New Orleans is worth a long daytrip

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I want to tell you about New Orleans today. You may want to consider New Orleans as a weekend vacation spot. Be sure to go over there with a camera or video recorder in hand. You can drive to New Orleans East in three hours, 15 minutes. Take a left at the first exit just past the old Jazz Land site. I believe this was later called Five Flags — or is it Six Flags? Travel down into Chalmette and Airabi. As you enter those eastern communities you will see Katrina damaged and abandoned homes and businesses. You will also see new developments in process too.

While there, take a right on either Judge Perez or St. Bernard Highway and drive right into the city. Park your car and take a streetcar ride on scenic St. Charles Avenue. Make another connection and ride out to Audubon Park, the sprawling zoo. There, you will see hundreds of animals roaming in a very becoming habitat.

Stay away from places like Bourbon Street, which is filled with “sophisticated dives.” Instead, visit Jackson Square and see a statue of Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. He was one of the greatest Dixieland Jazz artists of all time. A native of the Crescent City, he recorded hundreds of songs that are still popular today.

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Do not forget to visit the huge aquarium, too.
Have a nice meal on one of the steamboat restaurants that takes you on short dinner trips up and down the Mississippi River, providing you a spectacular view of the city. You may be surprised to learn you can visit these places and still be back at home the next day.
A location that has been very popular here lately is the NCIS New Orleans movie set, just off Bourbon Street.

From 1979 to 2005, I have flown out of this city numerous times in connection with my work. I used Southwest Airlines because of its low fares. In 1982, I commuted from Atmore to Houston, Texas. Leaving home at 4 a.m., I drove to New Orleans, boarded my plane to Houston Hobby, rented my car, worked half dozen flood claims, and returned home by midnight. I wrote up my losses and went back to Houston three days later to work another batch of flood losses. By the way, that 1982 round trip fare from New Orleans to Houston was $39.

Now, let us take a look at some local events from 1975.
Mr. Lorenza Conway of Canoe was feted with a gala birthday party, which drew over 100 friends and relatives. He was 99 years old.

Burt Shell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Shell, was selected as a junior varsity cheerleader at the University of Alabama. The ECHS grad was at sophomore at UA.

International Paper Company opened up 41,000 acres of land for hunters. Some acreage had free hunting permits, but a few tracts required a fee. Most of the land was located north of I-65.

Clyde Helton, who was president of the Escambia County Cattleman’s Association, was selected County Beef Production Chairman.

Gary Flavors, a popular police officer with the city, completed degree requirements at the Police Academy in Bay Minette. He was a 1968 graduate of Escambia County Training School.

Phil Rawls, the Atmore Advance news editor, resigned his position to take an editorial job with The Montgomery Advertiser. He left that position a few years ago for a position with The Associated Press. He has a writing style that is second to none. By the way, Phil retired from his work with AP a few weeks ago.

Area residents were saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Sennie Chapman. The popular optometrist was in business here for over 30 years.

Another prominent citizen, Fred George, also passed away that year. He was in the hardware business here for a number of years.

Curtis Forester was named Escambia County (Fla.) Farm and Home Administrator of the Year. Carol Dixon and Barbara Dickerson, his two office assistants, were also recognized for their contributions to this office.
Former local pastor, Rev. Cameron Bryant, raised two enormous pumpkins in his home garden. A photo of his fruits (or is it vegetables?) was carried in The Advance and The Mobile Press Register.

Finally, square dancing was popular to many here. A group called The Escambia Square had regular dances and drew couples from several counties. Some of the locals included Chuck and Linda Laue, Jimmy and Earlene Biggs, Jack and Catherine Edmund, Raymond and Dianne Jerkins, Ray and Myrna Hodgen, Vickie and Jamie Black, Chery and Marie Blackwater, Joe and Louise Day and Daphne Sims. Lamar Fillingim was the “main caller” of the dances.

You can email Lowell McGill at