Wednesday, September 18, 2019

down in New Orleans

Earlier this year I got to attend the American Alliance of Museums annual conference in New Orleans. I've never been there before & was glad to be able to visit somewhere new from one river city to another! A coworker and I made the trip together, and ended up driving down - which takes about 10 hours - but was pleasant and non-trafficy so that's a win. 
It also meant we hit 7 states on the trip: KY - IL - MO - AR - TN - MS - LA

There was some heavy rain as we drove into New Orleans, but we saw a double rainbow.  :) Came across the Manchac Swamp bridge which I discovered is one of the longest bridges over water. It was pretty cool to drive!

Of course, after hitting the hotel our first stop was hitting the streets of course. We walked the French Quarter & Bourbon Street, saw several second lines and caught some beads from people on the balconies (probly other tourists but whatever).

Then my friends, what I was really waiting for: Cafe du Monde beignets! It was delicious. What a treat :D


Attended Mass at the Cathedral which is beautiful

The conference is hundreds of museum people and it's fun to talk shop with others from museums all over the place. Typically you have the option to sign up for some extra excursions (think field trips) to see & learn how other museums do things. Honestly these are so fun because there's nothing we love more than getting an insider look at how programs or exhibits are put together. 

My first excursion was at Preservation Hall - a small venue with a rich history. We had an introduction and then a Q&A with their All Stars jazz band before we got a private concert. WOW
Friends it was Phenomenal!! Above is a quick photo of the street entrance and clarinetist and then the drum kit. They don't allow photos or video during concerts because they keep it true to the '60s experience. They play several shows a day and I highly recommend going to one if you're in New Orleans.

After the amazing concert, I grabbed some gumbo for lunch (so good!) and headed out to Lake Pontchartrain for a tour of the PT-305. It's the only fully restored combat veteran PT boat form WWII. Neat to learn about how the restoration was done over the years, and how many volunteers helped out to do it! Good tour and I enjoyed learning about the history & service of the boat. Ended up at the Gumbo Stop for dinner because you can never have enough gumbo in your day! 

I volunteered to help with sessions and in addition to some of the ones I attended, I got to listen to several others that were interesting as well. Sparked a few ideas while hearing about Impact of Awe, Interactive exhibits, Museums at Play and more. The opening night party was at NOMA & their sculpture gardens so it was nice to mingle, meet some new friends & eat more good food! 

Above: local art and signs that made me laugh

Had some free time to visit the WWII museum which I was also looking forward to - it was really good. Loads to see and read so I did a quick-walk through everything to get a glimpse of it all. I was impressed with how they set up the exhibits & scenery for each theater of war: jungle pacific, desert, European winter, etc.

WWII reenactors & me (I got the dress memo)
They also hosted the Closing party with the Ogden art museum - more good food - and talking with museum people from MD & ID! Not only is it neat to chat with people from all different types of museums, but once I mention quilts people chime in with quilts in their own collections, families or personal connections. Proof that quilters are Everywhere!

Caught the St. Charles streetcar out to the Garden district and wandered around. Gorgeous! All in all a good trip full of new adventures. Below are some detail shots from around town.