Archive for New Orleans

Today is D Day

Over the weekend I made my annual trip to New Orleans for the D Day useum “festivities”.  I know…I need to stop calling it the D Day Museum and change to The National WWII Museum.

This year there were lots of people in attendance. Not too many vets, which of course makes sense.

They keep expanding the museum.  This year they dedicated the Restoration Pavilion, “where visitors will be able to see first-hand the techniques that conservators use to repair and restore boats, vehicles, weapons, military equipment and other artifacts.”

It’s typical of their festivities to have speaker A speak, then introduce speaker B, who speaks for a long time and then introduce speaker C, who speaks for a long time and then introduce speaker D, who speaks for a long time and then …

And this goes on and on and I’m bored by the time they finally getting around to the actual dedication.

Last year was the 10th anniversary of the museum, so they decided to have a Roll Call of all the vets and people who worked on the home front. I think the speakers before the long Roll Call took an hour!  I got bored. I don’t care that a certain politician or Armed Forces bigwig can’t make it, so they send someone to speak on their behalf (and they speak for more than 2 minutes). Lets get to the Heros!

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New Orleans

I’ve been to New Orleans quite a few times, so there will be NO photos and color commentary, simply because I have enough photos.

I’ve been coming here each year for the last 8 years, and probably at least 10 times before that.  I came here June 2006 after Katrina, when most buildings were still boarded up, the restaurants that were open were open every other day in order to share employees, and there were people at just a few tables at Cafe Du Monde.

It’s been interesting to watch the progression of each year there are less boarded up buildings, and more tourists. 

I had read on April 29th:

Residents throughout the New Orleans area on Thursday reported an oily odor apparently coming from the spill, which was more than 90 miles from the Crescent City.

I have a sensitive nose, and can report that there is NO oily smell here.  Side Note: there does seem to be Oil-Spill-News-All-The-Time on TV here.

Overheard waiting at a light to cross the street:

Is it just me, or does it smell more like puke than the previous times we’ve been here?
Maybe it’s due to the high humidity…nothing is whisking the smell away.
[I wanted to bring up wind/breeze and whiskiness, and also the fact that New Orleans ALWAYS has high humidity.]

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D Day Museum – Sunday

Sunday was D Day, however, the “big” day at the Museum was Saturday with the Roll Call. There was a very nice crowd, but maybe only 10% of the vets in attendance, as compared to Saturday.

For $10, I saw the film “Beyond All Boundaries” which is a 4D film. Before the film started there was a very well done pre-film narration by Tom Hanks, recapping what led up to the both wars [Pacific and European], up until December 7th.

I’ve never seen a 3D film let alone a 4D one.  I got a little nauseous as they “spun” the earth going back and forth between the 2 wars.   To me, it would have been better to have 2 films…one for each war.  NOT solely due to the earth spinning, but I think it’s easier for novices to follow along when they are discussing one war at a time.

About the theatre and 4D:

* The screen is 120′ wide

* Uses 9 digital projectors [9 different screens, thus creating the 3D effect]

* 27 speakers [VERY loud, even when just music is playing]

* The seat shakes as a tank goes by, when planes fly overhead, as a carrier gets hit by a kamikaze pilot, when the atomic bomb explodes

* Snow [soap bubbles] fall from the sky during The Battle of the Bulge

* Smell of fire during the burning of cities in Japan and when the atomic bomb explodes

I enjoyed the 4D experience, but I wouldn’t go again.

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D Day Museum – Saturday

The D Day Museum today was packed! Nice to see so many people, especially those under 25. Today might have been the most people I’ve seen at the Museum. I remember the year after Katrina, there literally was myself and maybe 10 other people [besides all the volunteers]. So…this is good!

For me, the highlight today was supposed to be the “roll call”, where they call each state and people stand up and someone from the state says something/gives an anecdote.

Foolish me, This one really passed me by. I didn’t realize that there would be an hour of speakers beforehand. It would have been OK if vets were the ones who got up and said something, but instead it was the [sponsor] Chevron’s PR person and the museum President/Board of Trustees people… And then a vet from Iraq/Afghanistan held us hostage for probably 25 minutes, the highlight of which is him repeating over and over again in a deadpan voice: I love you.


Oh, they did make their “big announcement”, including a banner: that WWII vets now have FREE admission. Round of applause. I still think that it’s embarrassing that they have been charging them. They should have kept the change hush hush and just told the ticket takers, instead of making a big production out of it.

