Welches’ trip turns into odyssey

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 6, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

A relaxing week-long Caribbean vacation came to a surprising end for Selma residents Gordon and Elaine Welch last week.

The couple – who went on a Carnival cruise to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico – was scheduled to return from their trip at the cruise line’s port in New Orleans on Aug. 28. Due to the city’s evacuation, their plans suddenly changed.

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“Since we couldn’t get into New Orleans, the ship had to change course to a dock in Galveston, Texas,” Gordon Welch said. “We stayed on the ship until Monday (Aug. 29).”

Not only did the Welches unexpectedly find themselves in a different city, their car was in a parking deck in New Orleans.

“We had to get a rental car and left Galveston at 5 a.m. on Tuesday,” Welch said. “By the time we got to Meridian (Miss.) the gas tank was low, but there was no place that had power. I pulled off at every interstate exit until I finally found a place that had gas.”

Welch said he had to wait an hour before he was finally able to get enough gas to return to Selma.

“I was so glad to see Selma and my family,” Welch said.

Welch said he has been trying to find out if anything happened to his car in New Orleans, but so far he has had no luck.

“I parked it pretty high up on the parking deck, so I’m not sure if the water got up that high or not,” he said.

In the meantime, Welch said he and his wife have been borrowing a friend’s car until they decide what to do.

“A car is such a trivial thing to lose compared to what other people have lost in the hurricane,” Welch said. “I’ve had an opportunity to meet and help an evacuee family who came here.”

Despite the inconvenience on the return home, Welch said he and his wife enjoyed their trip. The cruise was a gift to Welch, Music Minister at First Baptist Church, and his wife for 15 years of service to the Lord and the church.

“The congregation at the church kept telling us they were sorry, but there is nothing you can do about Mother Nature,” Welch said. “The cruise itself was actually nice and relaxing.”