Sunday, August 17, 2008

Workin' & Playin' in New Orleans

Since Craig began working for the Department of Corrections over 18 years ago, I never fully understood what went on behind those "closed doors."  People continually ask me, "What does he do?"  My answers are always descriptions that I'd mark "weak in content" if someone responded that way in an essay.  But I learned a few things about prisons over the years--just "expect the unexpected."  

I've learned that prisons don't have conferences in normal vacation spots like Anaheim, New York City, Orlando, or Honolulu.  Rather, Craig has been sent to places that I never would have dreamed of visiting, but out of curiosity, I seem to pack my bags each year and tag along.   The past few years we've ended up in Cincinnati, Ohio; Madison, Wisconsin; Hot Springs, Arkansas; and this year (of all places) New Orleans.  (Next year . . . Jackson, Mississippi!)

Anyway, we just returned from a week in New Orleans.  (I actually had spent a few days there about ten years ago where Jill Porter, Lexa Larsen, and Nancy Dexter dragged me out of the hotel room long enough to check out the French Quarters, eat shrimp, and hear wanna-be Jazz musicians on every corner of the city.  In my naive world at that time I hadn't even heard of "Hooters.")  So I was certain that with Craig at workshops all day I would be spending every minute inside my hotel room with bolted doors to keep out the men with python snakes, the prostitutes, and the legally drunk tourists!  

But something happened since my previous visits:  Hurricane Katrina.  The New Orleans we just visited seemed like a ghost town where abandoned businesses and homes seemed to be the norm.  I called it a "beautifully sad place."  Some spots of New Orleans area were just what I had once pictured in my mind with "Gone with the Wind-style" plantation homes, endless miles of untouched bayou, and the amazing Mississippi River. 

But most of the city and the surrounding suburbs revealed the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina.  Businesses, hospitals, car dealerships, and amusement parks like Six Flags were left as though they had been built only to be abandoned.  More homes seemed vacated rather than occupied, and even golf courses were nothing more than three-year old fields of grass just waiting to be cut. In my mind I kept thinking, "This is three years after the hurricane!"

I headed to New Orleans to get a "last-minute-of-summertime-before-school-starts vacation," and I ended up experiencing a real-live history lesson of an almost-forgotten place.  


Amber Baker said...

You are such a great writer. If you continue to read my blog, please know you taught me well, but I am really really lazy! I'm glad you found me!

Ma & Pa J. said...

Hey, I finally figured out how to access your blog. I loved it! Sounds like you are having some wonderful experiences.

Ashley said...

It looks like you had a fun trip, even if it was different than what you had expected!

Dede said...

It sounds like visiting a bit of history even if it was a sad bit. Looks interesting though.

Captain and First Officer said...

Mrs. Burr! (Feels weird to call you Jackie!) I was so excited when I came across your blog! You can view mine at I live in Mesa, AZ now and we love it. My husband flies 747's internationally, so he gets to see the world while I stay home with the kiddos--a daughter who is almost 9, and 2-year-old boy who is nothing short of a tornado!

Take care!
Sarah (Mason) Mansell

Bethany said...

It seems like all those prison vacations end up "better than you thought"! You both must be great travelers.

The Quarnbergs said...

You just have a way with words that captivates people! I love reading your blogs!! On your famous words part I had hoped to read "I can't find my keys, or notebook, or purse..." I will always remember you for that! I will still be on the lookout for a velcro vest for you!!!:) :)

BYU games are coming fast!!!! Are your tickets still in the North Endzone? Ours are on the South endzone on row 2 of the upper level. I think like seats 22-26! We have them with Aaron & Suz Shaw!! I can't wait!- Let me know where yours are and we will have to meet up so I can say hi!

Another question- where are you teaching? Are you at Lehi somewhere?

Kurt and Tara Heath said...

Hey Mrs. Burr!

I just came across your blog, it is really cute! You will have to take a look at mine, It looks like things are going pretty good for you guys. Too bad the trip was a little bit of a downer- but probably an eye opener. Good luck with everything


Jenn said...

Reading your blog makes me regret writing my posts at an elementary level. Maybe one day I'll spend more than 30 seconds on a post.

You wrote that post so well! The change in New Orleans was so intriguing.

Amber Baker said...

Hey, I changed my blog settings, so come on over and click on the link, I just have to approve you. I'd like to keep in touch!

Dani said...

It's so fun to read what you guys are up to, since you left Salina. Glad you had a good experience in New Orleans. Louisianna is one of the few states I haven't been to yet.

The Burst Family said...

Mrs. Burr,

Hey, it's Ashlee Anderson, well Burst now. I ran into your blog. It's exciting to see that you're living in Lehi. We live in West Valley. I wish we could trade neighborhoods. We are always asking ourselves, "Doesn't anybody under the age of 60 live around here?" I have three kids now, they came really fast. Check out my blog for pictures.

Lisa Nance said...

Mrs. Burr,
Hello! It has been so long. I haven't figured out how to blog yet, but I have figured out how to email. My email is I heard you were teaching at Bingham, is that correct? My kids would have attended that high school but they are build a very needed high school in Herriman!! I would love it if my kids could take English from you! Are you going to be teaching in 5-8 yrs? Hope to hear from you.

Lisa (Brown) Nance

Meg said...

Mrs Burr! I just found your blog and love that I can keep updated on everyone from back home. You live up here now though, right? Thank you for all your great work at good old North Sevier! Keep in touch!

-Megan (Buxton) Fritzsche

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Burr I have been wondering where you are. One day I see you in the store and the next my mom says that Don and Jolayne bought your house. I have a blog as well its
e-mail me

Coni Okerlun Burnham

Dawn Rae said...

I would love to send you an invite to our blog. Send me an email with your email address so I can send one to you. Love, Dawn Reneau

Misty said...

Hi Jackie!
I am so excited to be apart of the "blogging world" where I can see what all my old acquaintances are up to. Sounds like you're doing well & enjoying life to the fullest. Hope to hear from you.
Misty Shaw

Adam and Dev said...

Hey, I'm making my blog private. So send me your email to

After you email me, I will invite you to my blog! Thanks! :)

p.s. my mom does have a blog, if I haven't told you. It's on my family link list!

Camille Dumas said...

Hey Mrs. Burr! How are things with you? So where are you living these days? I hope everything is well with you!

Shober Fam said...

Hi Mrs. Burr! How are you?

Toni (Miller) Shober