My wife and I are on our way to a vacation in the great city of New Orleans courtesy of Producers Hybrids. I have been to this city quite a few times during my life. See, my Grandmother Weeks was born and raised in New Orleans. Grandpa was lucky enough to meet her while he was stationed there during WWII. Grandma came from a large Catholic family in Algiers parish, and was extremely proud of her heritage, and her nine brothers and sisters that were still there, sans Henry who passed away at a young age, and Aunt Geri, who ended up in Nebraska also.
Grandma made it a point to take all of her five grandchildren to New Orleans at 5 or 6 years old to learn about where she came from(her Roots), and have the opportunity to meet the family. I took that trip at five years old, and remember water slides, and accidentally drinking salt water from the ocean while there. I also remember being surrounded by so many aunts, uncles, and cousins, that there was no way to remember them all.
I have made it to New Orleans three out of the last four years now. 2007 was while competing in the Discussion Meet at the American Farm Bureau Convention, and I got to spend some time with family I had not seen in years, along with spending some time on the “Mighty Mississippi” with one of my cousins piloting a grain ship up the river. Our family down here works on the river, and many cousins are NOBRA pilots. They pilot the ships up and down river between Algiers Point in New Orleans, and Baton Rouge. Being a farmer, it is fascinating to me to see our products (corn, soy, etc.) shipped out and raw materials (fertilizer, oil, etc.) we use shipped in to this river system. The importance of this port to our country and agriculture are hard for most to comprehend, but it is a vital cog in the continuing trade we have with other countries, and particularly agricultural trade. I did an interview with Nick Weber from Monsanto about the importance of the Mississippi river system a few years ago.
Last trip was for my Great Uncle’s funeral in January 2010. While somber, it was a memorable trip as I went with my father and got to see him reunite with many cousins he had not seen in many, many years. This trip is purely for pleasure, and some of that will be spent with my family having a “boil”. Kind of like a barbeque in Nebraska, but boiling water, and seafood instead. So, as we embark on this vacation, I plan to update the blog a few times, with pictures of our adventures in “Nawlins”, and not just the Quarter, but the real New Orleans that I have come to know.