.  We were one of two RV’s parked at the Lodge and as we checked in we learned that the Lodge rents out its large parking lot to movie production companies filming in the New Orleans area…and we were told that although they’d come in overnight they’d leave us plenty of room to come and go during our stay.

Then, somewhere in the wee hours of the morning, we awoke to the sound of activity around our RV.  A quick peak out the window revealed dozens of semi trailers, trucks and a bee-hive of workers moving into the parking lot, laying power cables and neatly organizing a movie production lot complete with dressing rooms, prop and costume trailers and a large catering operation.  By morning the entire operation was in full swing…and as promised, a neat layout that allowed us to come and go with ease.

The production being filmed is a 10-episode  series, On Becoming a God in Central Florida,  premiering on YouTube Premium, the latest in a host of streaming channels like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.   The series will tell the true story of an Orlando area amusement park worker who created a multi-billion dollar pyramid scheme.

Then, one afternoon two days later, after filming in the area, the entire production facility picked up left us alone in the parking lot.  Pretty amazing thing to see.

Our first stop in New Orleans was the National World War II Museum.  The museum is easily a two-day ticket with 5 separate pavilions:

  1. Louisiana Memorial Pavilion – the Museum’s original pavilion, which features the institution’s newest permanent exhibit that tells the story of the war experienced on the Home Front. The building also includes the Museum’s original D-Day exhibit, macro-artifacts, special temporary exhibits, and the L.W. “Pete” Kent Train Car Experience
  2. Solomon Victory Theatre – the epic story of World War II in the exclusive 4D experience Beyond All Boundaries, narrated by Tom Hanks.
  3. Campaign’ of Courage:  European and Pacific Theatres – The galleries serve as an immersive timeline and provide a service member’s view of the war.
  4. US Freedom Pavilion:  The Boeing Center – Exhibits describe the history and production of war machines and honor service in every branch of the military.
  5. John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion – up-close view at some of the Museum’s extensive collection of macro-artifacts, and learn how STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) helped solve some of World War II’s toughest problems.

We spent the entire day at the Museum and couldn’t see all there was to experience.  A special treat was the Bob Hope exhibit depicting this Hollywood icon’s contribution to entertaining the troops.

Why is a landing craft shown in the picture below?  Follow this link to find out.

The remainder of our enjoyable time in New Orleans included a visit to the New Orleans Museum of Art Sculpture Garden, a walk through the French Quarter and lunch at the famous Commander’s Palace restaurant in the Garden District.  Truly an enjoyable time with family in this historic city.

Tamales and the Blues in Greenville

Our next stop after Little Rock was going to be New Orleans but we decided to overnight in Greenville, Mississippi to break the trip.  Our overnight was at the Washington County Convention Center, a huge facility just outside town with water and 50 amp electric.

It didn’t take long to decide we’d spend an extra day exploring Greenville since we’d happened upon the Delta Hot Tamale Festival held annually in mid October.  This 3 day weekend features local and regional art, music and tamale makers from around the south.

The history of the hot tamale in the Mississippi Delta reaches back to at least the early twentieth century.  Some hypothesize that tamales made their way to the Delta when migrant laborers from Mexico arrived to work the cotton harvest.  African Americans who labored alongside Mexican migrants recognized the basic tamale ingredients:  corn meal and port.  Others maintain that the Delta history with tamales goes back to the U.S.-Mexican War one hundred years earlier, when U.S. soldiers traveled to Mexico and brought tamale recipes home with them.  Others still argue that tamales date to the Mississippian culture of mound-building Native Americans.

The music of the Delta embraced the tamale as early as 1928 when Reverend Moses Mason, recording as Red Hot Ole Moses, cut “Molly Man”.   Then, Legendary Robert Johnson’s “They’re Red Hot” in 1936 furthered the link between tamales and the blues!

Another Greenville landmark was our choice for dinner after getting the RV parked.  Doe’s Eat Place was established in 1941 by Dominick “Bid Doe” Signa and his wife, Mamie.  Doe’s father moved to Greenville in 1903 and opened a grocery store in the building that now serves as the restaurant.  At first Signa ran a honky-tonk,  strictly for blacks, in the front part of the store.  Because of racial segregation it was socially unacceptable for whites to come into Doe’s.  When a local white doctor began to stop at Doe’s for a meal between house calls, Doe would serve him steaks in the rear of the store.  As word-of-mouth spread about the steaks Doe decided to start a restaurant in the rear of the building.  The restaurant has been racially integrated since the beginning and is still run from the building in which it started…a relatively small and shabby building in the middle of a downscale neighborhood.

The menu is simple….Hot Tamales (get them with homemade chili), house salad, steaks (the Porterhouse is more than enough for 2) and fried or boiled shrimp both served with homefries!

After dinner we headed over to the Walnut Street Blues Bar.

Next morning found us taking in the Festival in downtown Greenville.  It seems most of the town turned out to listen to music on several stages set up around town, eat hot tamales and browse crafts and local art.  Sometimes the most enjoyable parts of an RV adventure are the things and people you simple stumble upon while making your way down the road.

BBQ and Blues

Jazz and Blues…an American music tradition. BBQ…an American food tradition…Kansas City has both and our evening at BB’s Lawnside BBQ did not disappoint.

I had the Burned Ends Dinner and Karen had Memphis Minnie’s’ Smoked Catfish. Both wonderful!

The highlight was young Taylor Swift and the Taylor Swift Band.