New Orleans 3:11 p.m. 2003-09-29

Current Listening: The King of Torts by John Grisham
Current Reading: Savannah Blues by Mary Kay Andrews
Recipe of the Day: Black Bean Burritos and Chicken Mole Burritos
Daily Quote:
Remy McSwain: Just relax, darlin'. This is the Big Easy. Folks have a certain way o' doin' things down here. -The Big Easy

I just got back from my trip to New Orleans last night at about 10PM. I flew down for the SETESOL (South East Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Conference, held at the Doubletree Hotel. We stayed at the Pelham Hotel, about 100 yards away. It was not a horrible experience, but it was also not a "luxury" hotel. To paraphrase The Princess Bride:

[Vizzini has just cut the rope The Dread Pirate Roberts is climbing up]

Vizzini: HE DIDN'T FALL? INCONCEIVABLE!

Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

The same with luxury. It's everywhere now: apartments and hotels especially! While our hotel was not a complete rathole, the housekeeping left a lot to be desired. Our carpet was not vaccuumed, our coffee mugs were merely rinsed in the sink (so that vestiges of lipstick were there, even the third day when I decided to wash them myself), and there were cigarette burns on the bathroom cabinets. They also tried to sneak in charges for the safe and internet use, which we did not even take advantage of. I fought the internet charge, but ended up paying $3.00 a day for a safe we didn't use.

Other than that, the conference was nice - I met some publishers, got some free samples, and even checked into an opportunity to present a project that I do with my class, perhaps to be sponsored by a publisher!

On Saturday, my sister, mother, niece, and two nephews came into town to pick me up. We walked around, shopped some, ate muffalettas, and went to see the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. Then, we returned to Covington, LA, where I was dropped off at Stringbeans, a bead shop, with my niece and a $40 gift certificate. I made the most magnificent necklace, and spent $52 on it, of which I only had to pay $12. I will take a picture of it sometime - it's one of my best, ever.

That night, my dad came in briefly for my nephew, Aidan's, birthday - he is 5 years old. Unfortunately, my birthday present didn't go over as I had hoped. It was an alligator theme: a resin alligator head, alligator pencil sharpener, a coloring book of swamp life, and, the piece de la resistance, a t-shirt with a big shredded hole cut out of it, with blood splattering, proclaiming him a member of the Louisiana Alligator Wrestling Team. It came with a card. I tried!

Mom and I drove home yesterday, listening to the John Grisham novel on CD. He must really dislike tort lawyers. It was sort of the anti-Erin Brockovich.

Other notes:

Restaurants visited: The Red Fish Grille, The Bourbon House Seafood Restaurant, and Landry's Seafood House. I had crawfish etouffee, raw oysters, shrimp remoulade with fried tomatoes, hurricanes... and, for dessert, bread pudding and chocolate cake!

Favorite snack food: pralines. The best samples were at Aunt Sally's Creole Pralines - literally PILES of them! I think I still have one in my bag....

Other foods: Muffalettas at Central Grocery - I passed on a jar of olive salad! Jambalaya and dobache cake at my sister's house - a belated birthday!

Best Buys: Designer tie dye t-shirt from my tie-dye guy, Z. Go to see him in the French Market Flea Market! Oriental purse from Mexican vendor in flea market. Tin ornaments from Mexico - purchased at a needlepoint shop on Chartres Street. Kitschy saints ornaments (Mary and St. Martin) purchased at an import shop in the Quarter (I'll think of the name later)!

New Artist: Alex Beard - check him out!

Favorite Creative Endeavor: My new necklace, concocted of Catholic saint's medallions and irridescent Austrian crystal! I think I'm on to something!

Coolest Stray from Christianity: Voodoo Authentica, a shop on Dumaine with interesting facts and artful altars!

A thing I promised to do: Make treasure boxes for my nephews using recycles Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.

That's all for now!

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