New Orleans, Louisiana (AMS)

Mardi Gras World

Last week (July 23-27) I flew to New Orleans, Louisiana for my third Ag Media Summit.  For the welcome dinner, we went to Mardi Gras World.  It was incredible!!

Mardi Gras World

We first walked into this huge warehouse that was full of Mardi Gras floats.  I was so sad that I didn’t bring my good camera; I only had my point-and-shoot, but at least I had something!  There was a Trojan horse, a peacock, jesters, the characters of the Wizard of Oz and hundreds of other things.  It just went on and on!  Very neat place.

Mardi Gras World

Mardi Gras World
Mardi Gras World: warehouse

We were supposed to walk through the warehouse then into another building for our dinner.  I was taking my time walking through with some friends and by the time we got close to the end, some people came back into the warehouse and told us, “you’ve gotta see where we’re having dinner!”

Mardi Gras World: Grand Oaks Mansion (inside a building)

I’ll admit now, I was 100% not believing that anything could be more fun to see than the warehouse.  Boy was I WRONG!  We walked into the building where we were having our dinner, and after a minute, found ourselves on walking out onto the front porch of a plantation house… but we were still inside!  It was fantastic.  It reminded me of what I call the happiest restaurant ever, Casa Bonita.  I LOVED it.  It was the Grand Oaks Mansion of Mardi Gras World, and there are better pictures of it on the website.  Boy do I wish it were in Texas!  Awesome.

Greater New Orleans Bridge: outside of Mardi Gras World

The next day, the conference started so I was busy for the next several days.  On one of the evenings, I went with some friends to the Palace Cafe, next door to our hotel on Canal Street.  Fantastic food!  Another night I went with a couple of my friends from school to Harrah’s Casino; my first time being in a real casino!

St. Louis Cathedral
Cafe Du Monde

On Tuesday morning, my friend Keiko and I walked a few blocks from our hotel into the French Quarter to get beignets at Cafe Du Monde.  On our way, we saw the famous St. Louis Cathedral.  So pretty!  We only had a few minutes before we had to be at the first sessions of the day for the conference, so we only had enough time to snap a picture.

Cafe Du Monde: beignets!

During lunch Tuesday, Ted Jackson was our speaker.  He is one of the photojournalists who stayed in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.  He showed us his photographs of the disaster and told us his story.  When you look at the eighth picture on that link, notice where the door of the home is.  According to Jackson, the people in that picture were standing on the railing of their porch and planning to put one of the children on the log to send across the current to him (he was standing on a bridge across from them I believe).  They had the same plan for the second child with the cooler.  He left to keep them from trying it, and when he returned with emergency supplies, they were all gone, and the rescuers he saw nearby hadn’t rescued them.  I wish I had a video of his speech.  I was able to find some videos of him talking about his experiences here.

building in the French Quarter

 The last night (Tuesday night) that I had in New Orleans, I took my tripod and camera to Bourbon Street to try to get some shots of the lights.  For the first few minutes I was pretty surprised that no one was bothering me.  As soon as I recognized that I was surprised, everyone started bothering me.  Go figure.  So many people came up and would ask what I was taking pictures of… was it that hard?

Bourbon Street

At one point, a lady maybe in her late 50s, seemingly missing all of her teeth and with a man, came up to me and was speaking but I couldn’t understand her, so I leaned in thinking she was asking a question.  The only thing I understood her say in her rambling was, “I’ll kill ya.”  I leaned away and ignored her while I half-adjusted my camera, half-protected it in case she was going to do something else crazy.  Then she moved in front of my camera and exclaimed, “I’ll take that camera.. thing and shove it…” you get the picture.  Woah!  Some people from AMS were standing next to me when it happened, so it didn’t freak me out too bad.

Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street

It was the third incident where I heard someone go off for no reason in the time that I was there.  A man had yelled at my friend, Jessica, our first day there.  She took a picture of him not knowing he charged for it and he started yelling at her and after a few minutes of walking down behind us on Canal Street yelled, “what, were you raised by Neanderthals?!”  Then the day that my friend Keiko and I went to get beneighs, a man stepped in front of us asking for money and when we kept walking, he spun around and started screaming curse words at us (and we were in front of the church above, too).  Yikes.

beads in a tree

My last morning in New Orleans, I was still in tourist overdrive and determined to pack in some last-minute sightseeing before my airport shuttle at 10:50, so I went out and caught the trolley.  I noticed that the sky was dark when I left, and knew I didn’t have an umbrella, but I went anyway.  It had rained at least once every day I had been in New Orleans, but I’d never been caught in it since I was always in the hotel for the conference.  Well about as soon as I got on the trolley, it started pouring rain!

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

After maybe 15 minutes, the rain stopped, and a couple that I recognized from AMS got off of the trolley, so I did too.  We all walked to a nearby cemetery and it started to rain again so we stood under the trees for a while (my friend Jessica’s adviser let me share her umbrella to protect my purse/camera) and finally moved out of the cemetery over to a building overhang that would keep us more dry.  After a few minutes there, I decided that I needed to go back to the trolley stop and to get back to the hotel before I missed my shuttle, so I did, and while I got really wet, thankfully my camera didn’t.

It sure was a fun trip.  I want to go back some day and really sight see!

One thought on “New Orleans, Louisiana (AMS)

  1. What a fun trip that sounds like! Hey, have you ever seen the HBO documentary miniseries WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE (about Katrina)? It's pretty amazing–understandably depressing, but really well done.

    We also recently started watching the HBO historical fiction series TREME — have finished season 1, I think. A couple of the folks in the documentary who actually lived through it are actors in the series which adds a lot of authenticity to it.

    Anyway, I want to go there and visit the fun places you went sometime!

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