Sunday, June 18, 2006

September 4 (?) 1954

Dear Folks -

I broke my old long-standing rule of never taking sightseeing busses; New Orleans being an exception in that I figured that if I didn’t take a tour, I couldn’t possibly see all the things I wanted—also, I didn’t know what to look for or where to go to find it. It was really very interesting. This card, or rather the picture on the back is the only place we didn’t go.

I’m sending you a recording I made at the local amusement park. I got a big kick today in a dept. store when two kids asked if I was a general.

Spent the day roaming around—bumped into quite a few NavCads—none I knew though.

Unfortunately, the Mardi Gras crowds had rather thinned out by the time I got here (Mardi Gras is in February). Canal St., so named because it supposedly has a canal under it is billed as the widest main street in the world. It doesn’t have many (or hardly any) dept. stores; mostly just large shops. All the men’s stores are on one side of the street, & all the women’s are on the other Also, streets change names here. On one side is the "old city" with French & Spanish names, & on the other side it’s American.

The local cemeteries are fascinating. Ninety-five percent of all the dead are buried above ground; the five percent exceptions being the Jewish, who don’t permit it, & those in "potters field" who can’t afford to "rent" a vault. The way things go down here is—you rent a space from the church for $5 a year. Conditions around here completely decompose a body with one year & a day. At the end of that time, the old body’s remains are pushed back into a hole at the end of the vault, & it’s all ready for a new one.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Some of these things have sunk three feet into the ground..
In Jackson park there are real live banana trees with real bananas. On one side of the park is The Cabildo, where the papers were signed giving the U.S. the Louisiana territory. The park is flanked by America’s first apartment buildings, built to keep people from moving out of the old city into the new. All the buildings are built as close to the street as possible for some reason, with beautiful patios on the inside. The cathedral is very pretty, being all wood on the inside. First time I’d ever been in a Catholic church. Beautiful stained glass windows & paintings on the ceilings.

At the moment of writing this, I am sitting in the Union Depot, waiting to get the heck out of this place. I plan to go to Mobile, if I ever get there. Well, I’m here—by bus, not train. I walked back to town & got the next bus out. I’m awfully sorry I couldn’t afford to buy you some better souvenirs than these little cards, but…

And here I am back in Pensacola, just before going to P.T. class. God! How I loathe that class. Talk about Hell on Earth. We do pushups—that is, everybody else does pushups. After just so many my arms won’t lift me off the floor. And tomorrow I’ve got to go through that Step Test again. I don’t know what they’ll do if I flunk it again. I’ll probably end up in the regular Navy.

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