23.06.2015 - 23.06.2015
Okay, granted, there were some grey clouds in the sky, but I thought I was 10 minutes away from the weather clearing up enough so that I could kayak in the Big Lake, overlooking the New Orleans Museum of Art's outdoor Sculpture Garden, the St. John Bayou, and the rest of the gorgeous park. As I was walking around admiring the scenery and taking photos, I felt a few drops, and then all at once, a torrential downpour of rain. As I sprinted across the park, only one panicked thought kept streaming through my mind: Camera. Camera. Camera.
The one day where I did not bring my rain jacket (because I read there was only a 20% chance of rain) ended up being the one time that my photo taking gadget was left completely exposed to the elements. Reaching a nearby, indoor park restaurant called Morning Call, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I successfully was able to turn on my camera, which must have survived just long enough in my semi-rain-resistant travel purse during the quarter-of-a-mile dash to dry shelter. My favorite Edgar Allan Poe t-shirt was not so lucky. I was almost completely soaked, from head to squeaky shoes, which gave me a good laugh when I saw my reflection in the mirror while freshening up in the restroom.
After getting over the initial shock about the sudden change in weather, I sat down at a small table near the counter, and I ordered a bowl of jambalaya with a large cafe au lait. Hey, bad weather is not a setback - it just means it is time for a nice, relaxing coffee break in my world! Thunder boomed and downpours of rain cascaded heavily outside across the park. I just took my time eating my delicious food. The waitress very kindly and thoughtfully waited until I finished my main meal before bringing out the hot, fresh beignets that I ordered for dessert. Delicious.
During my late lunch, I reflected on how I spent the earlier part of my day exploring City Park, which at 1,300 acres, is among the largest city parks in the country. The breezy palm trees, the grand live oaks, the Spanish Moss and the bayou, the lush botanical gardens…what a gorgeous place it is, and I got to see quite a bit of it while the bright, beautiful blue skies charmed the amazing scenery of the park.
Not too long after I finished my meal in the restaurant, the water works turned off outside, leaving the sky in a shadowy overcast. Deciding not to take my chances, I took the next streetcar back to the French Quarter where I was staying. It already had been a good, successful day of exploration, and I did not want to give the weather any funny ideas about surprising me again…even worse, during mid-paddle. (Yes, I wanted to kayak that day on the lake, but it is a good thing if I now have an excuse to someday return to New Orleans to have more fun!)
Based on my limited amount of time in New Orleans, I would describe the city's weather this way: There is a 40% chance that the weather could change at any time, so be prepared. Lesson learned. The next day, I bought a travel-size umbrella and I tied my rain jacket around my waist, even if it was 85 degrees outside. My exploring plans for the rest of the trip (and my camera) were not going to be dampened any inclement weather.