Excerpts from My Travel Journal.
NEW ORLEANS, LA — I had lunch in the Crescent’s dining car coming here from Washington. A man in his mid-40s was seated across from me when the train stopped in an attractive town. Lips curled and jaw set, my lunch companion peered out the window. “Tuscaloosa, Alabama,” he muttered softly under his breath and through clenched teeth. ”Home of the world’s most obnoxious football fans.” He was from Louisiana and an LSU fan.
Once again, I paid for an extra night in this fascinating city so I could make another visit to the National WW2 Museum during the day and have a sensational meal that night at Irene’s Cuisine. (above) The food is nothing short of superb and well worth whatever it was I paid for an extra day and night in this fascinating city.
.On the way to the Amtrak station the next morning, I asked the cab driver, an older black gentleman , if he was a local person. “Born and raised,” he said.
.“Then I guess you were here for Hurricane Katrina,” I said.
.The driver stomped on the brake, bringing the cab to an jolting halt in the middle of an intersection. He swiveled around in his seat and stared back at me. “That bitch stole every damn thing I owned,” he snarled. “And here I am today, 81 years old and drivin’ a damn taxi!”
.We passed the rest of the trip in silence. At the Amtrak station, I paid the fare and tipped him $20.
The Sunset Limited was about a half hour behind schedule when we left San Antonio last night. I woke up this morning a few minutes past 6:00 o’clock, just as we were leaving Del Rio. Ninety minutes later, back in my roomette after breakfast in the dining car, the train slows and there’s a subtle change in the track noise as we roll out onto the New Pecos River Bridge. The bridge itself is some 265 feet above the river and 374 feet long. Also of interest if not concern, the New Pecos River Bridge is 76 years old. We made it and, for the record, we are now West of the Pecos.