Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Children's Medical Center- Dallas

Children's website

Children's Medical Center is the only academic healthcare system in Dallas-Fort Worth dedicated solely to the comprehensive care of children from birth to age 18. Its mission as a private, not-for-profit, pediatric hospital system is “to make life better for children.”

Children's has grown to include two hospitals – one in Dallas and one in Plano – and several other outpatient centers. The hospital system's connection to the best medical school in the region, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, drives innovations and excellence in care.

Children's provides care ranging from neonatal critical care to sports medicine, from trauma to eating disorders. The system offers highly-specialized, nationally-recognized care for illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and blood disorders, and cystic fibrosis.

U.S. News & World Report and Parents named Children's and its specialty programs among the top ten in the nation. Many of its programs hold accreditations that no other hospital in Dallas-Fort Worth can claim. In 2009, Children's achieved nursing Magnet Recognition status by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for excellence in nursing practice.


-- Children's was the first pediatric hospital in the nation accredited in all three modes of transportation: ground ambulance, helicopter and jet.

-- Children's has the largest heart center for children in Dallas-Fort Worth.

-- Children's developed the nation's first day surgery program for children.

-- The Children's Sleep Center is the only pediatric-specific sleep center in Dallas accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

-- Children's Dallas has Texas' largest intensive care unit just for children.

-- Children's Dallas has the first pediatric-designated Level 1 trauma center in Texas.

-- Children's has the oldest comprehensive cancer survivor program in Dallas-Fort Worth.

-- The Children's Cystic Fibrosis Center is one of the largest centers for cystic fibrosis in Dallas-Fort Worth and is accredited as a “Center of Excellence” by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

-- Children's is the first pediatric hospital to receive multiple disease-specific certifications from The Joint Commission.

-- Children's Dallas is the principal clinical site for the Southwestern Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center and the recipient of a multi-million dollar, five-year grant to develop treatments and a cure.

-- Children's has an active extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program for children with cardiac and cardiopulmonary diseases.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sunday in New Orleans

Goal- drive back to Houston, avoid New Orleans city limits due to large crowds and street closures due to the Rock N Roll Marathon



Creole is the non-Anglo-Saxon culture and lifestyle that flourished in Louisiana before it became a part of the United States in 1803. Louisiana Creole is a blending of three different ethnic influences: the west European, west African, and includes a significant input from the Native American.
Guillaume Duparc's sugar farming complex was originally called l'habitation Duparc, then, years later, renamed the Laura Plantation.  At its largest size, it was approximately 12,000 acres, which included properties amassed over time.  In 1804, Duparc, a French naval veteran of the American Revolution, petitioned Thomas Jefferson for property. Construction of Duparc's manor house began in 1804 and completed 11 months later.  The work was executed by highly-skilled slaves, probably of Senegalese descent, in pre-fabricated methods, typical of early Louisiana vernacular structures. This U-shaped structure totaled approx. 24,000 sq. ft. and had a 2,500 sq. ft. detached kitchen to its rear.  At Duparc's death in 1808, the l'habitation consisted of 10 sizable buildings, including quarters for 17 slaves, a barn, warehouses and a small, rudimentary sugar mill. By the 1850s, the Duparc Plantation was the workplace for 100 mules and 195 humans, 175 of them slaves.

Laura Plantation was rescued from demolition, not because of its Big House but, because of its remaining slave quarters and what happened in them many years ago. In the 1870s, Alcée Fortier, a young neighbor of Laura's, visited the workers' cabins at this site and at nearby plantations. As a teenager, Fortier began to collect these stories from former slaves, all lively accounts of Compair Lapin and Compair Bouki, the clever rabbit and the stupid fool. Ever since, English-speakers would know Compair Lapin as that rascal: Br'er Rabbit.





