Since we've both always wanted to see NoLa, I brought my hubby and we went a few days before RT to see the sights and taste the tastes of the Crescent City.
What I learned: New Orleans really embraces being New Orleans.
Before you leave the French Quarter, you'll want to stop at a couple other places too.
Pat O'Brien's was recommended to me by one of my best writer friends, former Louisiana resident Melinda Dozier. She said to get a Hurricane while I checked out the Piano Bar. So I did. And then I came back and did it again two more times. It was that much fun. The piano lounge is really not all that large and once they squeeze in the two pianos and the bar, there is not a lot of space left. But the crowd fills the tiny tables and people sit elbow to elbow and everyone sings along and it is just plain fun. If you get a chance, give it a try.
Looking for some other touristy stuff?
Check out The Saint Louis Cathedral.
Ready for another drink?
We had the most incredible brunch at The Ruby Slipper. If I were local, I'd eat there monthly. (I'd say more frequently, but the portions were huge and I'd be too full to eat there more often.)
Our other favorite meals in New Orleans:
Chargrilled Oysters at Felix's. Yum. I mean...yum.
Lunch at Commander's Palace. --I don't have any pictures, because Commanders is kind of fancy and we were trying to act classy, so you are just going to have to take my word on it. It's lovely. There are several small dining rooms in a gorgeous old building filled with charm and interesting architecture. More importantly, the food and service is unbeatable. It might have been the best meal I've ever eaten. As in best ever eaten. Period.
Tuesday Night Dinner with lots of writer friends!--
So, yeah, I should have asked our very nice waiter/bartender to take this picture. Oops. You live and learn, right? Meeting these women (and Rachel Kall who arrived a day later) who I've been chatting with online, some for a year or more, was the very best part of the trip. They are all so much more charming and funny and delightful than I'd even imagined. It was a lot like having a convention family. We met up for different events and meals and shared information and moral support before pitches. I'd have been lost without them and I cannot wait for next year, when I hope we all meet up at the RWA con in New York.
Before I share about RT itself, I have a couple more pictures of sightseeing around NoLa. New Orleans is famous for its graveyards and they are certainly intriguing. We made sure to find the tomb of Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen.
Mr. Blaze and I have a special fondness for aquariums, and the one in New Orleans did not disappoint. I could fill an entire post with neat pictures from the aquarium, but I'll resist and just share this one.
Mr. Blaze and I caught a ferry over to Algiers Point. It was a quick ride, but now we can officially say that we rode on the Mississippi River and we got to see the curve of the shore that earned New Orlean's its nickname, The Crescent City.
While in Algiers, I found the Tardis!!!
AND THEN IT WAS TIME FOR RT!!!!
RT was a blur of social events, craft and business panels, meetings, pitches and general awesomeness. Wednesday night was a fun event at Mardi Gras World.
One Lucky Night: Constance Phillips and Aria Kane.
And then on Saturday there was a Giant Book Fair! Here is Barbara Garren and Evie Knight, another lovely writer friend I finally met at RT. You can see Barbara's lovely book, Infinite Potential (Phasms) there on her table. She did a great job at the signing. :)
Taming Darkness. Aren't her heart-bracelets just about the cutest swag you ever saw?
After visiting some of my writer friends at their tables, I grabbed some presents for my sister and some friends from some of my favorite best selling authors like Charlaine Harris, Jeaniene Frost, Kerrelyn Sparks and Kim Harrison. All I can say is the giant book sale was in fact giant.
Let's talk Swag.
You get a lot of books when you attend RT. This is the pile of books and swag that I ended up with. I swear I wasn't even trying, but someone handed me an awesome bag filled with awesome books at every event. It's basically book lover heaven. Actually, I'm fairly certain one specific event--an early evening social event hosted by Avon books that had wine, gourmet cupcakes and a massive book signing with free books is as close to nirvana as I am every likely to see again. So yes, I left with an embarrassment of riches. I'm finding the books I don't think I'll read right away good homes with readers who review. :)
Good bye NoLa and thanks for all the drinks.