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NOLA Day 1

Day one of NOLA complete!  Last night I was extremely excited to be embarking on the trip that I had wanted to take since my freshman year.  Although I was tired and fighting a cold, I was ready for this trip to start.  When we arrived this morning, at a wonderfully humid hour of 5:33 a.m., we were greeted with not only 93% humidity, but two lovely suburbans, in lieu of vans, to take us along our ten day journey.
After “comfortably” settling everyone’s luggage into Dr. A’s room, we all helped ourselves to breakfast downstairs.  There we decided that we wanted to visit the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.  This was one of the highlights of my day.  We went on a roughly 2.5 mile hike through the marshlands and were able to identify some of the trees that we will have to work with in the coming days, as well as view the wildlife that surrounded us.

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It was my first time ever encountering an alligator (and hopefully not my last).  It was so amazing to see something in the context of it’s natural habitat instead of in a zoo or on television.

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I also enjoyed meeting students from William Paterson University in New Jersey; it is always a good time meeting people with similar interests and learning their story.  Visiting the National Park today really gave me a good introduction into the Louisiana terrain and has made me excited to get to our site and start our restoration/monitoring.

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Following the park visit, we met with one of Dr. A’s friends (whose name escapes me) who discussed the involvement of the Army Corps of Engineers in the levee failure of Katrina.  Hearing his take on the matter was very insightful and I could see his knowledge on the subject matter was not only informed but passionate. 
After our lunch we ventured into the French Quarter.  I branched off with Dulce, Patrick, Sean, Aspen, Michaela, and Jay.  We first went down to find some bars with live music in the hopes of sitting back and enjoying the sounds of the city.  Unfortunately, we did not succeed in finding a good spot so we made our way over to the hub of the action in the French Quarter.  There we saw a group of men who jammed out in the middle of the square engaging those around them to feel the music they were passionately flowing from their instruments.  We all sat/stood for a while and watched attentively.

We also made our way to the edge of the Mississippi River and discussed the “lovely” color and massive size of the river.

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It was also the sight of Washington Artillery Park so we observed different statues and read plaques in the area.
Spending three hours roaming around, we finally made our way
back to the cars and set off to grab some dinner.  We went to a place called “The Joint”.  It smelled super delicious but I didn’t eat anything because I wasn’t feeling well.
Overall, the first day went very well despite my feeling ill and I cannot wait to see what the rest of this adventure will hold.  Goodnight!  

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