Respiratory Infection

Do you remember that low, guttural “Urrrrrggghhhh” sound that Lurch used to make on The Addams Family? Well, that sound is how I’ve felt since late Tuesday, when I started to feel some slight congestion in my chest and developed a small cough. Despite my taking Airborne before my flight out here, keeping my hands washed and wiping down surfaces here in the hotel room and at work with antibacterial wipes, as well as doubling up on my vitamins at the first hint of possible illness, something has broken through my defenses and caused a respiratory infection.

The blame, according to a co-worker, is the “Louisiana air.”

Granted, I have not been entirely impressed with New Orleans in the few days I have been here, but I’m not quite ready to blame the air in this state for my chest cold.

Anyway, between full workdays and this cold I have not had time to post here. I’m off today, but the cold has kept me in my room and in my bed. I get up for a few minutes to read or send e-mail, then go lie back down for a while. Repeat. Now I’m trying to stay up long enough to post this.

Going to work each day as the sun rises and returning to the hotel room after dark has limited my view of New Orleans to not much more than their road system. I have a theory as to how the design process occurred. Someone grabbed a huge handful of cooked spaghetti, dropped it on the ground, looked at the ensuing tangle of pasta and said, “Let’s build a road system that looks like that!”

And so they did.

And, if driving on the Huey P. Long Bridge twice each day is any indication, they used thin spaghetti.

I thought I got used to driving on narrow roadways after motoring around Scotland and France, but at least on those narrow roads there were strategically placed “pull offs” you could move onto when opposing traffic was approaching. Granted, on the Huey P. Long Bridge the two lanes on each side are going the same direction, but the lanes are so narrow that if two SUV’s attempted to ride side by side with one in each lane, you’d be hard pressed to see 6 inches of daylight between them. The first morning I drove over the length of this bridge I had to peel my hands off the steering wheel when I reached the other side. I’ve since learned to try and stagger my compact (thank you, thank you, thank you for a compact car this time) car’s position in the empty spots between other vehicles so that we’re never driving side by side, but sometimes there’s an idiot who wants to race by and is weaving in and out of the two lanes we’re alloted. I look dubiously at the rusted railings on each side and wonder if they will hold when my car hits them or if I’ll take the 135 foot plunge into the Mississippi River.

I have my doubts.

If you’ve ever driven across the Huey P. Long, then you know I’m exaggerating a little. The two lanes are a pretty standard 9 feet (each) in width. I think it’s just the knowledge that if you go over the rail it’s along way down. Supposedly there is a widening project in the works to change the bridge into three lanes that are 11 feet (each) in width going each direction.

In addition to the maze-like tangle of roadways, I’ve found that a good amount of streets are not blessed with signs identifying them by name. I don’t know if this is a not-yet-repaired problem resulting from Katrina or if it’s meant to add to the city’s charm. I’d have to offer the opinion that if it’s the latter, it’s not having the desired effect. I’ve gotten lost a couple of times and probably will again if I go somewhere unfamiliar.

Anyway, I’m off work tomorrow and Monday (Veteran’s Day, observed), so I hope on one of those days I feel well enough to go visit the French Quarter and take some photos during the day and maybe hit a couple of jazz clubs at night. I only have those 2 days to do it because in the latter part of next week I’m moving to an office in Lake Charles, La. which is about 200 miles west of New Orleans, near the Texas border.

Back to bed for a while.


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