Saddest non vet story: I was going thru the Pacific Theater and there is a flag with 48 stars on it. A 16 yo young man next to me asked his dad why the flag only has 48 stars…where’s the other 2? Maybe I should be appreciative that he knows that there are now 50 stars.

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New Orleans

Ah…New Orleans. The humidity. The smell of cigarette smoke, urine and puke. Cock roaches.

The D Day Museum here in New Orleans is celebrating their 10 year anniversary this weekend, which coincides with D Day: June 6th. I fly into town each year to give thanks to the men and women who put their lives on hold in order to be involved (in any way) in the war.

The museum is truly a class act, top notch museum, and the volunteers really seem to care. It started off being just the D Day Museum (the European Theater), but then the warehouse across the street became available for sale, so they decided to buy the land and expand the museum to include the Pacific Theater, therefore becoming the first and only World War II Museum in the states.

Since D Day falls on a Sunday this year, there are festivities/activities both Saturday and Sunday.

According to my memory (unsure what reality is), seems to me that two years ago there were less than 20 vets attending. Last year was a big anniversary of D Day (65 years) and the place was hopping with people and lots of youth groups. I believe close to 300 vets were in attendance.

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National World War II Museum Charges for WWII Vets!

Outrageous! I’m shocked and saddened that they have been charging any vet admission, let alone a WWII vet.

On Saturday, June 5th, this top notch museum will make the “big announcement” of their new policy of FREE admission to WWII vets [yes, I’m spoiling this]. HOWEVER, the free admission is only through the end of this year!

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New Orleans, LA and Bay St Louis and Biloxi, Mississippi

June 6, 2008


On Friday morning I headed into New Orleans.  It was 8.30 am and 92’.  And of course humid.


My main goal of the day was to go to the D Day Museum in New Orleans.  Actually, they have re-named it the National World War II Museum.  I will write this up later, since it will take me a little time, and I want to get this out.


After the Museum, I headed east along I-10 then onto hiway 90, to go along the coast of MS and view the hurricane damage. 


I must say, that coming into and out of New Orleans, I drove over more bridges than I ever have.  I guess it is all swamp, so the interstate is up over the swamp and officially a bridge.  I guess that is what they would be called.  No matter what, it’s quite some infrastructure they had to build.  East of New Orleans toward Slidell they are building new roads/bridges [apparently to replace existing ones] and it was quite an impressive sight with hundreds of …can’t think of what they are called besides “legs”…in place for as far as I could see.  It just went on and on and on.


Just after this, I-10 is called the Stephen Ambrose Memorial Highway.


I stopped in Bay St Louis, MS.  I pulled over so I could check the water out.  It was what most people would consider way too warm, but I thought it was just right.  So, I put my bathing suit on and went it.  I then got my low lawn chair and rosemary triscuits [sp?] out and sat under a huge old tree that took a pounding and just watched the world go by while eating my triscuits.


Along the water, about half the houses have been fixed back up.  Same for their little downtown area.  I saw one house, which was, let’s say, 10 blocks from the water…so no water view.  It was a big house and zero has been done to it – it needs to be demolished. For sale for $395k.


Then I drove along 90 towards Biloxi.  I saw one corner lot across the road from 90 [unobstructive view of the water], for sale for $595k.


It looks like 75% the area along the coast has been rebuilt.  And when they rebuild, they are building the big, fancy homes and condos.  So, it is the 2 extremes…fancy vs nothing done yet.  The trees def look weather beaten, but unsure if that is due to the hurricanes vs constant, daily pounding by the wind.  The trees all seem “short”…probably 30’ tall.  I don’t know my trees, so can’t tell you what kind they are.  They are also planting a lot of palm trees along 90.


There seems to be a Waffle House every 2 miles.


I decided to stay in Biloxi, in a hotel on the water.  At dusk I went out to the beach.  There was only one other woman there.  It’s Friday nite, finding a room was tough, and NO ONE is on the beach.  So, I went over to ask her …what’s the deal?  Am I missing something?


She was wondering the same thing.  We got to talking and really hit it off.  Her name is Sylvia, and her hubby Kevin, and daughters Caroline and Laura were in the water.  I look out, and about 200m out, there is a man walking with water up to mid calf.  And there are 2 little heads coming out of the water.  They are walking in, and he looks like a giant walking on water.  I asked her what in the world is he standing on.  She said he’s not, the water is that shallow.  Then how old – and tall – are your daughters?  Come to find out, there were on boogey boards lying down, which is why I could only see their heads.  When they stood, they too looked like they were walking on water.


So, we all hit is off and I spent the evening talking and hanging out with them.  They were very delightful. 

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