Leaving Iowa I was surprised by how gigantic the country is and how much of it looks the same to me. That was how I felt driving from Freiburg to Paris. I was carpooling with a guy delivering German language Vogue magazines for weekend sale in the city. To get to Paris we drove through Verdun. It was hard to imagine that on those peaceful hills that looked so much like the Midwest one of the bloodiest battles in history was fought.
About a hundred miles outside of New Orleans I-55 abruptly emerged from cedar forests into wetlands. The interstate stands twenty feat above swamp and mossy forest and up there you're fully exposed to the sun and the sky. It was wholly different from any place I've ever been before.
I'm living in the 7th Ward in a very poor neighborhood and, as far as I can tell, I'm the only white guy here. I have not been in the city yet 24 hours and so I'm still overwhelmed. My landlord, saint that he is, took me out to dinner and introduced me to the neighbors. The neighborhood spirit does feel familiar, even if the houses do not and the only shade doesn't come from trees but power lines.
I've got a map. My roommate knows where all the local branches of the library are. People are beginning to know my name. It seems that several have heard about me already and know me as "the grant writer." My first meal in New Orleans was catfish and I was shocked that someone had figured out a way of making it taste good.
The heat, though infamous, is not that bad. It could get worse, but I'll enjoy this oven while it lasts.
End of thought, for the time being.