What a difference a year makes! I have to say that I feel much more comfortable and familiar at SLA this year. I am not sure how much of it has to do with familiar faces or whether it is familiarity with the process. I have to say that SLA is very different from ALA, it is a much smaller conference and as a result you start recognizing more and more people. It is nice to see the same people, but at the same time there are fewer chances to interact as it seems to me that many people come in groups.
New Orleans is a gorgeous city, although it is very hot in June. I landed yesterday and met some new friends quickly. Of course, we enjoyed some seafood together at dinner – definitely too much fry on my food, but to each his own. I did check out the Business and Finance Division Open House last night, but it wasn’t all that hopping. Perhaps I just had bad timing.
Today was a different story. I started the day by walking along the Mississippi and in the Vieux Carre (French Quarter). I checked out Jackson Square and the French Market, although it wasn’t really awake yet at 8:45 in the morning. I am sorry that I missed the Creole Tomato/Seafood/Zydeco festival, but it did not official start until after today’s SLA events were getting into full swing. I took pictures, but when I got back to the hotel I realized that I forgot my camera cord – so my pictures will have to wait until I get home. I took a nice leisurely stroll back to the hotel that included stopping to ogle the CVS store that also sells liquor – only in New Orleans!
While I did not win the iPad in the kickoff drawing at the INFO-EXPO, I did stop by many booths and should be set with pens for the next six months. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency is distributing wildflower, herb and vegetable seeds for planting again this year. Ibis is handing out croaking frog sling shots and Hoovers has screeching monkey slingshot animals. Some of the exhibitors are raffling off iPads, while others are giving away Kindles. I am always astounded by the good raffle items that can be found at SLA. I would, however, give a C- to the Mardi Gras event at the INFO – EXPO. There were very few options for vegetarians 😦
The Opening Session speakers were Mary Matalin and James Carville, the political power couple. They spoke about information and the lack and abundance of it at the same time. They also spoke a lot about the oil spill – for obvious reasons. They were not as vivacious as Colin Powell was last year; however, they were very interesting all the same. They also each had a unique approach to the presentation. Matalin was very much driven to the presentation side of things and kept it very straightforward and topical. Carville, on the other hand, was much more gregarious and likely to look back on his experiences with a humorous slant.
This evening I went to the IT Mystery Night and unlike last year, where I lost a foot race to get a free book, I was able to win one this year. The best part of Mystery Night, though, is the fact that they bring in local authors and have trivia games such as crosswords and word jumbles. I cannot wait until next year – I hope they get some writers like Gillian Roberts or maybe even Merry Jones. These are both Philadelphia based mystery writers, although in the interest of full disclosure the latter is an acquaintance of my mother.
By the way, if you are ever in New Orleans for a conference, I definitely recommend a trip to Mothers restaurant – it was some good gumbo and an excellent po-boy.
PS Keep an eye out for a new movie with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz – they’re filming in this neighborhood this week!