Saturday, May 4, 2013

Work/Play in NOLA!

About a month ago I had the privilege of joining some of my colleagues in New Orleans for the annual meeting of the Southwestern Social Sciences Association (SSSA). I was about 27 weeks along in my pregnancy and thankfully not feeling nearly as exhausted as I generally do now at nearly 32 weeks!

After teaching all day on a Thursday I headed to the airport and caught my flight to NOLA via Dallas (of course, because all of my travel includes a stop in Dallas). I got in and to my hotel around 10pm and promptly went to sleep. The next morning I presented a paper with one of my colleagues who is the director of the gerontology center at our university. Our presentation went well and while our session wasn't well attended those of us who were there had a great time.

After the session there was a lot of food to be sampled! We started with the hotel buffet which was outstanding, especially since I didn't have to pay. After brunch I rested and napped until dinner. It seemed like a wasted day but I was so exhausted that I really needed that down time. For dinner we got together and headed to Red Fish Grill a few blocks away on the edge of the French Quarter along Bourban Street. Thankfully someone thought to make a reservation as the place was packed. I thoroughly enjoyed some BBQ Oysters and chicken. For dessert I had the chocolate bread pudding and I just about died from the deliciousness of it! I am not a huge bread pudding fan but this was absolutely amazing. Of course, I ate it so quickly that I didn't get a picture but here is a picture from some random site that does it justice: Red Fish Grill Bread Pudding.

That was it for Friday. On Saturday morning there were more presentations and more buffet followed by a tour of New Orleans. I opted for the open top, hop on hop off, style tour and it was okay. I was a little disappointed in the tour guide quality and some of the other passengers but it was okay. We did go by a lot of the major sites which was nice. First up, the Superdome:

This next picture was taken while driving down some street (I really should have paid better attention or blogged about this less than a month after the fact). The reason for the picture is because my grandmother's maiden name is Nadeau, not a name you see all that often unless you are in a French speaking part of the world!

The tour also went by Mardi Gras World which is where the house all of the Mardi Gras floats. I originally wanted to go in and take a tour but decided that since the door was open and we were able to get a sneak peak that I would save my money and buy beignets instead.

These next pictures are heading into the French Quarter and being that it was a Saturday before a holiday (Easter being the next day) it was super crowded in the Quarter. This church is said to have been an inspiration for Walt Disney and one of the Disney castles which means that I have now seen two of his inspirational castles!

The tour officially ended at this cemetery so we decided to walk around, I think it would have been much more interesting had we had a tour guide or something to tell us what we were looking at! It was also getting pretty darn hot and humid and my feet were really beginning to swell so we set off in search of nourishment, AKA Beignets!

When we were in DC for the inauguration I had some beignets at a Cajun restaurant and was sorely disappointed, were they really just not as good as I remembered them being or was it just that restaurant? Thankfully it was just that restaurant. The beignets at Cafe Du Monde did not disappoint and I ended up coming home with two boxes of mix so that I could make some for the husband.

By the time we got back to the hotel I was ready to crash! I wish I would have thought to stop and grab some food to take back to the hotel room with me but since I didn't I ended up going out one more time. This time I went right across the street to a little dive that served Po'Boys and ordered the fried shrimp Po'Boy. This picture does not do it justice, the sandwich was as big as my head and there was probably a pound of fried shrimp on it. It was very tasty and hit the spot. I think I ate maybe half of it and a few of the delicious onion rings. Unfortunately, while pregnant, I've found that I don't have as much room in my stomach for huge portions which is both good and also very, very sad!

Overall I had a great trip to New Orleans but I was not sad to get home and back on the ground. I am thankful that all of my air travel is done until after baby comes!

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