As you may or may not know, old man winter decided to flex his muscles this week. Considering 2006 was the warmest year on record, I guess he decided to start 2007 off a little differently.
The Dallas metroplex finally got hit in the past 48 hours with a blast of cold Arctic air and dropped the temps from 71 to 31 and below. As usual, instead of a lovely snow, our fair city is getting a dose of rain, sleet, ice and snow. So far, it's been ok but with the huge launch events next week, traveling from Dallas has been very worrisome for the Microsoft crew.
In fact, today might very well be the worst day for Dallas with ice accumulations expected above an inch. Now consider that the temp is currently hovering at 32 with ice pellets expected all day and night. This could very well be a travel show stopper Monday.
With all of that in mind, and having no control on what ice balls old man winter is going to hurl, Charles Van Heusen and I escaped Dallas yesterday afternoon. We got on the phone with American airlines and took the 6:35pm flight from Dallas to New Orleans.
Little did we know what was in store for us...
The flight left the gate on time. They always do. We did the 30 minute de-ice thing out on the runway tarmac. We took off and of course the captain comes on and says the ride is going to be bumpy and First Class passengers Keith Combs and Charles Van Heusen will not be served any "beverages" during flight. Drat. The flight was bumpy as he indicated. It wasn't too bad but Charles is sitting next to me and just a little skittish after his recent trip back from Hawaii. They almost did a "Lost" over the Pacific. After we made it over the cold front, it got gradually smoother as we approached New Orleans.
The approach was interesting. I've never seen a pilot do a spiral in a MD80 but we did. We did one 360 and I looked at Charles and said, "That was pretty kewl". Charles didn't think so of course. He looked like he was going to spew. Then we did another one. By the time we got done doing those circles, it appeared we bled off 10,000 or more feet. I could be wrong about that, but I've never seen an approach like this. The landing was uneventful and we got off the plan in a humid Louisiana 69 degree climate.
As we walked through the empty terminal, we realized the New Orleans football game was on and it was halftime. We also realized at that point we'd be driving right by the stadium they are playing in. Time to boogie.
So we boogie into downtown New Orleans. We have food and drink on our minds so we throw our stuff in the hotel room, and head to our favorite local haunt, Gordon Biersch Brewery. The hotel next door, Harrah's, is finally complete so as we walk the block to it and round the corner, we suddenly realize they've opened the courtyard between the two buildings.
In the courtyard, there are 300 New Orleans fans there to greet us. In fact, the restaurant has rented a bunch of high definition plasma TV's and projectors for the crowd. They have a 20 foot screen setup and of course the crowd is going nuts watching the game. Our arrival is right at the 14:00 minute mark in the fourth quarter.
As you might suspect, the beer, food and drinks are flowing so we wade into the crowd and get into the spirited "Who Dat?" chants. The New Orleans Saints don't disappoint the crowd and coach their way through the fourth quarter for the dramatic nail biting win.
The crowd goes nuts!!!
At a rather quick pace, the restaurant starts to empty as people close their tabs and bolt. I'm thinking, "Where the hell is everyone going?" knowing all to well what the probable answer is. Surely they aren't all going to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street...
Oh yes they are!!!
The city erupted in a blare of honking horns, chants, and general merriment. We avoided Bourbon Street. If you have never been there, last night would have been a good indoctrination into the wonders that is Bourbon Street. We saw some live shots on the plasma screens and I just looked at Charles and grinned. 100,000 people going nuts on screen.
I don't know what the actual number of people there actually was, but it looked like Mardi Gras on steroids. Pandemonium for sure. Guys and girls gone wild. 🙂
Congratulations New Orleans!!! You deserve it!!!