That morning, we got up and saw NOLA one last time. I actually was on a mission to pick up a coffee mug from Cafe Du Monde because it was closed the day before. We ventured all the way back into the French Quarter to retrieve my prize. Because we had walked SO much the day before, we absolutely could not walk back to the hotel, so we took a street car most of the way back. While waiting for the street car, we met a family who told us it was their tradition to come to NOLA during Mardi Gras! They said that they would camp on Canal Street and get a good spot. Also, the people throwing the necklaces would throw them so hard, their foreheads would be sore the next day! Crazy!
Then we got back on the road, headed toward Jackson, MS, which is where my Grandmother and Aunt live. As a detour, we stopped by Gulfport, MS so that Jack could touch the waters of the Gulf. It was an interesting place. It looked to be a pretty busy place while we were taking Highway 49 down to the gulf. We eventually found us a place on the beach–it was a little strip of sand just off the road. The water wasn’t the cleanest–looked like there was some seaweed in it and was pretty murky. There also seemed to be an oil operation nearby. I had been in the gulf before, so I had no desire to get in that water. Jack, on the other hand, was like a little kid learning how to ride a bike…he was super excited to be in the Gulf for the first time. We walked out on to this free municipal pier and met some folks catching some fish. After seeing the place and walking a bit on the beach, we decided to get back on the road.
We drove from the start of Highway 49 at the southernmost point of Gulfport all the way up to Jackson. Along the way, we wanted to make a few stops in Hattiesburg, MS. One reason we wanted to stop there is because that is where my Dad lived for a long time. We went by their old house, and sure enough, it was still there! I showed it to my Grandmother, Aunt, and Dad afterwards, and they were so excited to see that picture! They said it brought back so many memories.
Another reason to stop in Hattiesburg–college campuses! We also wanted to see the University of Southern Mississippi, which is where my Grandfather taught for awhile. It was a very nice campus. According to my Grandmother, a tornado came through about 5 or so years back, and the reason a lot of it looked so nice is because they had to rebuild quite a bit of it due to damage from the tornado.
We also stopped by William Carey University, where Jack thought about going to Medical School…such a small campus compared to all that we’ve seen.
After getting back on the road, we ended up driving through Mendenhall, MS, which is where my Great Grandmother lived for a long time. We didn’t stop by her old house, but we drove through. I did see a water tower that I seemed to have a memory of from the 1 or 2 times that we visited her house growing up.
We finally arrived at my Grandmother’s house a bit later, and it was so good to see them! My aunt was also there, and it was really great to catch up with them! One funny story…we were having burgers for dinner, and my aunt said that I might actually have to grill the burgers, even as the guest!! She was joking, but it was because my uncle does not have gas at home, only charcoal! So he wasn’t used to grilling on a gas grill. He grilled them anyway, and they still turned out delicious!