Last night, we stayed at the only hotel we could find that had rooms available: the Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel, near Lake Charles, La.
It was slightly jarring. The casino is a temple of neon, glass and $5 dinner buffets. (Try the gumbo.) The interior decor is either "carrot orange" or "Jolly Rancher lime green." My bathtub was the size of a Humvee.
Good times, of course. And it was encouraging to see such a vital part of Louisiana's economy getting back in the saddle. Gambling brings in billions to the state.
But the disconnect between this and the damaged towns we've seen couldn't have been more stark. We'd spent the day watching workers in Port Arthur, Texas struggle to keep water from dripping through residents' damaged rooftops. This casino features a splashy water fountain -- with fake fish.
And it seems even casino workers are anxious to be able to say things are normal. When we asked the front desk clerk if they had room service, she said, "Yes, we do," then paused, then added, "But not since the storm."
"Sooo, you DON'T have room service."
"No, we do. Just not now."