Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day 32: To New Orleans

The crew loaded the bus before the sun rose  and set off into the sunrise toward New Orleans. It was a quiet ride as most were catching their last hours of sleep before breakfast. We stopped for breakfast at McDonalds where many of the crew indulged in smoothies and cinnamon rolls (breakfast of champions). Halfway through the trip we stopped in Lake Charles, LA for lunch spread out at a mall food court. The kids raced to the Chic-Fil-A as it was the first time they have seen one since Colorado Springs. Some tech savvy individuals preordered on the app and walked up just as their name was being called, skipping the line completely. A few kids took to the mall shops to waste the last little bit of time at the lunch stop. 

Two movies later we arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn in New Orleans. After a few hours of down time to get ready the crew headed out to dinner. Dinner was held as a group as the Grand Isle Restaurant. Everyone got to chose between three entrees: Shrimp Po Boy, Ham and Cheese Melt, or Grand Isle Burger. It was a nice classy dinner to close out the trip. 

After dinner we walked through NOLA to Bourbon Street. As we walked to the end of the street famous for its restaurants, bars, clubs, and entertainment the crew got to experience the part of the city that is the best known to tourists. It was amazing to hear the music from multiple places of interest combine into what seemed to be noise in the street. Everywhere boasted it was "the best" or "the biggest" on the street.  As much as they enjoyed viewing the night life they were all grateful to return to the hotel and air conditioning. After so many days without humidity we struggled to adapt today even though it was similar to the weather in NC.

Tonight the crew enjoyed some free time at the hotel spending their last few hours together. As the bus loads up at 3:30AM there will not be much sleeping tonight. A few tears have already been shed and there are certainly more to come as Clarence drives us closer to home tomorrow. However, along with the sadness comes the excitement of seeing our families again after so many days on the road. I have even heard some students talk about how they can't wait to see their siblings even when they usually fight all the time. The leaders are also sad to say goodbye. We all agree that this group was special. They had the ability to accept and befriend each other unlike any we have seen in the past. Leading them through the past 33 days was a pleasure we hate to see end. 

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