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Finishing What Began in 1996

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Sixteen years ago, I went on an 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. It was a special four day trip that only students with clean records and good grades could attend, and was my first long trip without family. This trip took us touring the DC Metro and surrounding area to see all of the museums, monuments, and historical sites. It was a wonderful trip, and one that stands out in memory, especially for one detail. There was one thing I never saw on that trip, the Lincoln Memorial.

I was supposed to see it on the final day along with the White House, Smithsonian, and Washington monument. However, due to the White House tours being severely behind schedule and a gas leak that led to the evacuation and containment of the Smithsonian, there ended up being no time to see the memorial before our bus left for the airport.

Finally, 16 years later, I journeyed through a mile of heavy rain to see this last monument at Washington D.C. It is perhaps as wondrous as the Washington Monument and its reflecting pool. It’s a towering statue of the man that declared freedom for all people in this country within a massive building filled with natural light. Growing up in the bubble of suburbia, it was hard to really understand the impact of this man’s moment in time. Having come of age, and seen more of the world, I can be much more grateful for his bravery and the sacrifices made 150 years ago.

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Photos from New Orleans Final four Trip

I think I finally found where they moved the photo gallery option… I actually didn’t take a lot of photos, because I was shooting video most of the time, but here are some that I did get during the Final Four weekend.

NCAA Final Four Weekend Compilation

The NCAA men’s basketball Final four weekend in New Orleans has come to an end. ¬† The weekend was full of fun festivities and traditional New Orleans offerings. The games offered rematches of big regular season matches and a showdown in perhaps the biggest rivalry college basketball has. ¬†Enjoy my compilation of the video footage I shot during my trip to the Final Four 2012.

A day in New Orleans

After the madness of the Final Four Semis, it was nice to spend a day experiencing New Orleans. The city is a very unique place with its own culture. The people are very friendly. Not once did I come across someone rude. Everyone was happy to give directions, tips on restuarants, or the best places to get NOLA’s famous dishes. Everything, even popular chains, like McDonalds have large, flashy front faces to try to grab attention, making for a very beautiful down town.

During the day, I experienced perfect weather in the low 80s. There were a lot of people already walking along the main street, Canal St., as well as the famous Bourbon street that connects Canal to Armstrong Park.

Bourbon street was already bustling with activity in the early afternoon. People were out enjoying the many drinks that have made New Orleans popular, like the jester and hand grenade. Bars shouted out specials, but for the most part, things were still pretty laid back. No one was there to party so much as to enjoy the festivities.

Once Bourbon street emptied into Armstrong Park, a couple parties for KU and U of K were playing music and getting their crowds to cheer. These were actually smaller parties than the official ones going on back near the stadium, but they still had a couple hundred people each.

At night, things were much wilder. There were a lot more people filling up Bourbon street, and all of them were celebrating their teams winning out in the streets, rather than remaining in the bars. People on the second floor balconies were dropping down beads and calling out team chants to passing fans. This was the New Orleans I had heard about and seen on TV many times.

I don’t think there’s any way to describe what this particular section of New Orleans is like. Canal Street is a lot like the main down town streets of San Fransisco, complete with trolleys running down the middle. Bourbon street is a fairly quiet stretch of bars and gift shops with a mixture of old architecture. Street performers and artists litter this stretch and the park at the end during daylight, but the night is owned by music performers. At night, Bourbon street is like a ten block long 4th Street Live with ten times the energy. Everyone and everything is lively and celebrating life.