It’s Grace here, typing on my porch during a brisk morning at the cottage. I’ve been spending my past few days building up a tan, wakeboarding, and lazily flipping my way through some of the books I’ve accumulated lately. There was about a 12 hour turnaround between my flight home from New Orleans (and American Library Association’s annual conference) and cramming myself, my dogs, and my entire family into the car for three days as we hurtled from Florida to Ontario. I literally just took my tote of books from ALA and stuck it in the back of the car, adding a few extras.
Somehow, we made it! Admittedly, I haven’t been in too much of a reading mood, due to both restlessness and my company up here. The few books I’ve torn through have been ones that I just picked up a little randomly, because I don’t want to dig through my highest priority books just yet. And the first book I read was actually my favorite. Without further ado, here’s a mini sort of recap for my time in New Orleans, coming to you a little on the later side.
Because I have very limited internet, I’ll be uploading photos to go along with this when I’m back in the country!
I got into New Orleans on Thursday morning and immediately headed uptown, to a friend’s house. Dropped off my luggage. Changed my dress, because I already craved the thinnest, most heat-friendly material that I’d brought. I mostly walked around the area around Tulane looking for a coffee shop and a breakfast.
The worst part about traveling for me (it being one of my favorite things), is the pressure to pick something aesthetic or comforting or perfect for just about every meal. I’d stubbornly look through Yelp for ages before settling. I ultimately found myself happy with just a latte and egg sandwich though. Spent most of the rest of my day on Magazine Street, happily scouring window fronts. I’d run in the evenings in Audubon Park, and loved the scenic two-mile loop. Swans and swing sets and fountains.
Friday was much of the same. I hunted coffeeshops and fell absolutely in love with one café, The Vintage, for both its decor and food. (I’ll likely do a coffee shop post later, if that’s appealing, so let me know in the comments!) On Friday, I ended up walking what felt like most of the city. Wandered down Magazine Street towards the French Quarter.
Bourbon Street wasn’t really my thing. I loved watching the busking, hearing the drums and the jazz. Busking is one of my favorite parts of one of my favorite cities, Asheville. Seeing violins and bongos on the street corners. But I wasn’t so much a fan of the crowds and tourism and the debauchery.
Saturday was the first morning I found myself at ALA. Since it’s always been more chill than BEA, and I’ve gotten way more relaxed about just letting myself wander rather than micromanaging everything, I slept in a little. Grabbed an Uber to the conference center.
I’d forgotten how overwhelming publishing conferences can be, actually. Orienting myself among the booths, deciding which signings I’d prioritize. I didn’t know anybody aside from Erica from Bloomsbury (always a favorite to go see!), and Eric, an author and agent who everyone seems to know from his corgi (and now baby) photos. Chatting with them was lovely.
I’d only prioritized five or so books that I wanted, then a slew of books I’d be very interested in if I could find them. I ended up coming home with about those, with notes to request one or two I’d missed out on for the fall. Because I’d managed to get that done on the first day, I decided to forgo my second day of the conference to explore some more, and read back in The Vintage. One of my favorite people from school, Allie, told me that I absolutely had to take a yoga class that her sister led, so I carved out time that afternoon to unwind in an atmospheric studio called Reyn. I made it back for the very end of things on Monday before my flight out that evening.
And on the way out, we of course stopped for beignets.