Studio Smexy Travel diary
Derek almost missed his plane in LA. Then he almost missed his connection in Denver. Duuude. #StudioSmexy on the road was almost over before it was even begun. O_o
But we made it to New Orleans, grabbed our car, and headed straight to the French Quarter for some food. Now, if you know me, and you’ve seen Derek, food is not the same to us as others. We eat very differently. Healthy. I know it’s crazy, and we’re in the south, attempting to eat healthy, while still be surrounded by all this amazing food. OI. Not an easy job. second thing was finding a gym to work out in every day. Also..not easy.
Anywhoo. We found a little cafe a block off Bourbon and and ate lunch while discussing our plan of attack. First stop? Grand Isle.
On the way to Grand Isle is a little tattoo parlor called Southern Sting. It’s an amazing place with incredibly talented artists, and I still want some ink by Bobby Pitre. I wanted to stop and say hello, and he actually remembered me. It was awesome.
The last time I saw Grand Isle, this is what it looked like:
This time we didn’t shoot on Grand Isle, except to enjoy the beach, watch the sunset and take in the peacefulness of the area. It was good to be back and see the beach restored, even with all the problems surrounding the spill so prevalent.
That’s oil. It’s thick and heavy and disgusting and it tore at my heart.
Now it looks like this:
We had dinner in the Starfish and hit the road. We booked a room in some podunk town on the way to Avery Island and got some sleep.
Bright and early! Or sort of anyway.
Time for Avery Island.
Avery Island is the home of the Tabasco plant and Jungle Gardens. It’s beautiful, and I wanted to come here so D could see gators, and we could get some images in the amazing magnolia groves.
When we left Grand Isle we headed for Baton Rouge to meet up with another author friend of mine Anne Baker (@AnneBakerBooks) she is one of the crazy Man Candy Monday Maniacs, and such a sweet and dirty girl. (I have to say sweet to temper the dirty...she is seriously one dirty bird. I LOVE it.) After Anne we hit the road for Long Beach.
Long Beach is a long beach. LMAO. I’m a dork. But seriously, it stretched the length of Pass Christian, Long Beach and Biloxi. It’s the actual name of the beach. Now a little history of Long Beach. Rich people live here. Katrina (YES THAT Katrina) hit Long Beach head on, but there were rich people there so it did not get as much press. The devastation from Katrina is still prevalent, more than half of the beautiful beach from homes are, to this day, merely foundation amongst jungles.
Five years after Katrina, oil landed on Long Beach. I was the only witness allowed on the beach to photograph that. I talked my way past the National Guard, Long Beach Police and fire (Yeah, I dunno, but I made it past the firemen) and I shot most of the night.
The lamps are red to protect the sea turtles as most of the coast is natural nesting habitat for them, they later determined it was safe and removed the filters. But the oil that came ashore was pods of oil mousse, that leave red sticky crap, the size of semi trucks. The people had to shovel it by hand into trash bags to be hauled off. DISGUSTING.
Beach access was through a single point, to control the oil and prevent it getting inland. The problem was, the beach didn’t get shut down early enough. There were people swimming in the smaller pieces all day, tracking it inland.
Our return to Long Beach? Well. I was not afraid to go in the water. Because of this story, and the pain I felt for the beach and wildlife, I was happy to return to see it restored. (Again, the clean up process is ongoing, and there’s so much continuing with the oil spill to this day, but we aren’t going to get into that here...)
WIth this sunset I’m going to call it a post. That’s an awful lot of stuff for two days, right?
Just wait...it only gets better. :)
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