Monday, May 10, 2004

Nawlins Rocks...

I got to spend 4+ days in New Orleans last week, leaving behind the daily grind of lawnmowing which had dominated both my life and my last two posts. I remember New Orleans as being a fabulous city from a brief visit 12 years ago; needless to say, Big Easy didn?t let me down on my return.

I thought about following Jane's post-trip model by scoring the major elements of my trip on a scale of A - F.... but I hate to be a copycat. Instead, I'll just pick out a few bits and pieces of things I noticed while I was there.

The Pigeons of Jackson Square. Jackson Square is known for its psychics and palmists and buskers. For my money, though, the scariest thing in Jackson Square are the pigeons. They're not like ordinary pigeons.... they're kind of greasy and vaguely scrofulous-looking. If a bum that looked like those pigeons came up to you, you'd give him five bucks just to leave you alone.
(Incidentally, I did not opt to have my fortune read. There were an awful lot of psychics there at little tables, and no one seemed to be doing good business when I passed by; I was afraid things might get ugly if I actually selected one psychic over another:
ME: What do you see?
PSYCHIC: I see....I see the large peroxided man three tables down breaking your kneecaps after you leave my table....
ME: Uh oh.
I did, however, pay $1 to a guy whose sandwich board read "I tell jokes for money." He did. It wasn?t a great joke, but hell, it was only $1. Maybe for $5 I could have gotten the one about the priest, the rabbi, and the insurance salesman.)

Food. I'm known, in some small circles, as The Hungry Tiger due to my ability to pretty much eat at any time. I'm nearly always hungry. Naturally, this means New Orleans is a baaaad place to be. I ate so much excellent food, it's a wonder I was able to fit into my Conferencewear (tm) by the time of my presentation.

Fishies. The very first thing I did Wednesday--literally, I dropped my bag at the hotel and started walking--was go to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Pricy, yes, but worth every penny. It was amazing, one of the best facilities I've been to--and I've been to quite a few aquariums in my day. Hell, I worked in one until very recently! Our seahorses are nice, we've got more of them, but AoA's setting for theirs is exquisite. Man. Wow.

The Morial Convention Center.Jesus, that thing is huge. And I thought Javitts was big! Naturally, my conference was on the way far end of it, entailing a hell of a lot of walking in somewhat restrictive shoes. I doubt this did anything to mitigate the food mentioned above, though.

Chillin' in the French Quarter. Despite the Morial's vastness, I made my escape from the conference on a regular basis. I hit the Cafe du Monde. I found a magic and oddities shop called "Sideshow," which is owned by Elizabeth Anderson, wife of Harry Anderson of "Night Court" and SNL fame. I prowled around the voodoo shops and bought a tiny, worried-looking little matchstick poppet. Best of all, I hooked up with Marguerite, who I hadn't seen in about 5 years; she showed me around, took me out for good food and great music, and I had a blast. Overall, an excellent week. And now, back to the land of John Deere and 12-12-12 fertilizer.