Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Big Easy

New Orleans top ten highlights (I attended the AAPOR annual conference last weekend, and also found plenty of time to play tourist. I became unexpectedly fond of this city):

10. Being in New Orleans during a flash flood warning

9. Not tripping over my feet or my words in my first professional conference presentation

8. Bourbon street. Yikes! (Anyone who has been there knows exactly what I mean.)

7. Room service :)

6. Getting trapped momentarily in an elevator just below the 27th floor of the hotel (hey, it could have been worse)

5. Balconies! Everyone in the French Quarter seems to have them. I want one. With plants.

4. Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. Have I ever told you that I love cemeteries? New Orleans cemeteries are known as Cities of the Dead because they look like streets with rows of buildings. This one is in the beautiful garden district.

3. Sitting in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant watching a man at the next table use his shoe to smash a giant cockroach on the wall, then hearing the bartender scream out a moment later, "What did you do to Frankie?!" (Seriously, though, the food all weekend was excellent. Jambalaya, gumbo, seafood and po'boys, mmmm!)

2. A driving tour, offered through the conference, of areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, most of which are still in various states of disrepair. Conducted by a non-profit group called Women of the Storm. Sobering and inspiring all at once -- these ladies saw something that needed to happen in their community and just started doing it. I want to do that. (I also heard heartbreaking stories from my taxi driver and others I met along the way who lost friends and family, who tried to rescue who they could, who pulled together with others through the storm. It all put my life into perspective. I thought my basement flooding a few days before this trip was something, but compared to this, I am not complaining.)

1. Live jazz. I can't describe this in words. Click on these links to have a listen yourself:

And I didn't even get to take the plantation tour or the swamp tour or help rebuild a school or house! All in all, I highly recommend N'Awlins as a destination. Interesting history and culture, great live music, and they need the money coming into their economy. Let me know when you go and I might even come with you!

1 comment:

Margaret said...

Yeah, you totally made me want to go there. :) I'm glad it was cool! I LOVE cities with their own history and culture - so cool!