Of course, New Orleans loves its jazz!
And if you go out through the French Quarter, you can see jazz combos just sort of playing on the street. I took a picture, but apparently, it didn't upload too well to Scrapbook, so I'll just have to leave it out.
The one thing that I wish I'd been able to get a picture of, but didn't (again, problems with the light during the day, and you can't really see it at night) was Preservation Hall. Preservation Hall is a music venue that is carefully maintained to look like a rundown 1920s dive. Yes, that's a cheesy and touristy thing. However, there is nothing whatsoever cheesy and touristy about the jazz bands that play there. They play old-time New Orleans-style jazz, and they are probably among the best bands in the country who specialize in that kind of music. It was entirely worth the ticket to go hear this music.
Anyway, I'd been a little bit worried that I wouldn't be able to find any good Creole food that I could eat, because I don't eat pork, and I'm allergic to shellfish. But my friend found us the Gumbo Shop, where they serve a vegetarian gumbo (she said it was a recipe for Lent) called "Gumbo Z'Herbes." It was delicious, as was the rice and beans you could get there.
And, of course, how could you go to New Orleans and not go to the Cafe Du Monde and eat beignets till they come out of your ears? I went with a colleague who was fascinated to know more about La Dissertation. We had our beignets at around six in the evening, which is a good time to do that, because Real People™ are out eating actual dinner at that time, so you can get a table and get your beignets pretty quickly. If you can find them beneath the mountain of powdered sugar, of course.
My friend who lives in Pensacola drove the three hours to New Orleans to spend much of Saturday with me, just so we could hang out in New Orleans (I'm not in the South much, so we didn't want to waste the opportunity.) He loves Gulf Coast cuisine, and made sure to show me the Central Grocery, which is apparently the only place that produces the true olive salad that goes on an official muffuletta sandwich. They ship the stuff all over the country. Muffulettas are made with pork sausage, and I don't like olives, so I've never had one, but I loved the idea of the Central Grocery.
He also made sure to show me the statue of Joan of Arc that is just north of the Cafe Du Monde. It's one of his favorite things in New Orleans.
We also walked around and through Jackson Park (named after that Colonel Jackson). The walk is lovely, but you have to be careful where you take pictures. There are a lot of artists who sell their work on the streets surrounding the park, and you're not really supposed to photograph their artwork. But you can take general pictures.
Inside the park itself, you can find a statue of Colonel Jackson himself.
Also, for some reason, a stand of what my friend told me were banana plants. Why? Because.
Finally, that church you can see behind the banana plants? That is the St. Louis Cathedral, one of the biggest cathedrals in the country. (New Orleans has a strong Catholic heritage, which most of the United States doesn't have.) One of the things I'd love to do when returning to New Orleans is to check out that cathedral a bit more.
So, those are the photos I have for you. Some of the rest either didn't turn out well or were portraits, which I don't like to show on LJ. But I did have a wonderful time. I think I'm working towards the perfect balance of conferencing and touristing around. I will definitely return to New Orleans at some point, because there's so much more to see there.
Unfortunately, next year's SEM conference is in Indianapolis. I suppose I'll go visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway while I'm there. Why not?