Saturday, March 24, 2007

This week I have been at the IADR conference in New Orleans. Apart from spending most of our time in a chilly conference centre we have also had a little time to explore the city. On Wednesday Iru and I took a stroll around the French Quarter for the first time - there was lots of live music being played and we sat and enjoyed a quartet complete with their own dance couple!! For lunch we have also been trying out various little spots - one of the best was the unprepossessing Louisiana Products on Julia Street. We got there a bit lat for their usual lunchtime crowd but we managed to have the end of their fried chicken with salad, sitting at the little rickety tables and enjoying the company of the locals.
For dinner we headed into the Crescent City Brewhouse on Tuesday night and I started the trend of having lots prawns for tea - very tasty! And on Thursday we made our way down to Snug Harbour, a fantastic jazz club, to hear Badal Roy playing the Tabala - magic!
Yesterday, in a search for an electronics store, we took a cab out to Walmart and caught the local bus home. We got a little trip through the Garden District, glimpsing the old houses, much like the balconied French Quarter houses but more spread out. Getting off in town I walked up to the Superdome and was really very surprised to see the mall just next door still looking fairly destroyed. Much of the 'touristy' areas seem to be doing fairly well, certainly full of punters. But there is a strange ghostly feel to the whole city and there are many for sale signs on the shops. Even to other Americans, who I talked to at the conference, the city seems strange - a bit like an over looked corner - I can only imagine that the areas that were devastated are still in a fairly bad way and that the people living here are still struggling enormously, which seems monstrous as it has been quite some time since Katrina came to town. I had expected that things would be looking up. We never did find an electronics store selling what we wanted - but we did find several selling what looked like the older models of cameras etc. May be there's a booming internet delivery business here or may be nobody is buying anything.

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