Friday, November 21, 2014

New Orleans (For Real This Time)

 (I am going to do that thing where I just stick random pictures in this post while I talk around them...)

So now I am home actually have my pictures in order and can post about my five days in New Orleans. And now that task feels extremely overwhelming.  In reality things happened each day of my trip that in themselves would have made a great blog post, but I can't really post five posts over the next few weeks about random stories that happened on this trip, right?

You all say "Right."

But don't you want to hear about how my first night in my hotel how I was woken up by the fire alarm and had to evacuate the building?  DON'T YOU?  Well, at this point that is all there is to that story anyway.  If I wrote it the day it happened I could have gotten a lot of mileage out of that... but that's it.  Fire alarm.  Someone overcooked something in the microwave and we all had to stand around outside while the fire department made sure it was safe.  It brought back vivid reminders of living in the dorms.

 The conference was amazing.  The opening session (I almost said ceremony... as if the American Public Health Association's annual meeting is equivalent to the Olympics) had Isabel Wilkerson, who wrote an amazing book titled The Warmth of Other Suns which gives multiple narratives to the Great Migration, which was the time period from World War I until the 1970's when 6 million African American's moved from the South to the North.  I had read about half the book before coming to the conference and was just completely taking her her.  Corrine (my boss, friend, and partner in crime/work travel) and I decided to buy her book and get in line to have her sign it... and so did the rest of the conference.  Long (LOOONG) story short, Corrine and I waited over two hours to get our books signed.  The author was only suppose to sign for an hour, yet my optimistic spirit won Corrine over as I talked her into waiting when it was OBVIOUS we were not going to get to meet her.  Then she extended her time, then she extended it again.  Then I gave up, thinking there was still no way she would get to us before she had to leave, only to have Corrine's (rare) optimistic spirit come out and her convince me to stay in line.  In the end the author added a last 15 minutes and we got our books signed with about 2 minutes to spare.  IT WAS THRILLING!
In the way a public health book signing can be thrilling.

I also presented my capstone at the conference, which was exciting.  If felt good to be part of the collection of information at the conference, and not only an observer.  Next year I hope to present again, and since I am working on getting over my fear of public speaking (MY CLASS NEXT SEMESTER HAS 150 FREAKING PEOPLE IN IT) I think I may try to do an oral presentation.  Moving on up in the world of research. 
Sculpture made of materials from hurricane Katerina
In every free minute away from the conference I tried my best to take in as much of New Orleans as possible.  Corrine and I made it our mission to eat every beignet in the city... we four different shops, so that was pretty impressive. 
I probably shouldn't admit this, but my actual favorite were the Cafe Du Monde... but not at the original location near the French Quarter... I liked the ones in the outlet mall.  (SHAME)
Beyond the alarming number of beignets, we ate a LOT of food on this trip. embarrassing amount. We ate at Commander's Palace, Emeril's restaurant and a place called La Boca where were accidentally had a seven course meal. (Really).   I went to two receptions, one for the alumni/staff/students from University of Kentucky and the other for Delta Omega Honor Society who sponsored my poster presentation and were nice enough to give me a cash prize.
  (Or I won a cash prize... whatever. Money is always good.  It buys lots of food.)
favorite random picture of the trip... it got cold in New Orleans while we were there.  Some people packed accordingly. 

The night after the receptions a group of us went out to watch the UK vs KU game which was extremely enjoyable to watch!  (#BBN #9)
We watched the game a Manning's which had an entire section full of recliners...amazing

Our last day in the city we went on a bus tour to see as much of New Orleans as we could.  We went to the Ninth Ward and saw damage from Katrina
 Ten years later

the Garden District (MANSIONS!)

 and an old cemetery. (creepy)

And some garden/park which I forgot the details of, but it was beautiful

Now, I wish I had one more picture to plug in to show you I randomly got to meet up with some old friends, Justin and Emily, who were also in town for a completely different conference.  It was awesome to see them (haven't actually had eyes on them in something like three  years) and I wish I had remembered to document it for the blog! But at least it happened!

So that's it.  Five days away.  Felt like a very long time.  While I loved the conference and LOVED New Orleans, I must admit I was more than ready to get back home to my babies. 

They were very happy to see me too :)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Another Non-Update on NOLA

So I am flying out this morning and I don't need to head to the airport for an hour or so, so I figured it was the perfect time to do a real New Orleans blog post. I got my laptop out, made my coffee, possibly cracked my knuckles in serious writing preparation, them clicked on Firefox.  Turns out my new hotel (stayed closer to the airport last night) doesn't give free WiFi.  What?? Who doesn't give free WiFi? That's like saying my room doesn't come with free television. Weird.
Anyway, just wanted to let all you who are dying to see the details of my trip (my mom... and maybe Charing) that you must wait one more day.  I will tack on another picture from my phone, just so reading this doesn't feel like a total waste of time... I am considerate like that.
  Here is a picture from our tour of New Orleans when we stopped at one of the oldest  cemeteries in the city.  Did you know that there is no limit to the number of family members that can be in those above ground graves? So some have dozens spanning over 100 years.  And no, they werent cremated... really strange stuff happening in the city of the dead.  Anyway, I will be back tomorrow with lots of pictures and random stories. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hello from New Orleans!

So, I am in New Orleans. It's amazing. I am in love with this city, and more specifically I am in love with their food. I have walked a million (trillion maybe) miles and yet am still pretty sure I have put on five pounds in the two days I have been here. (Worth it)
As of now I have lent out my laptop so I am typing this on my phone, so really it's mostly a "I am alive and love New Orleans! " post.  someday soon (tomorrow?) I think I can actually do a real post, but for today here is a picture of me winning my award for my capstone project, which I present this afternoon.  Very exciting stuff going on here in NOLA !