Elation and Celebration

The city of New Orleans rings in the New Year unlike anyplace else. Thankfully, the success of our maiden voyage (see the Log of Cayenne for photos and details) meant the mood of Cayenne matched the elation of the whole city.

Since we were back at the dock and tied up by 3 pm, we started our own celebration long before dark. Brian kept threatening to just go to bed, starting at about 8:30 pm.

As a harbinger of what was to come, we had been hearing fireworks off and on all day. At 11:45, we went outside and climbed up on Jim’s boat, a stable platform about 12 feet off the ground. From there, we could see for miles, because New Orleans is eerily flat (being located below sea level helps!). The sky was completely clear and the stars were out.

From where we stood, we saw fireworks of every variety in all directions. The intensity increased, so that by midnight, we stood in the center of a circle with a constant 360 degrees of fireworks. At every point on the compass were brilliant arrays of green, red, blue, white, yellow, orange. To the south, on the Mississippi River, was a huge commercial display. There was another to the west. On the other side of the industrial waterway, to the east, were backyard displays rivaling the commercial ones. Every point of the compass had its own display, and the sound of the constant explosions ranged from high-pitched popping to deep, distant rumbles.

Never, in my entire life, had I seen such a city-wide display of fireworks.

By 12:12 am, the stars were obscured by a thick pall of sulfurous smoke. But the concussions continued. When we retired to bed at 12:30, the city was still going strong. We were lulled to sleep by the near-constant sound, and could see occasional explosions through our tiny portlights.