Editor’s note: Here’s the first post from guest writer Whitney Mackman. Remember, the only way to get a NOadventure tshirt is to write a guest post. Share your NOadventure!
Today Noelle and I decided to bike west on the Mississippi River Trail to the Destrehan Plantation. We didn’t have all day, so we drove to the Kenner airport and parked in one of the neighborhoods below it. These houses are right on the river and the streets dead end into the levee. After pushing our bikes up the grassy hill, we were greeted with pleasantly smooth blacktop. I instantly wondered if it would be good for skating and wished I had brought my longboard with me. Oh well, another day.
Once we started pedaling, we both agreed that had it not been 80 degrees that day, we would have been underdressed and slightly chilled. Regardless, it was liberating to be alongside the largest river system in the US with no concrete wall next to us. The wall might have helped with the headwind though, which was challenging at some instances and quite lovely on the way back.
With river on our left and buildings to the right, we passed by St. Rose, the Jefferson Memorial Gardens, and La Blanche Plantation. Other than that, the scenery switched between humble houses with picket fences and ridiculous mansions inside gray walled complexes. The Mississippi River was wide as ever, and I could see the remnants of a recent surge on the banks. I was surprised by the amount of moored storage barges along both coasts of the river, and the huge shipping tankers dwarfed us on our tiny contraptions. All was dandy until we reached the Shell plant. The air got heavy, the path got bumpy, and everything was suddenly filthy. We were riding by humongous factories and under their crotchety bridges while catching the unknown spray of whatever was cooling whatever they were making.
It wasn’t long after those two bridges that we came upon Destrehan Plantation. Well, we got excited and landed at the Destrehan Plantation Business Center, but the plantation was right next door and you can most definitely see it from the trail. According to Wikipedia, Destrehan Plantation was completed in 1709 and is one of the oldest homes in the Louisiana Purchase. It was jarring to see the plantation home right in the middle of the oil refinery.
After taking some pictures we decided to head back – right before seeing a bald eagle soar past us. We didn’t believe it was one, but the internet tells me it’s possible.
Editor’s note: There are more than 100 breeding pairs of bald eagles in the New Orleans area. Our total birds of prey population has surged since Katrina.
I’m excited about exploring more of this trail. I want to recommend this bike ride, but riding under and near that refinery was gross. I guess I can say I wouldn’t do that section again, because all in all it was a really great ride.