Jacques Telesphore Roman began his courtship of Celina Pilie, whose very prominent family lived around the corner on Royal Street. They were married in June 1834. In May of 1836, "Valcour" Aime, neighbor, brother-in-law and friend, sold Jacques Telesphore the plantation riverboat captains later dubbed "Oak Alley."
 Jacques Telesphore and Celina plunged with enthusiasm into the project of their plantation home. There would be no corners cut ... only the best would do. The architect is believed to have been none other than Celina's father, Gilbert Joseph Pilie, and master builder George Swainy was contracted to direct the construction, a task which took over two years to complete.
The design of the mansion combined several styles, the most notable being the 28 classic columns surrounding the house. The columns measure 8 feet in circumference and are solid brick. The veranda extends approximately 13 feet from the walls, keeping the home in shade most of the day. The tall windows and doors face each other for cross ventilation and the ceilings are 12 feet high. Most important are the 16 inch thick walls throughout the house.

The mansion as you see it today has been restored to its 19th century glory, a noble tribute to those who left their indelible mark on this rich River Region.





At the edge of the sugarcane field stands the majestic Nottoway. This historic and architectural jewel was completed in 1859 by a wealthy Virginia planter named John Hampden Randolph for his wife, Emily Jane, and their eleven children.

Nottoway is the largest remaining antebellum mansion in the Southern United States and splendidly rests along Louisiana's Great River Road in White Castle, at the heart of Plantation Country.

Construction of Nottoway was completed in 1859 at an estimated $80,000. Nottoway has 64 rooms in its three floors, six interior staircases, three modern bathrooms, 22 massive square columns, 165 doors and 200 windows. During Randolph's day, the home had fancy chamber pots (flushing toilets) and hot and cold running water in all bathrooms, all unheard of at that time. Nottoway had a "gas plant" on site with gas lighting throughout the home, unique at the time. A bowling alley was installed for the children inside the home.





The Capital of Louisiana is Baton Rouge- which is French for red stick. The population is 228,000 and is the second largest city in Louisiana. The capitol builiding is 34 stories and is the tallest capitol building in the United States. 


Baton Rouge dates from 1699, when French explorer Sieur d'Iberville leading an exploration party up the Mississippi River saw a reddish cypress pole festooned with bloody animals and fish that marked the boundary between Houma and Bayou Goula tribal hunting grounds.


Baton Rouge is home Louisiana State University and it is estimated that 20% of the city's population are college students!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Saturday in New Orleans


Departed from French Quarter at 8am on a bus to Honey Island swamp. About 15 other tourists and I boarded a small boat with captain Mike. He took us around the swamps of Louisiana. While on the tour I learned that the alligators are hibernating and we would not see any on our tour. Part of me was disappointed but the other part was okay-- seeing the alligators at the zoo and aquariums is close enough for me. 

Louisiana Swamplands, though, have many different kinds of animals, including the American Alligator and the American Black Bear. Swamplands are marsh with shrubs, bushes, trees, and animals, though they may not be entirely marsh. Swamps are usually deep and can often be deceiving, and it is this aspect that alligators may rely on to catch prey: the moss covered water may easily be mistaken for land. As the alligator waits nearby, unsuspecting prey may fall through the moss layer. Alligators continue to be dangerous to humans, and while quite fast, they are clumsy while turning

The correct (house on right) and incorrect (house on left) way to build a house in the swamplands in Louisiana. The house on the right hand 3 feet of water in the house. The house on the left is pictured below!! Cinder blocks were used for the left house.

see the house- floated down river with the floods from Hurricane Katrina 


Considered by many to be one of the most pristine swampland habitats in the United States, the Honey Island Swamp covers an area that is over 20 miles long and nearly 7 miles across, with 34,896 of its 70,000 acres government sanctioned as permanently protected wildlife area.



Nutria- The coypu, or nutria, is a large, herbivorous, semiaquatic rodent and are originally from South America. Brought to the states for fur trade. Their diet is vegetation mostly on the plants found in the wetlands and swamps. Nutria were introduced to Louisiana in the 1930s for fur and nutria damage in Louisiana became so severe that in 2005, a bounty program was in effect to aid in controlling the animal. Each tail of the animal is worth $6 and some Louisianans make a living on traping these animals. 


