New Orleans Conference Trip Report

Mar 20th, 2019, 02:34 PM
  #1  
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New Orleans Conference Trip Report

I attend an annual conference that is held in different cities around the U.S., always the first week of March, and this year the conference was scheduled for New Orleans during Mardi Gras, taking place at the Astor Crowne Plaza on the corner of Bourbon and Canal. When we were told the location of this year's event, I thought the organizers were crazy to plan the conference for during Mardi Gras, but it was actually a lot less problematic than I thought it would be. The worse part was being dropped off on the “wrong” side of Canal Street just as a two-hour parade started, with what seemed like thousands of people and metal barricades blocking my ability to get across the street to the hotel. It took almost 90 minutes before I could find a crossing point, so I watched the parade (well, as much as I could, since I'm 5' tall....), got up close and personal with LOTS of people, and tried to figure out ways to get through the crowds while wheeling a 21” suitcase with a backpack on my back.

Once I made it to the hotel, I was happy to be sent to a room on the 11th floor facing away from Canal Street, so most of the stay was quiet, minus the loud drunk people who returned to their rooms at 3 a.m. I had a view of the Mississippi River, and on brief forays back to the room, got to see tug boats, barges, and at least one cruise ship go by.

Three of us went onto Bourbon Street Tuesday night and had a good time. Very loud, and tons of trash, but filled with friendly, happy people who were polite more often than not. People were throwing beads down to the crowds, and only one joked with one of the women I was with, saying, “You know what you’ve got to do.” Another woman behind me said, “I ain’t drunk enough for that shit…!” I didn't actually see anyone flashing the bead throwers, although I did see a few women as they were tucking certain body parts back in to their tops.

When we weren't in meetings, we seemed to be eating, and the food was great! After I checked into my room, a friend and I went to the Back Space Bar & Kitchen, where I had a Cajun Poutine (housemade chips, debris gravy, cheddar cheese, and green onions), which tasted great after traipsing around trying to get to the hotel. The next morning we visited Café Beignet, and then ended up at Coterie for breakfast on two other mornings. The first time we went I had the Seaside, which was crawfish, lump crab, blackened shrimp, scrambled eggs, mixed cheese, onions, bell peppers and potatoes, and the second time I had Breaux Bridge Boudin (Cajun sausage stuffed with meat, rice & seasonings), and topped with crawfish etouffee. For dinner one night we went to the Royal House Oyster Bar, where I had the “Taste of New Orleans,” which had chicken & andouille jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, and chicken & andouille gumbo.

On the day we didn’t have any seminars scheduled, a friend and I took part in a plantation tour and airboat ride, which was great since they picked us up at the hotel, transported us around to the two venues, and then brought us back to the hotel. We visited the Destrehan Plantation, which was beautiful with significant history of how the places were run in the past and how the slaves were treated. We were then driven to the swamp for the airboat ride, which was a lot more exciting than I thought it would be – when we were in the open water, the “captain” would send the boat flying toward a distant buoy, and then slide sideways and backwards around it. Once we got into the bayou, we saw alligators, bald eagles, and beautiful scenery.

Another thing that impressed me was the clean up of the debris left in the streets - the beads, the drink containers, the hundreds (thousands?) of plastic bags that the merchandise came in, etc., were gone by Wednesday morning. I also loved the architecture in the French Quarter (how can you not?), and all of the hotel and wait staff at the various restaurants we went to were friendly and accommodating. The trip turned out to be a very enjoyable four days, and we actually got a lot of work done, as well!

Last edited by twina49; Mar 20th, 2019 at 02:37 PM.
twina49 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2019, 07:32 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Sounds great. We're going to be in New Orleans (again!) in May. Please share the name of the outfit that ran your airboat ride.

(P.S. I don't think I could move if I ate what you ate for breakfast! That's why we rent an apartment -- a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee for breakfast, same as always. Great New Orleans food is saved for dinner).
sf7307 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2019, 08:29 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2010
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To sf7307 and anyone else that will be in New Orleans in May - I will be in New Orleans on May 21-23 arriving on the "City of New Orleans" and leaving for Houston on the Sunset Limited. If you will be in NOL in my time frame, please PM me for a possible GTG.
tomfuller is online now  
Mar 21st, 2019, 09:09 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
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Sorry Tom, I'll be there May 1-6. I hope others can join you.
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Mar 21st, 2019, 03:18 PM
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sf7307 - It was the Louisiana Tour Company (https://louisianaswamp.com/). And I agree about the meals - thank goodness we did a lot of walking during the time we were in New Orleans!
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