Last weekend Bruce, the geothermal contractor working with us here in New Orleans, took us out on a deep-sea fishing trip. Ten of us went along with him, and we left early that morning on a two-hour drive to meet the fishing boat. It was a cloudy day and we had a nice breeze out on the water, but that didn’t help much with the heat. Carl got seasick and had to lie down for most of the trip. We caught about 20 massive fish and this week we’re going to have a fish fry at the site. Uncle Billy is going to cook them up and everyone’s invited.
I took a helicopter tour of the wetlands and the Ninth ward that we filmed for the show. Then we spent a day filming the introduction for the show — which had the crew and I walking up and down the same street over and over and over again. Drove me crazy — I could have been building! We kept walking past this burned out car. It was probably abandoned during the flood, and then some vandals set it on fire, leaving it to burn in the street. You see a lot of that around here — even though almost three years have passed since Katrina.
The house is starting to look like a house! Now we are really moving on the build. When my crew has to wait for other subs to do their thing, it can be very slow and frustrating. But that’s the way it is — pilings, concrete work, geothermal — all of that is specialist subs. But now my team is flying. The interior walls are all in, the roof framing is finished and they are putting on Typar. Louie and his guys (some local contractors who are helping out on the site) are building the stairs, the spray foam is complete and all the exterior windows and doors are in.
My birthday was last weekend. I am now 45 years old and what a party we had. My daughters told me we would be going out for dinner with the crew on Saturday night. Everyone “coincidentally” happened to fly their spouses down for the same weekend… but I didn’t think anything was up.
I walked out of the elevator and everyone was there, only they were all dressed up with hats, masks, beads and boas. Sherry walked up to me and put a large plush crown on my head and handed me a plastic flashing scepter and a flashing drink cup. They put a ton of beads around my neck and asked me “If I was ready”. I had no idea what they were doing.
When they led me outside there was my camera crew filming, and with them were people dressed up as jesters, people twirling umbrellas and a marching band. Then I noticed the police bikes blocking the street… I was still confused.
I thought they were having a street party for me and couldn’t believe they made that happen on such a busy street. That’s when everyone started to dance throw beads to people in the streets and they started walking. I was leading my own birthday parade down the main streets of New Orleans! They didn’t close down just one street for my party, they closed down lots — I don’t even know how many, I lost count.
Everyone was dancing and the people watching started joining in. Pretty soon our 30-person parade turned into twice, then three times that. We walked down Bourbon Street and to a place on the second floor of a building with a balcony overlooking the street below. There was a live band, Mardi Gras type decorations, food, drinks, cake, and a balcony lined with beads. I had an amazing time, I can’t believe that was all for me. Gotta love my crew.