Two days. Two drivers. Twenty-four hours cramped in the confines of an overpacked Mazda 626 named George. We avoided the tedium through the careful placement of an audio surround system—complete with subwoofer—wired into the car’s auxiliary port.
Our miles were logged by everything from Christmas classics to heavy metal. The journey south grew apparent. The need for hoodies and scarves melted away. We shut off the heat in lieu of open windows. The air carried that crispy taste of spring, though it wasn’t yet quite warm enough to warrant A/C.
A test of our nerd knowledge arrived halfway through the trip’s second leg. As I approached the border between Georgia and Alabama, I revved the engine up to 88mph. Alabama’s greeting sign flew past in a flash. Electricity spawned from the overcast clouds until ZZzzzaaaapppp! A rift in time opened up, swallowing us, the car, and everything in it.
We travelled back exactly one hour. But time wasn’t the only change to note. Geography, history, and culture awaited us in the miles still ahead. Hills and mountains shrank into flat vegetation, seasoned with lakes and corn fields. Night soon fell, dissolving the landscapes.
The final stretch of roadtrip came, its path lined with highway lights carefully placed to illuminate our path without creating unnecessary light pollution. A final, breath-taking night sky to behold before switching to life in a city…
Suddenly, the shadows of trees vanished. The road darted across a large body of water, which was unnervingly indistinguishable from the asphalt in the night. It was a small stretch on the edge of the lake, not the entire body, but minutes felt like hours as we crossed.
Welcome to Hollywood South
City lights danced before me, erasing any sign of exhaustion from the past two days. Knots formed in my stomach as my gaze landed on the city of New Orleans for the first time. A cluster of skyscrapers lined the horizon. I caught sight of a wide, round structure buried among the towers. It shined with a purple luminescence. The defining icon of New Orleans: the Superdome. Home to the Saints and shelter to those stranded during Katrina.
New Orleans, for those unaware, is racing to the forefront of the film industry. Tax incentives can be a powerful thing. Hence why I’ve come to the river-bound city. To network and dig my way up from the inside out. I doubt I’ll be bored between job-hunting and craft-honing, since this is one of the most culturally artsy cities around.
Bring on the King Cake!