I am forcing myself to sit my ass in front of a keyboard and tell you about New Orleans. I've talked to family and friends about it since coming home and I've read other blogs about it and even some interesting articles about it. And I just don't feel like regurgitating it all again in print. But I know that months from now I'll want to remember at least some of this trip. This is why I'm not quitting my day job anytime soon to become a professional writer because this entry will be torture for me, at least in the beginning. First, let's talk about New Orleans itself. We were there for the American Library Association conference. To say that the city was glad to see us would be an understatement. They were "jazzed" to see us and it showed! Even the homeless people were nice. Normally 16,000 librarians and vendors coming to town is not something to get excited about, but I got the impression that New Orleans as a city had done some major cleaning up in anticipation of our arrival. Sure, there were some parts of town that were like that closet in your house when company is coming - full of all the shit you didn't know where to put it - and there were fresh vacuum tracks everywhere. But it was a good conference overall and extremely ... normal ... by New Orleans standards. Outside of the French Quarter, it was still deserted and sad and full of trailers and tarps. Louisiana is far from "all better" after Katrina. But it was not bedlam and I never felt unsafe there.
New Orleans was also a first for me in a variety of other ways, though. I think this may be the first ALA I've attended where I'm not deathly ill by the end of the conference. I'm not sure if it was the different schedule, the fact that I was there with Rich, or perhaps the NOPD had sprayed absolutely every surface with Lysol moments before our arrival to fend off Convention Center cooties. All I know is that I'm stoked to come home from a conference and not feel like the walking dead.
This conference was also a bit different in that I went to a few more meetings than I normally do and spent less time in the exhibit booth. I think this has a lot to do with my overall health. Having seen some other presentations over the weekend, I'm convinced that folks must think going to our meetings is like going to the circus. I think I could tell our users that there would be elephants and tigers at the next user group and they would believe me. There aught to be an option in PowerPoint that if you start reading the text you just displayed on the screen, your laptop will deliver an electric shock to force you to speak freely and not insult your audience. I really do think I'm allergic to PowerPoint.
Never fear, I did take pictures while I was there. I avoided taking pictures of the ravaged homes and flood lines that still show in the outskirts, though, mostly because I've seen them on tons of other Flickr accounts and the news. So I took pictures of random things I saw in the French Quarter or around town. Feel free to check them out at your leisure. I have some cute pictures of 4th of July to share as well but that will be later this week once I get them all compiled.