Saturday, May 21


A little back story: Ben and his mother Jenifer encouraged me to attend the American Institute of Architects (AIA) national convention in New Orleans. I don't usually make plans like this because of our unpredictable lives, and indeed it turned out that Ben's medical schedule changed and he wasn't able to come with me. Just when we found that out, Ben got an email from his friend Erik in Seattle offering to come visit and help out. It turned out the dates of the conference worked for Erik, so I planned to go on my own. When my parents found out, all of my Dad's business trips when he traveled by himself flashed before my his eyes and he suggested to both my mom and myself that she accompany me. Win! While I do enjoy some time to myself, the thought of driving six hours both ways and eating out solo did not thrill me.

Trip highlights:

-Not driving for three whole days! Just walking, shuttles, cable cars, and more walking.

-The food. I tried oysters, shrimp remolade, drum, bread pudding, turtle soup, duck egg rolls, cafe au lait, muffaletta, zydeco bread, quail, corn artichoke chowder, and praline candy for the first time! And had guava juice, catfish, gumbo, and beignets for a second time. All so good!

-Off of food, a couple great restaurant experiences. Tujagues in the French Quarter was one of those unpretentious hole-in-the-wall places with amazing food. Just one menu each night with five courses!
And... the Commander's Palace in the Garden District. Quite famous, and our friend Melissa works there! So we got the royal treatment. When Mom and I arrived the head-of-floor waiter introduced himself. Then, throughout the meal special mini-appetizers kept appearing, like a marinated shrimp on onion jelly and white truffle sauce. When we were through, the waiter gave us a tour (including through the kitchen!!) and took us to see Melissa.

-Sunday morning at the home church Melissa and Nick's family attends. It's a small community of mostly missionaries, reaching out to their neighbors and c-workers. There were a couple other old friends there as well... it was a great time catching up and learning about their ministry in New Orleans!

-Time with my mom. We've never had so much time with just the two of us - we both like to chat and had many chances for it :)

-Yes, historic buildings. Despite New Orlean's location and a number of fires in the 1700's, so many of them have been preserved! We took advantage of three of the AIA's self-guided walking tours to learn about the Vieux Carre (French Quarter), Garden District and Canal street.

-Oh yeah, and the conference :) Each seminar and keynote speaker offered something interesting. The real winners, oddly, were the 7am seminars I attended. Totally worth not getting enough sleep for: both informative and applicable to my work. I also attended a women's mentoring networking event. I have yet to work with a female licensed architect, but I got to ask questions of female principals at this event!
The loser seminar was the one called "Top ten best practices: small project practitioners". Sounds helpful, right? Nope. The three presenters said "Hi everyone! We are going to take notes while you share your ideas!" Then most of the people in the room proceeded to repeat each other and complain at length about the AIA, clients and large firms. Still, there were a couple of titanium nuggets in there.

I'm glad I went and that I'm back home with Ben now. More pictures are on Facebook if you are interested.

1 comment:

  1. Lisa, So glad you got a chance to go to New Orleans, and had company! I went for a work conference a couple of years ago, and I would have loved the chance to share with someone. It's such and fantastic city, especially for an architect! Hopefully it was rejuvenating for work as well as a delight to the stomach and heart!


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