Monday, June 26, 2006

More eating and partying in New Orleans

This ALA more then ever, I felt like I was going from presentations that laid out exciting future visions for libraries, that have us starting to do really cool things in new ways, to presentations where I listened politely for awhile, silently asking, "We're still doing that?"

I am sure that every event at the conference is being furiously blogged by diligent librarian bloggers, so I am going to stick to the visceral experiences of the conference, like eating in New Orleans. I do feel a little like I got the tourist-shopping-mall N.O. experience - I never left the "sliver by the river", the French Quarter and the Convention Center Downtown.

Lots of other people I knew were going to bus or drive out to look at the ruins; one of them had an even more paradoxical feeling than mine about library futures - she went out for a drive with the sister of a conference-going librarian who lives in N.O., then she came back to the conference and went to a glitzy vendor reception with lots of fancy food and drink.

I just party hopped my last afternoon of the conference - went to an awards ceremony with champagne and birthday cake, then a library school reunion with cash bar and pretty good free cajun & creole food - red beans & rice, bread pudding, sweet potato casserole, shrimp étouffée - I did not sample much because I was pacing.
Then I went to a fancy cocktail party thrown by Google, with better free food, although again I did not eat much of it, and free drinks with flashy ice.

The Google party was at a haunted restaurant in New Orleans, Muriel's, and we ended up going downstairs for dinner, probably the best one I had in N.O. - beet salad with little crumbles of goat cheese, the dressing not too sweet or too much, and grilled shrimp, and creme brûlée with four spoons.

And I had café au lait & beignets 3 times - probably too much. Sunday I walked to the one on Decateur, but it was mobbed, and I ended up going back to the air conditioned shopping mall, but at least I got my coffee in a real china cup. Finally this morning, I got to the original and sat outside, and it was just better - the beignet were cripser and hotter, and so was the coffee. The only thing not quite right was that I had a book to read instead of the newspaper.

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