Excerpt from Chapter 5 – “New Orleans to Arizona”

Published July 23, 2016

The Inheritance | George E. Smith

Excerpt from Chapter 5 – “New Orleans to Arizona”:

ARRANGEMENTS HAD BEEN MADE FOR Lady Caroline’s
party to spend several days at the exclusive French Quarter Hotel
in the heart of New Orleans. Delicious Cajun cuisine, excursions
to the city’s gardens, and a riverboat cruise enabled the English
visitors to regain their land legs in preparation for the rail trip
westward to Arizona. Once their special car was provisioned for
the 1,500-mile journey, Lady Caroline and her escorts climbed
aboard the Southern Pacific train and said goodbye to New
Orleans.

The special car had been equipped with the latest kitchen and
bath facilities, an observation deck, and well-appointed sleeping
quarters for Dr. and Mrs. Donaldson, Lady Caroline, and staff.
While crossing from Louisiana into Texas, the travelers learned
that the area of south Texas had been hit hard by a coastal hurricane
that devastated the city of Galveston, killing 6,000 people in
its wake. The train slowed several times to allow workers to clear
debris from the tracks. At times, drowned cattle could be seen as
the train inched along. The party was awed as they traveled hour
after hour over barren land and still remained in Texas. Once in a
while, they saw a lone cowboy on a horse but such a sighting was
rare. As the rail line extended west in almost a straight line, the
group enjoyed food particular to the American Southwest. The
chef and his staff provided enchiladas, tacos, burritos, and chili
dishes from Mexico as well as beefsteaks and lamb dishes more
common to the South. Corn bread was served at almost every
meal and fine French wines complemented the excellent dining
experience. As the train moved into the western part of the state,
the land became desert with little foliage or trees. It was summer
and rivers and streams were practically dry. Rainfall was not
expected for several months and daily temperatures climbed
steadily.