During my short lunch break between tours I made my way to the insectarium to check out the Japanese butterfly exhibit. This attraction was filled with kids and parents everywhere!! The floor plan was easy to follow basically just two parallel halls with bugs down either side along with islands in the middle. And of course the only attraction that interested me was at the very end but it was worth it!






New Orleans is also famous for its cuisine, music (particularly as the birthplace of jazz), and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The city is often referred to as the "most unique" city in America.


The 9th Ward neighborhood was thrust into the nation's spotlight during Hurricane Katrina. Much of the 9th Ward on both sides of the Industrial Canal experienced catastrophic flooding in Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The Upper Ninth was flooded by levee & floodwall failures near the Desire neighborhood, across the Industrial Canal from the junction with the MRGO. 

The Lower Ninth Ward flooded most catastrophically, with storm surge coming through two large breaches in the Industrial Canal flood protection system, creating violent currents that not only flooded buildings, but smashed them and displaced them from their foundations. Three years after the Katrina levee disaster, reconstruction and recovery continues as a slow struggle. Schools and businesses are gradually reopening. 

Thousands are still waiting for promised insurance or government money which would enable them to make enough repairs to return to living in their damaged homes. Conditions in neighborhoods vary from the thriving Bywater to the portion of the Lower 9th north of Claiborne Avenue where the number of people back is less than one per city block, most of those living in FEMA trailers; the vast majority of the 9th Ward being about halfway between these extremes.

St. Charles Avenue is a thoroughfare in New Orleans, Louisiana and the home of the world famous St. Charles Streetcar Line. It is also famous for the hundreds of mansions that adorn the tree-lined boulevard for much of the Uptown section of the route. The southern live oak trees, particularly found in the historic Garden District, were added during the early twentieth century. Similar additions were made on other main streets throughout New Orleans, such as Carrollton, Napoleon and Canal, becoming one of the city's most memorable features. St. Charles is also known as one of the main Mardi Gras parade routes.

Texas Children's Hospital #s

Texas Children's Hospital is a pediatric hospital located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas.

With 639 licensed beds and 465 beds in operation, Texas Children's is the largest children's hospital in the United States and is affiliated with the Baylor College of Medicine as that institution's primary pediatric training site.

In 2003, Texas Children's more than 1,000 nurses achieved national Magnet Recognition, one of the highest honors in nursing.

Texas Children's has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthrough developments in the treatment of pediatric cancer, diabetes, asthma, HIV, premature birth, attention-related disorders, organ transplants and cardiogenic disorders. As of 2007, U.S. News & World Report ranks Texas Children's Hospital #6 amongst the pediatric hospitals in the nation.

In 2009 U.S. News and World Report ranked Texas Children's Hospitals among the top children's hospitals nationwide. Texas Children's Hospitals was among the first hospitals in the nation to be designated on the U.S. News and World Report Honor Roll, which is reserved to those hospitals that rank in all 10 subspecialties surveyed.

The programs were rated as follows:
#1 Kidney Disorders ,
#2 Respiratory Disorders,
#3 Heart & Heart Surgery,
#4 Digestive Disorders,
#5 Neurology & Neurosurgery,
#7 Neonatal Care,
#9 Diabetes & Endocrine Disorders,
#9 Urology,
and #14 Orthopedics.

