Friday, August 31, 2007

Road Hazards

A couple of Tuesdays ago we decided to spend the night at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi. The Beau Rivage is a beautiful place, perhaps the fanciest hotel in the whole state of Mississippi and it's officially the tallest building in the state.

Constructed in 1999 by Mirage Resorts, then owned by Las Vegas' Steve Wynn, it was soon was acquired by MGM through the merger of MGM Grand Inc. and Mirage Resorts, Inc. in 2000.

All of Biloxi's beach resorts, and most of the city, were badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina. All of the casinos were destroyed and the hotels unusable. The Beau Rivage re-opened in August 2006, exactly one year after Katrina.

We decided to go over and spend the night to help support the revived tourist economy. Also the Beau Rivage Casino had offered us a free room for the night in their luxury hotel.

"Why don't we drive over early and go to New Orleans for lunch?"

Commander's Palace Restaurant, New Orleans, LouisianaSo we called ahead and made a reservation at the justifiably famous Commander's Palace on the corner of Washington Avenue and Coliseum Street in the Garden District.

I should have read my horoscope it must have warned that it was a bad day for travel. On the way over the traffic was terrible. It was congested and erratic, wildly fast and then slow.
Wide load ahead
In Mississippi we found ourselves at the end of a long line of cars and trucks. There was a wide load ahead. The widest wide load ever. It was the roof for a pre-fab house and it was fully two lanes wide. The pilot truck was making the oversize truck drive in the ditch long enough for one vehicle to pass by, then the wide load would resume driving down the middle of the two-lane highway. At last we got around it. Very scary.

Then as we entered New Orleans' French Quarter, nearly at the restaurant, all five inbound lanes stopped and we sat -- moving ahead one car length at a time. -- for about 20 minutes. There had been a multi-car accident ahead of us and it took a while to clear the road. When we got going again we got to the restaurant too early and spent about 30 minutes driving around the narrow streets of the scenic Garden District looking at the old homes. Very Anne Rice.

At Commander's Palace, quietly in command of the reception desk was the very recognizable Ti Martin, daughter of Ella Brennan. We arrived at 1:00 P.M. and the dining room was nearly full of happy customers and lots of very attentive staff. Great food and great service. Jack had their famous turtle soup, I had their gumbo. For the main course Jack had a grilled filet salad and I also had a salad, mine topped with crisp fried oysters. For dessert we had their signature bread pudding.

By the time we left it was really getting hot and humid. The temperature was 95 degrees and the heat index was 115. After a long wait for the valet parking guy he came running back to say the car won't start. Dead battery.

Of course -- a half-hour stuck in the traffic jam and another slowly driving around the Garden District looking at the old houses -- keeping the air conditioner on for so long at slow speed had drained the battery. The people at Commander's Palace were very helpful. We called the Auto Club but they were very slow so some gardeners spotted us waiting in the hot sun and gave us a jump start.

By 3:30 we were on our way out of town and got to the hotel and a beautiful room about 5:00 p.m.

Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi

1 comment:

HawaiiVacationGifts said...

Thank goodness for the auto club! I am so glad to see that you are in the posting mood again now that summer is over.