I pulled out of my garage at 4:00am this morning. It was right at freezing when I left Manchester a couple of hours later. I flew on Southwest, so the fact that there was a plane waiting in both Manchester and Baltimore-Washington seemed a small victory.

I experienced a razor-thin transfer at BWI, but both passenger and checked luggage made the flight and arrived in New Orleans on time. After this winter the one big thing that hit me upon landing — it’s GREEN here. The azaleas are almost over. Temperatures near 80. The forecast looks relatively dry with temps in the 70s and 80s.

I had lunch at one of my favorite spots, Mena’s Palace on Chartres Street (crabcakes). My waitress was indifferent; she only called me baby twice. Between the staff and the workmen eating lunch, you could cut the Yat accents with a knife. It was a great welcome.

It took a while for my room to be ready, so I was forced to roam the French Quarter and Faubourg-Marigny. The Irish bars we already spilling over into the street. I had time for a mid-afternoon stop at my favorite music place on Frenchmen Street. Too early for music, but the lack of both crowds and noise made it possible to talk to the regulars, which was entertainment enough for the road weary.

Tonight, I’m heading over to the parade and then going with friends. Tomorrow, a shrimp and oyster po-boy at Domilise’s and another St. Patrick’s Day parade. Then up to Waveland, MS. Reports to follow.

The UNH-ABC groups should be well on the road. I can’t wait to greet them tomorrow night.