Call it embarrassing, ironic or hitting them where it hurts. The Schroeders of New Orleans — Mark, 40, Char, 39, Stassi, 17, and Hunter, 15 — were practically in their own backyard when they were eliminated from CBS' The Amazing Race: The Family Edition (just like New York's Frank and Margarita from Season 1 and San Fran's Will and Tara from Season 2). But unlike any other team before them, the Schroeders' biggest adventure started after the race ended.
TVGuide.com: You got lost trying to find a park that, by your own admission, was one mile from where you used to work. One mile!
Mark: Yeah. I'm not a big park-goer. I had no idea that park was there.
Char: Nor did I. None of us blame Mark for not knowing there was a state park there.
TVGuide.com: How long did it take to get over that?
Mark: That's one of the reasons we were so upset. We felt like [we were] not only letting ourselves down, we were letting the whole city down. We knew so many people were rooting for us. To get kicked out in your hometown just seemed twice as bad.
TVGuide.com: Since you were eliminated in New Orleans, were you able to go home and get different clothes?
Stassi and Char: Absolutely not!
Mark: We make jokes about it with the staff, but we knew it was not going to happen.
TVGuide.com: Why not? Is it prearranged that, even if you're eliminated on your doorstep, you have to go to The Amazing Race's secret, private, post-race place?
Mark: That's it exactly.
TVGuide.com: Hunter, you were on tape in the second episode calling your stepmother, Char, "such a bitch." Tell us about the conversation you had when you and Char watched that together.
Hunter: I didn't even remember saying that. My sister was just aggravating me and I meant to say that about my sister, but they just edited it the wrong way.
Char: We were both in shock. It was edited so it looked like he said that about me. We all looked around and tried to figure out how and when it happened.
TVGuide.com: Can you tell me about something you actually did say that you wish you could take back?
Mark: Basically all my comments on the first show about the Godlewski team; I didn't remember saying any of those things. I ended up feeling horrendously bad afterwards, because they turned out to be such wonderful people. I was obliged to send Sharon Godlewski a dozen roses.
TVGuide.com: What do you all have against the Weaver family from Florida? Last week, you said they were evil and you called them white trash.
Stassi: Technically, they kind of are.
Mark: They started the race [wearing] $2 flip-flops.
Stassi: And [short-shorts that looked like] underwear!
Mark: This is The Amazing Race, not "The Amazing Let's Go Feed the Chickens!" Everyone was shocked; we thought they were going to be the first team out.
Stassi: Hence the "white trash" title.
Mark: On top of that, as much as we wanted [to be on the show] and loved every minute of the Race, we had to listen to them complaining about everything.
Stassi: And they were so rude. They spent the entire time being spiteful and mean. Then they would try to come back and be friends. I do feel for them about their dad, and they were very brave in doing what they did last [week], but there's no reason for me to forget what they did to us and just let everything go.
TVGuide.com: We know you stayed with the Rogers family afterwards, but were you back home in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit?
Stassi: My parents woke me and my brother up at 7 am on Sunday [Aug. 28] and said we were heading to the Rogers' [because) it was a Category 5 and we needed to get out. We were driving two different cars on our way to Shreveport, and we ran into each other! Our two cars were ruined. We were stuck during the hurricane in Covington, not far from Fairview Riverside Park — five minutes away. About three days later we were able to get out and reach the Rogers.
Char: The Rogers wanted to send a car down, while the hurricane was brewing, and have someone physically pick us up and take us to Shreveport.
TVGuide.com: That's so sweet! Thank goodness you weren't hurt. Where are you living now?
Char: For the first two weeks we lived with the Rogers, then we moved to the Baton Rouge area. My hotel company put us up for a couple of weeks in an apartment off of St. Charles Avenue [in New Orleans].
TVGuide.com: How big is the apartment you're living in now?
Mark: It's about 1200 square feet. It's not necessarily a three-bedroom; it's basically four rooms. In those old apartments, it's not clear whether you're sleeping in a living room or a bedroom.
Char: It's the top half of a garden-district home. Someone put a set of stairs to go up one side of the building, so it's very oddly arranged. It's really beautiful and picturesque. It's just teeny.
TVGuide.com: So have you been able to visit your home and save any of your belongings?
Mark: The house is basically gutted down to the studs. Basically the only things we were able to save was anything that would stay above [the flooding level of] 3 feet. All of our paintings [were OK], and any clothes that were in our closet on the top shelf, we took to the cleaner's. We had a $900 cleaner's bill.
TVGuide.com: The Rogers family told us that all but one of this season's teams rallied to help you after Katrina. Is it safe to say that the holdouts were the Weavers?
Mark: In all fairness, I don't even know if they know our address or phone number. Who's to say that had they known where we were, they wouldn't have done something? I don't want to make a general statement like that, that everybody helped but them.
Stassi: But it's safe to say it was the Weavers.