It wasn’t even daylight yet when I started day 39. I woke up refreshed at 5:20am at my tent site in Natchez State Park. The plan for the day was to get to New Orleans with enough daylight to find a place to stay and make it back to the french quarter before dark. Due to waiting for the sun to rise to get a few pics of camp, I didn’t actually hit the road until 8am. I drove about two miles down the Natchez Trace Parkway to a historical site called the Emerald Mound. It is the United States second largest indian mound. The whole thing is about the size of eight acres and while walking on it I tried to imagine how many years and how many hands were involvled in piling this much dirt. Its roughly shaped like a plateau with two raised mounds on the main surface and from top to bottom it’s about 70 feet tall. These mounds were used for various things. Some were for religous reasons and some were the base for buildings and villages. All in all they are quite impressive given the lack of heavy equipment to move that much soil.
I left the mound and made my way south to the city of Natchez. Originally I didn’t plan to visit it, but I met a fella named Carl at the state park who said that I can’t miss it while in the area. He also told me that half of all of the United States millionaires lived in this one little town before the civil war and because of that the town is littered with some very grand old homes. I changed my route on that tidbit of info and headed south on the Trace right into town. He was right about the beauty of the place. Natchez sits right along the Mississippi River on a bluff thats about 70 feet high. In that area, one side of the Mississippi River is barely above water level and the other side is raised up above the river surface. It makes for a pretty specatcular view. Just to add a bit of geographical insight, a bluff is generally created when top soil is blown by the wind and over many years it forms a giant hill full of really deep topsoil. Natchez is a perfect example of this. I wandered over to the visitor center for a map and decided to do a very quick tour on the bike of the town. New Orleans sits about two hours and forty fives minutes from Natchez and I was itching to get there.
From Natchez my route took me out of Mississippi for the last time and into the great state of Louisiana again via 55 south. It’s an interstate, but the miles crank by. I arrived in the very peculiar city of “Nawlins” at about 4 pm. I rode around and oriented my self with the french quarter and went off in search of a room nearby. I found a room at the Comfort Inn just a few blocks from the action. It was about 6pm when I made my wy to the infamous Bourbon Street. First on the agenda was a couple cold ones at the Famous Door bar. The music was loud and just what the doctor ordered. Eventually it was time to do a little bar hopping and scope out some more good music. I just kinda trekked around, up and down, Bourbon Street for an hour or so when I met a friendly yound black girl named Lisa. Her story was that she had been in New Orleans for about two weeks and she was waiting for her cousin (the stripper) to get off work at the Little Darlins strip joint. Lisa and I grabbed a few slices of pizza and ended up walking up and down Bourbon about three more times. We were hanging out for about an hour and a half when she mentioned that we should go to this park about two blocks from the party scene and check out the spot where the city just did a huge ribbon cutting ceremony for some respected black lady. I said cool and in the spirit of adventure and not being stuck in the touristy areas, I walked over with her. We walked around the park for a bit and at night it’s quite amazing with the lights and fountains. We found a little spot to sit and chatted it up about life, relationships, and travel for about twenty more minutes when she said that the mosquitoes were tearing her up. She then asked if I minded waiting for her while she ran to her cousins to get a jacket. I asked how long it would take. She said five minutes. Going against my gut instinct, I stayed put for about two minutes when these two young black males came up to me with a gun and pressed it right into my neck! Their first demand was my cell phone. Next they wanted my wallet. I told them that I don’t carry one. They demanded that I empty my pockets. Without question, I did. When a gun is stuck to you, you’ll do what they say. Trust me on that one. I handed them my keys last and they refused them. I didn’t tell them that I was on a bike or perhaps they would’ve kept my keys. They didn’t reach into my pockets. If they would they would have found my knife. Unfortunatly it was useless in that circumstance. The perpitrators then walked away, but they didn’t forget to tell me to”Stay there or I’ll shoot you.” I watched them round a corner and just before they were out of site they took off running. I got the hell outta dodge right after that. It’s pretty apperant that I got rolled, as the officer described it. On my way back to the safety of Bourbon Street,(that’s an oxymoron) these french kids were headed in the direction that I just came from and I told them about what just happened to me and they didn’t hesitate to do a U-turn and follow me. I found an officer right away and he sent a detective over to pick me up. He and I rode by the scene. The detective needed a better feel for what happened. After that it was time for the paperwork at the station. We did the normal, interview the victim thing and he did a little investigating. He directed me to the lobby where, oddly enough three officers were in a heated conversation about relationships in the office. One of them said something so rediculous that I just had to speak up and ask him if he was serious. It was on after that. It was officially a four way conversation and just to set the scene, it was me, two black male officers, and one female black officer. Very surreal. In all of the jawl slapping a few hours passed and the female officer didn’t realize that I was sitting there so she could cross exmine me. About the time she started to question me the detective came out of his office and told me that he traced my cell phone back to the Comfort Inn. I was like SHITE! Since they stole my room card also, I thought they were in my room stealing the rest of my stuff while I was sitting at the police station. Then the detective started questioning my story again. He, very seriously, thought that I had Lisa in my room and that I was soliciting her for sex. He thought something fishy was going on. Generally when this happens, a guy won’t tell the police the whole story and usually the girl that sets him up is a prositute I guess. Let me tell you that if Lisa was a prostitute, she’d be broke. Anyway I got very frustrated that they were questioning me and I spoke my mind. I was giving them the truth from the bottom of my heart and they were trying to lead me to saying that I had her in my room. Their thing was that they have a formula for these type of crimes and my story was not fitting the formula. It’s not everyday that a guy and a girl, who meet on Bourbon Street, just talk and that’s all that happened and they just didn’t want to believe it. I’m not your everyday person also. When all was said and done, it turned out that Lisa must’ve known the gunman and she got my cell phone, drivers license, and debit card from him and returned it to the front desk. All they walked away with is about $60 +/-. I am not sure of her motivation for that, but I’m so glad she did it. Without my debit card I’d have no way to buy gas to get hell out of the Big Easy. Pics coming soon. Gotta check out of the room now.