A few weeks ago my daughter and I played hooky and went to New Orleans for a weekend of beignets and Jazz Fest. (For those of you who haven’t been, two words: “Trombone Shorty”). It was to be a quick visit – only three days. As a result, I had planned our visit with the precision of the Normandy Invasion. Our airline, however, didn’t share my priorities and when we arrived in Houston at 11:30 pm we had missed our connecting flight. Worse yet, the next flight we could book would not arrive in New Orleans until the following evening.
As I tried to control my blood pressure by going to “my happy place” while looking for late night lodgings, my daughter approached me and said: “Let’s drive.”
And, that’s what we did.
We rented a car and drove I-10 through the warm, humid southern night, past the refineries of Houston, through Eastern Texas and into the bayous of Louisiana. For seven hours we motored through the darkness just talking. A father and his daughter. Near Lake Charles, I introduced her to the characters you only meet at 2 am over breakfast at The Waffle House. In a run down “Tiger” gas station near Grosse Tete we pumped gas and watched a caged Bengal tiger pace it’s cage in the darkness, 30 feet away. As we drove, we passed exit signs to places like De Ridder and Opelousas – towns I had passed through two years earlier during a long bike ride.
And somewhere along the way, I decided that I felt like writing again.