Date: 4/8/2003 10:21:27 AM Pacific Standard Time
This is one of my all time best stories. I had left Gonzales and had no idea where I was going to stay that evening. I had not made any phone calls or any contacts, but was just out "winging it" that day, seeing what would happen. I've learned long ago on this trip that the days that are the least planned usually contain the most suprises, and this day definetly proved my theory correct.
I walked about 9 miles and came upon a Visitor's Center. I went inside and started visiting with the 2 ladies there. I told them what I was doing, and asked them if they could think of any places that I could spend the night at, such as a church, or a fire station, or a camp ground. They were trying to think of a place when one of them said "how about the police station?" I said "sure, call them up and ask if I can pitch a tent behind the police station." The other lady said "I have a better idea" and next thing I knew she was calling up the local hospital! She told them what I was doing, and that I was looking for a place to spend the night. They said to send me to them. Eleven miles later I found River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace, LA. I went inside to the receptionist and asked for the Director of Nurses. She came, and I was pretty nervous about staying at a hospital! I told her that I could just sleep in a chair out in the waiting
room, and she said no, that they had plenty of room for me. I then suggested that she let me roll my sleeping bag out in a storage room, so as not to use up a hospital room, and again she said no, that that would be fine. She then took me down the hall and gave me my own private room -- in the OB Unit!! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be spending the night in the OB Unit of a hospital during this trip, but yep, that's what I did!!
After I settled in I called my mom up, and in a real raspy voice I said "Mom, I've been hurt. I'm in the hospital. I don't know -- somewhere in Louisiana. They've got me on morphine. I can't talk now. I gotta go" and hung up. Then I called her right back and said "by the way -- I'm in the OB Unit!" Mom said I should name my baby Osmosis!!!
The 3 nurses there thought the whole thing was absolutely hilarious, and they were amazed about my walk. I had done 24 miles that day, and sure liked the idea of taking it easy that night, but the nurses made the evening a lot of fun. They gave me a certificate that has a picture of a mama bunny holding a baby bunny, and it says "Congratulations!"
My Name: Osmosis Brown Room: 163
Sex: F My birthdate: 3/30/03 Time: 5:15 pm
Birthweight: 300 lbs 6 oz (the size of my cart!)
Mother's Doctor: Dr. Gogetter
My Doctor: Dr Miracle
The OB Unit was empty that eveinig. They had just sent home 3 babies that morning, but when I arrived I was the only one there. They let me eat supper for free in the cafeteria and breakfast again the next morning. One of the nurses lives in New Orleans, and she hauled my cart home with her and kept it for almost 3 days, until I got situated in New Orleans and then she brought it to me. So for the next couple days I just backpacked. But staying overnight at the hospital in the OB unit will always stand out as one of my most memorable events -- and surely the most expensive place I've stayed so far! (What does it cost nowadays, anyway?)
Date: 4/8/2003 7:57:40 PM Pacific Standard Time
When I left the hospital I walked around 16 miles to the outskirts of New Orleans, near the airport. Since my cart had been hauled away and I only had a few items in my backpack, I found a motel that let me stay for $20. I figured the next day I'd only have a few miles to go to get into New Orleans, but as it turned out I discovered that it was 18 miles from the airport down to the French Quarters!
Because of someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who was on the board of directors at Entergy (the big power company here,) Entergy sponsered me for 3 nights in New Orleans, and they made reservations for me to stay 3 nights at the New Orleans Grande Hotel, right down at the French Quarters on Canal St. I got to stay in a suite on the 15th floor and my room had a wet bar. When I checked in at the front desk, they said they needed a $50 deposit for incidentals. I asked "what incidentals?" and they said it was for the phone and for the wet bar. I told them to not turn the phone on and that I wouldn't touch the wet bar. They said they still needed the deposit. I told them I only had $40 to my name, and they gave me a so-what-are-you-doing-here type of look, and the manager said I still needed to pay at least $25, which left me $15. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was a blessing in disguise. I knew I
wouldn't use the phone or wet bar, so I was assured that I'd still have $25 when I was ready to leave. Likewise, if it was still in my pocket it would've been spent. I had several $5 gift certificates for places like Taco Bell, Wendy's, and Burger King -- and all those places were located right across the street. Also, Entergy payed for breakfast for each of the 3 days I was there, so in the morning I ate like a starved man and in the evening it was fast-foods.
I had a wonderful time in the French Quarters. The weather was beautiful, and the history, culture and traditions are alive and well down there. I really enjoyed all the musicians, and also all the wroght iron "lace balconies" along Royal Street. Jackson Square lies right in the heart of the French Quarters, and St Louis Cathedral, which dominates the square, is the oldest cathedral in the nation. The Cabildo, located next to the cathedral, served as the seat of government for France, Spain, the Confederacy and the US, and this is where the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803. I also enjoyed browsing through Americas oldest continuously operated public market, the French Market. All the tourist traps and souvenier shops were great, but again, my favorite part was all the musicians playing on the street corners. The music varied from gospel, rythem and blues, rock and roll and jazz, jazz, and more jazz. I was also able to go to the Aquarium
of the Americas for free, and also take a paddlewheel riverboat ride down the mighty Mississippi for free.
It was also just days away from the big Final Four NCAA Basketball Championship, and Kansas University was one of the Final Four teams. One of my friends from Kansas asked me to get her a Final Four t-shirt, and let me tell you, that was one tough job!! Not that you couldn't find them -- they were on sale EVERYWHERE. It's just that they were going for $20 and I only had $15. I was finally able to talk one down to $10, and then spent $4 to mail it so she could have it before the game. So much for my $15 of spending money! I had a great time in New Orleans, and after 3 days there I headed out of town.
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