Guest Blog : Five go Adventuring in New Orleans

28 February 2011

High Point: Landing in New Orleans during the Mardi Gras festivities; Meeting Martha in real life

Low Point: Losing some FTFE video footage, thanks to the very shady people of New Orleans Computer Repair

No Point: Hearing ‘House of the Rising Sun’ performed on stage by a blind-drunk geriatric singer. Who knew that you could sing a whole song without using any real words?

(Not sure she got the) Point:

Prostitute on New Orleans street corner saw the British fire engine and asked  “Hey, what are you doing?”, to which Steve replied: “Why, what are YOU doing?”

Joining the FTFE crew for a few days was a bit like being Timmy the dog from the Famous Five. I scampered along while the intrepid team headed off to fantastic new adventures, part of the group but really just a loyal follower.  Trotting along with Steve, Steve, Val, Gemma, Amy and James, my eyes bright and my tail waggy, I was excited and proud to be part of this team for a short while.

Any avid reader of the Follow That Fire Engine blogs will know that this expedition is about raising awareness, and obviously money. That means talking to as many people as possible about the cause, handing out flyers and answering the many questions that people ask, everything from “What’s written on your t-shirts?” to “What, you’re only doing, like, 5 continents?”. The team’s preparation for public relations and communications must have been mind-blowing. I am still trying to work out how they manage to hand out, yet still carry, so many flyers; I can only assume that Gemma, their PR guru, was secretly re-printing them during the night.

The FTFE crew’s enthusiasm is contagious, and even after only 3 days, so was their level of exhaustion. Then of course, there’s the fact that we arrived in New Orleans during the Mardi Gras season. I get the impression that New Orleans is usually a lively town, but no more so than during the months of February and March. We ate out, partied and listened to live music, proudly wearing our Mardi Gras necklaces. The bars of New Orleans are usually open 24 hours a day but I was still surprised to find that by the time we got back to our trailer for the night, it was 4am.

Heading home to Chicago on the plane, the passenger sitting across the aisle from me leaned over and asked:

“So, were you down in New Orleans for Mardi Gras?”

“Not exactly”, I replied. “I went to see some friends who are driving a fire truck around the world”


“So, you were there for Mardi Gras?”, he said.

“No, I went to see my friends. They’re driving around the world. In a fire truck”

…More silence…

“What? Mardi Gras truck?”

“No, fire truck”. I desperately attempted one last time.

This was usually the point where someone handed over a flyer. Unfortunately I could only grin back and hope the guy didn’t think I was a lunatic. I bet Timmy the dog never had this problem.

And while I’m on the subject of children’s books, buy a copy of “Martha’s Long Journey”. All profits will go to the Follow that Fire Engine charities.


[flickr album=72157626184968754 num=30 size=Square]


Comments are closed.