Texas Children's Cancer Center is also ranked the #1 pediatric cancer center in Texas and the #4 in the nation

To find out more for yourself check out the hospital's website . . .   Texas Childrens Hospital

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Friday in New Orleans


Beginning my day I traveled back to Audubon Park- I wanted to see the beautiful homes on St. Charles Street up close. So I parked at the golf course and walked along the trail towards St. Charles Street. This street has been described as "The Jewel of America's Grand Avenues." The homes are just stunning!! Most completely white, many pillars, wrap around porches, and perfect landscaping. I also walked past Loyola University and Tulane- they are right next to one another and even share a parking garage. I am sure there is some huge rivalalry there too. Using my GPS to find these stunning houses I walked to the Wedding Cake House, a Victorian colonial-revival home dating back to 1896. Right next to the beautiful wedding cake home is a small side street- Rosa Park Street. Here there are about 12-14 homes all huge, white, with pillars and there is a small grass island in the middle that's perfect for playing fetch with your dog like one of the residents was doing when I walked the street. Also, blooming along the street are beautiful Japanese Magnolia trees. 

St. Charles Street
 Loyola University

 Wedding Cake House

Rosa Park Street


Japanese Magnolia Blossoms


 Audubon Park


Next I made my back to the French Quarter hoping to tour some of the homes there. First stop at Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral. Originally built in 1727 and dedicated to King Louis IX of France ,the cathedral is oldest continuously active Roman Catholic Cathedral in the USA. The current building was completed in 1850s due to a fire that burnt the cathedral to the ground. 

Also, I toured the 1850 house. This home recreates the Creole middle-class life during a great period of prosperity for the city of New Orleans.

Then over to the Beauregard-Keyes Home- just stunning!  Built in 1826 and named after two famous New Orleans residents. Confederate General Beauregard and author Frances Parkinson Keyes. There are over 200 dolls that are from the collection of Mrs. Keyes as well as over 80 tea pots. 




Walked along the Mississippi River to the IMAX to watch Hurricane on the Bayou (it was free with the purchase of my zoo, aquarium, insectarium tickets). It was a great showing of the wetlands, impact of Hurricane Katrina on the coast, and people who are trying to save the wetlands.   



Then I made my way to a food court at JAX brewing for a snack
- shrimp and fries :)


After the IMAX showing I walked back towards the French Quarter stopping off at a tour booth. I booked a tour for the morning and afternoon. A full day of touring the city of New Orleans. Swamp boat tour departs at 8am and returns at 12:45pm. Then a short break for lunch until the city/ cemetery bus tour that begins at 2:30 and finishes at 6pm. I was super excited about both my tours!!!!


Realizing that most of my day would be taken due to the tours on Saturday, I walked back towards the IMAX to tour the Aquarium of the Americas. I must say that it is a great display and has lots of educational features but when compared to the Monterey Bay Aquarium it just doesn't. I really enjoyed the Gulf Coast of Mexico fish tank with the sea turtle, sharks and tons of fish. Also, like the zoo, there is a Louisiana swamp section with a white alligator. There is a sting ray touch pool which was neat!! Sea Otter exhibit but they were off exhibit when I was there. And the last exhibit was the jellies- which I think are my favorite. I was kinda expecting it to be the same as Monterey but it was totally not! They did have a small sea nettle and a few small moon jellies but nothing in magnitude to California. 





After completing my tour of the Aquarium of the Americas I walked back to the French Quarter and found the French Market! Listened to a live jazz band play and wandered through a few shops. Went to Margarita-ville for the perfect margarita and a snack. 




Wandered the streets of the French Quarter taking many pictures along the way. Bourbon street at night is mostly just bars and strip clubs and being that I was traveling alone I tried to avoid that street once the sun went down. However, starting at 2-3pm the bars are all open with their neon ights beaming so the drinking begins rather early or actually I think it never ends. 


The lines had faded and I headed to Cafe Du Monde for some beignets. The menu here is very simple- coffee, hot chocolate, beignets. I found a table and placed my order. Soon a plate full of hot beignets covered in powdered sugar arrived!! They are kinda a mix between donuts and funnel cake but way better (I know that is a horrible comparison but it will have to do). 



As I sat in the cafe rain began to sprinkle along to streets and umbrellas emerged. After finishing my beignets I decided with my early start tomorrow and the weather I would call it a day!