Ralph and Lori at the 2011 New Orleans Roadfood Festival
As in 2010, we had planned to leave for New Orleans on a Wednesday, but failed to get to New Orleans that day.
This year, we were scheduled to get to New Orleans by flying United to Chicago, then Delta to New Orleans. When we arrived at the United checkin counter, the agent told us that the flight was delayed due to weather, so we would miss our Chicago connection. So she rescheduled us on a pair of USAirways flights, connecting through Washington DC. These flights actually were scheduled to arrive in New Orleans earlier than our original scheduled arrival, so we didn't mind this at all.
We boarded the plane for DC, and there we sat. First, we were delayed by the fallout of Pittsburgh's storms. I haven't checked whether the Pittsburgh area officially got tornadoes, but I know from the news that it certainly got funnel clouds. And after the storms left our area, they progressed towards Washington, so we then held off taking off because of uncertainty about whether we'd be able to land safely. We ended up waiting on the tarmac for two hours before the pilot took us back to the gate to give us a chance to stretch our legs. We then learned that the flight was cancelled.
USAirways rescheduled us again, but at that point, there were no flights available until Thursday afternoon. I asked the agent rescheduling us whether we were still good for our return flight on Sunday, since I feared that there might be mixups with the double change from United -> Delta to USAirways to a different USAirways flight. She assured me that everything was fine with our return flight. (This section ought to be accompanied with an ominous tremolo of organ music, but I didn't know that at the time.)
I do approve of a policy of not flying in tornadoes, but I nevertheless found it frustrating. At least this time, we didn't have any specific plans for the next morning in New Orleans. The frustration I felt most keenly was that I'd gotten a really superb parking place, much closer to the covered walkway to the terminal than I usually get, and I was disappointed to give it up.
So we returned home to sleep in our own bed.
We had plans for Thursday morning; we'd eat at some undiscovered Roadfoody place in the Pittsburgh area, do some shopping for new shoes, visit Half Price Books, and still arrive at a leisurely time for our flight. But instead, we slept late, took our time getting out the door, and concluded that we only had time to get to the airport without doing any of those other things—particularly since we wanted to get to the airport early enough to handle any other problems that might arise.
On the plane, we read USAirways' in-flight magazine, which featured an article on 15 best airport bites
. This article mentioned Brookwood Farms BBQ in the Charlotte airport, which we've passed a few times in the past few months. This gave us the impetus to give it a try as we made our connection in Charlotte.
This plate shows pulled pork, fried okra, mac and cheese, hush puppies, and a fried pickle spear. We enjoyed the pulled pork quite a bit; it had a nice smoky flavor, and we liked the tomato-based Western-NC sauce. I also quite liked the hush puppies, which were nicely seasoned and had a nice balance of crisp exterior and tender interior. The fried okra was as good as fried okra normally is (Lori and I wouldn't give the same numerical rating to that quality level); the mac and cheese and the fried pickle spear were entirely adequate but not as good as instances that we've had elsewhere.