December 19th, 2017


Nawlins: Saturday

Normally this time of year I would just have gotten back from the Bay Area for AGU, but they are currently doing major construction and renovations on Moscone Convention Center, and somebody at AGU thought about that and said (quite sensibly) "y'know, I don't think we can put on a week-long scientific conference for 25,000 people while there's active construction going on," so this year it was in New Orleans instead. (Next year it will be in DC, then back to SF for the 100th anniversary meeting the year after that.)

Since he'd never been there before, Jerry came along with me. I've been there a few times before and done a number of the touristy things, so it worked out well, because he could go sight-seeing while I was at the meeting and I didn't feel left out.

We flew out Saturday morning on Southwest. Brandon very kindly gave us a ride to the airport at 8 in the morning, and we got there faster than I think I've ever made the trip. The flight was pretty uninteresting. We shared a taxi from the airport with my coworker Melissa; he dropped us off at the great big Hilton a block from the convention center, and she continued on to an AirBnB in the garden district. The NOLA airport is pretty close in; it only took half an hour, door to door.

After we got settled in to our hotel room, we needed to pick up supplies (breakfast for me, lens solution for him). After unsuccessfully looking in the Riverwalk mall adjacent to the hotel, we found a supermarket about a mile away in the Central Business District and make the trek there. I was surprised how expensive everything was -- about 20-30% more expensive than at home. It seems to be a kinda pricey town.

On the way back, we stumbled across the last night of Luna Fête, which was a bunch of light-based art installations along some blocked-off streets in the CBD. We wandered through it with our shopping bags in hand, walked through the interactive pieces, and it was pretty cool. A mini magical adventure!

So then it was dinnertime. On my own, I probably would have been boring, found something nearby, and settled in for the night because travel is tiring, but Monkey was keen on seeing some of the French Quarter and persuaded me not to be a slug. (Hooray for husbands. :) We found a cheap dinner place with good reviews in the Quarter and headed over there, only to find that it was closed. Permanently. So we redirected to another such place, not too far away, only to find that it, too, had just shut down for good. At that point, we were like "okay, need food now or murder will happen," so we just went to the nearest Willie's (a local fast-food chain) and got fried chicken. It was actually quite good, considering. Afterwards, since we were only a couple blocks away, we went to Cafe du Monde and got coffee and beignets. (Well, he had coffee; we split an order of beignets, and that was plenty.) Pro tip: if you got to CdM on at 9 pm on a Saturday when it is VERY cold for those parts (40 and damp, brr!) there's no wait to get a table.

Aside: for the last year and a half, I've been pretty successful at sticking to a keto-ish low-carb / high-fat diet, which clearly suits my body. I knew that it would be very difficult to eat that way while in Nawlins and that it would make me feel deprived and oppressed, so I didn't even try. So I ate lots of things that I wouldn't normally, but the interesting thing is that I didn't find myself craving them. Like, I realized that I miss the convenience of sandwiches, but I didn't go "oh my god BREAD I missed you so!" or anything. Actually, by the end of the trip, both of us were desperate for a salad and green some vegetables that weren't breaded and fried...

So now that we were finally all fed, we heard back from Adam L. that yes, he was around, and in fact was also in the French Quarter! He was hanging out at Cafe Lafitte in Exile, which is the oldest continually operating gay bar in the U.S., and was just a few blocks away on Bourbon Street. So of course we went there and joined him.

CLiE is pretty small, but it has a nice upstairs and a balcony overlooking the street. We hung out there for an hour or two chatting away, and then we wandered off to look at the Rawhide (but not go in because we didn't feel it was worth the cover that night), and then off some other bar because he wanted Jerry to try a Sazerac and theirs was the best. Then we felt like we were done with hanging out in bars, but we didn't feel like we were done hanging out, so we went back to the hotel and hung out there until it was very late, and all in all we had a lovely and delightful time. Yay!