Wednesday, October 6

We woke this morning to the smells of chicken and sausage gumbo being reheated for our breakfast. Jolene had made the gumbo for us to eat last night if we hadn’t wanted to go to the banquet. I have to tell you, the Coles know how to cook well. It was so good, and a great switch up, to have dinner for breakfast! There were even hard-boiled eggs in the gumbo. I was in heaven.

Richard gave us a couple cases of energy drinks and water and took us to the gas station to fill up our tanks for us before we left. I have to words to say about just how giving the Coles were to us. It makes me very happy to think that there are people out there who will still give you the shirts off their backs. A little bit of human kindness redemption goes a long way in my book.

We hit the road for New Orleans, and even though it was only a three and a half hour drive, we had to make a few stops. Tod was feeling tired, and his eyes were a bit sensitive today, so we pulled over and I took over. And then the gumbo took over for me, and I was tired, so I pulled over to take a short break, stretch my legs and grab a coke.

We got into New Orleans and headed for Café Du Monde and have some coffee and beignets. When in NoLA, it’s what you have to do. After we finished up, we walked around the French Quarter., exploring New Orleans before we met up with our host for the evening, Art-Man.

We met these two musicians as we were walking around Jackson Square, Grover and Charles, and talked to them about what we were doing. They played some music for us and we sat with them and talked about music and senses. Grover said that if he had to lose a sense, it would be vision, because he couldn’t live without his hearing. We’ve found this to be a common opinion. If I could trade out my bad eyes for bad ears, I don’t think I could do it. Even in darkness, to hear a sound or a voice, would be very soothing. But with out hearing, you only know what you see. You lose half of you’re a wareness.

We left Charles and Grover and kept on exploring the French Quarter. At one point, Tod had to find a bathroom, who am I kidding, at many points Tod has to find a bathroom, the boy drinks sooooooo much diet soda and water. While Tod was in the restroom, I struck up a conversation with a homeless man named Reggie. He had seen us filming and asked us what we were doing. I told him abut the project and asked him if he would like to be in it. He said his face isn’t free, I told him he would get a copy of the movie, this was before I found out he was homeless, but he wouldn’t have that. So we had an intellectual conversation about moments had, and how they can never be captured or recreated. A moment is just that; a moment. It can happen when you are alone, or with someone, or many someones. But when it happens, you must attempt to truly experience it and then walk away from it. Now you can recall it with people were experienced it with you, but if you try to explain it to someone who wasn’t there, it won’t pass muster. It was a pretty cool moment to share with Reggie.

I wished Reggie a pleasant evening and then I called Art-Man to see about meeting up with him for dinner and seeing more of the city. Art-Man, Eric Hartman, is the current resident of the Choroideremia Research Foundation, and has lived in New Orleans almost all of his life. Art-Man told us about a great place near where he lives called the Parkway Bakery & Tavern. So we headed back to the cars and made our way over to him.

The Parkway Bakery is a pretty cool spot. They make really good shrimp Po’Boys, and the have fries with gravy. Now, gravy in New Orleans is called debris. It’s basically the leftover bits from slow roasting beef. And it is tasty. We sat and talked about New Orleans, CHM, dealing with our vision loss, women, the whole gamut. After we had finished eating, Art-Man showed us to his house. His apartment is great! A very cool set up with lots of art that he did. Art-Man has about 2 degrees of vision left, but you he still creates wonderful paintings and pictures, that have graced the walls of galleries all over America. He will go out with his camera and take pictures and then use the pictures as a reference when he paints the painting. His work is truly amazing.

AND his apartment is in a refurbished can factory. It was renovated and turned into housing years ago. He has a 900 foot studio apartment, and because when they renovated it, the government said that a specific portion of the apartments have to be subsidized, his rent is fairly inexpensive, which is good, because he lives on an artist’s wage.

Art-Man took us back down to the French Quarter to show us some of the nightlife of NoLA. I’ll leave it to your imagination what kind of shenanigans three bind bachelors can get themselves into in New Orleans.