Well, Gustav is now a not so distant memory and it's time for me and the rest of southern Louisiana to return to normal life. I think most residents attempted to return home yesterday but Erin and I decided to wait it out another day here in Olive Branch, MS while traffic dies down and power is fully restored. After all, we've got a free hotel room and no job until Monday. By the time you read this, hopefull we will have arrived home. Here are a few more random notes and musings about my interesting week that some of you might get some humor and/or interest from.
- Though some of you may think that North Mississippi is an expanse of farms and full of ignorant rednecks, it's really not. I was pleasantly surprised by this fact.
- Hurricane evacuations are a huge economic booster for the Memphis area.
- Beale Street in unimpressive. I may think that because I have the ability to walk down Bourbon Street any day of the week, but it pales in comparison. It's only two short blocks. It was, however, filled with displaced New Orleanians, a lot of whom were wearing Saints gear. It actually looked like we were all in town for a Titans game.
- Graceland is actually pretty cool. If you haven't been there, the house is probably much smaller than you imagine. It does, however, sit on a nice 13 acres of land in the middle of a less than impressive commercial area. Elvis bought it for $100,000 in the late 50's. The doctor he bought it from named it after his aunt Grace and Elvis decided to keep the name. Though it's decorated in an incredibly tacky manner, I actually LOVE IT! I would move in tomorrow. I don't know why, I just like that style. Shag carpeting, mirrored ceilings, old televisions and wood paneling. I'll take it all. I'm nuts, I know.
- The Peabody Hotel is freaking gorgeous. If you've got the money, stay there!
- Everyone here was very welcoming and friendly. Someone, either a random person or the staff, paid for Erin's parents entire meal at IHOP after learning they were from New Orleans. Graceland was offering special prices for residents of Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Other establishments had special's for evacuated residents as well.
- Displaced residents, in turn, we very nice to the locals. A few restaurant servers noted that they expected the displaced residents to be stressed out and moody but found just the opposite to be true.
- Listen carefully as I give you an incredibly wise investment tip. Buy land on Goodman Road in either Olive Brand or South Haven, MS! I'm serious about this. Buy it and hold on to it for five years. It will certainly be worth more. The place is booming as much as Las Vegas. For those of you from the New Orleans area, picture Veterans Blvd 30-40 years ago. It is a ten mile stretch of strip malls. I can't believe Donald Trump doesn't know about this place.
- This place is an entrepenuers dream! There is an O'Reilly Auto Parts, Waffle House, Walgreens, Kroger's and every chain restaurant you can think of every two miles. You think I'm exaggerating. I'm not.
- North Mississippi loves Mexican food! In the eight mile stretch from I-55 to our hotel, Erin and I counted, literally, eight Mexican restaurants.
- Beef O'Brady's, a restaurant chain that I have never heard of, has the best Buffalo wings this side of the Mason Dixon. They have that nice crispy skin that is hard to find anywhere in the south. I'm a big fan.
- I mention all the restaurants and I have to say, the food was surprisingly good. I ate my way through this area and was pretty impressed. Even the Thai food was good! I don't think people up here ever cook at home. There is no other way all of these places could possibly stay open.
- This really is the bible belt. As much as they love their Mexican food, they love God even more. There is a church on every corner, and they all look like they were built in the last five years.
- Randomly, there is a Tulane Road out here in the middle of nowhere.
- Tunica, MS is the Las Vegas of the mid-south. There are about four or five large casinos there. Erin and I went to Harrah's for the afternoon. I lost $100 playing blackjack.
- This was a good time for me to catch up on playing Wii. I am now awesome at Rock Band and Mario Kart.
I wanted to end by thanking everyone for their concern and support this week. The good side of people always finds its way out during times like these and reminds me that people aren't so bad after all. I know for a fact I have power at my apartment and I am sure at least by tomorrow evening so will the store. As interesting as this trip has been, I cannot wait to get back to New Orleans and, even more importantly, back in that dome on Sunday for what promises to be an awesome freaking game!