I’m currently on a flight from New Orleans (NOLA) to Salt Lake City after a stopover in Dallas, Texas.
NOLA is a laid back party town. All the Uber drivers talk about how much they love the town, drinking and dancing among other things. Jazz Fest was on at the same time (Stevie Wonder and Lorde as headlines), but I didn’t get time to check it out.
The first day I went into town to get my bearings, but there was an incredible storm. In a matter of 15 minutes the streets were filling with water and the people in the bar said there was a risk of tornados and NOLA flooding. I jumped in an Uber and went back to my accommodation – driving through some early flood water. After a couple of hours it cleared and was fine.
NOLA has Bourbon St., which is similar to Adelaide’s Hindley St (wall-to-wall bars, strip bars etc.), but has now become rather tourist focussed. In the evening they close the street off and everyone walks down with drinks going from bar to bar. It was here, on my first night, I accidentally bought a “Fishbowl Hurricane” - over 1L of pink sugary booze in a plastic fishbowl container. Undrinkable. But I tried.
The second night I went to Frenchman St, which is where the locals go for a good time. I saw some amazing jazz / blues bands and people randomly meeting and dancing old school jazz. Great fun. I also ate my first ever alligator hot dog – Yes it tastes like chicken.
The conference was billed as 20,000 attendees, but it was no-where near that. I found more value in the pub-crawls in the evening than the conference itself as people were more relaxed and wanting to chat. Having an Australian accent and wearing a bright purple shirt helped a lot as well.
However as a result of burning the candle at both ends, I was exhausted by the end of the week. Yesterday I went for a bike ride and am now on a health binge to get my body back in order.
I had a booth at the conference on one of the days, so was able to demo the technology to lots of people. I was absolutely flat out for 8hrs straight. I was manning the booth on my own, so the only food I had was a banana someone gave me. There’s a couple of videos of people talking about their first reaction to seeing Rappsio. In hindsight I should have recorded more, but I was run off my feet.
On one afternoon I walked past a bunch of people waving US flags in front of a statue. It turns out the local mayor wanted to tear down the monument of a war hero and they thought that was disrespectful. While one of the protestors explained this to me, people where driving past honking their horns yelling out various white supremacist slogans.
Interestingly the guy I was talking to was pissed about that, saying “that’s not what we stand for”. Two days later I went past the statue to see police had cordoned off the area and the surrounding ground was soaking wet with mud. I suspected they used water cannons or something to get rid of everyone.
Next up – Salt Lake City for a front end developers conference.