The Spirit heads to the land of gumbo, jambalaya

May 1, 2020

Chuck Robinson


Florida is behind OOIDA’s tour trailer, and the next stop is in the land of gumbo and jambalaya – Slidell, La.

The Spirit is scheduled to be at the Slidell TA on May 2-4. It is at Exit 266 from I-10.

It looks to be a handy stop as far as groceries are concerned. There is a Rouse’ Market a block or so away from the Slidell TA. In case skipper Jon Osburn’s canine co-pilot needs something, there is a Petco with curbside pickup about the same distance away.

Slidell is on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. It is connected to New Orleans by a bridge on I-10. The bridge was replaced after Hurricane Katrina damaged it in 2005. The eastbound lanes reopened in 2009, the westbound lanes in 2010.

Lake Pontchartrain is an estuary connecting various fresh water rivers to the Gulf of Mexico.

New Orleans is a half hour away from Slidell. Slidell is about 90 miles from Baton Rouge, La., via I-12.

Just west of Slidell is the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, touted as the world’s longest bridge over a continuous body of water. It spans about 24 miles over the Lake Pontchartrain. It opened in 1956. It takes about 50 minutes to cross.

What’s on truckers’ minds?

There were two main issues on the minds of truckers in Florida. A lot of drivers were upset, and finances seemed to be the cause. Current freight rates may have been a big contributing factor.

Another issue drivers talked about was how small-business truck drivers seem to be boxed out of getting help through the coronavirus federal relief programs.

OOIDA has been critical of the Paycheck Protection Program and the Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Many OOIDA members report that they have been turned away from getting the money they need.

OOIDA Board Member Rodney Morine recently explained on CNBC that small-business truckers could be in serious trouble if they don’t get help soon.

Stop by when you see The Spirit

If you see The Spirit tour truck, stop by and say hello to Jon. He enjoys visiting about the Association’s activities and current issues. He usually has copies of Land Line Magazine to hand out. You can join or renew your OOIDA membership for $10 off the regular price there. Also, you can get vouchers for flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccines from Jon.

After Slidell, Jon and The Spirit are scheduled for two stops in Texas: Beaumont and then Carl’s Corner. Here is the schedule.

Chuck Robinson

Chuck Robinson formerly was senior copy editor for a weekly trade publication serving the fresh produce industry. He has served trade publications, horticultural journals and community newspapers for 25 years.