Carnival

A genius planned a conference in New Orleans the week before Mardi Gras.  Years ago S and I discussed visiting for Mardi Gras, and then never planned it.  So, when this opportunity came up, I jumped on the chance to have S join me.  Five whole days of grandparents watching Baby X.  Eeeek.

I left on Monday morning for a Tuesday meeting before the conference started and all was quiet.  The conference hotel (on Canal St. in the French Quarter) seemed half empty and there was hardly any activity.  By Thursday, it was full-on party mode at night and every night after the partying increased.  It was kind of hilarious to be riding the elevator at 11:30am with drunk guys.  I got off at the conference floor, and they presumably went to their rooms to sleep it off in time to hit Bourbon St. later on.

During the day, S played tourist and took the Garden Tour (highly recommend) and a bike tour that mostly went around the French Quarter and surrounding areas.  It actually went into the 9th Ward, but S didn't take any pictures.  The French Quarter was spared flooding from Hurricane Katrina for the most part because it's on the highest ground.  A high school friend of mine lost her newly built house to 12-ft of water.  She told us that she left the city the day before the hurricane hit and didn't come back until November of that year.  What a mess.  It's one of the reasons why the conference was held in New Orleans.  There's been a lot of repair work done on the levees and quite a few talks were focused on those repairs.

At night we went to parades, braved Bourbon St. and tried to act like we can still party.  By the end of the conference however, I was drinking coffee by the gallon to try to make it through the sessions!

Baby X ended up having an ear infection and my parents had to deal with it.  I felt like such a dolt because the week before I left he had a couple of off days, was really congested, and occasionally would pull on his ears.  I didn't put two and two together and it was when my mom had him for about a day that she recognized the symptoms.  I think it was also getting worse at that point because he threw up at day care and wasn't eating very well.  He's better now, although today he didn't eat well and trying to get the antibiotic syringed into his mouth is an epic battle.

Canal St. early in the week (view from the hotel)
Thursday night parades
The Krewe of Muses - Best parade! (I'm biased, my friend is getting ready to toss me a coveted shoe.)
Cafe du Monde at 8am Friday.  On Sunday the line went down the block.  All that waiting for a beignet?  Yep.

Bourbon St. on Friday Night.  It's all true.  We saw two women getting body paint at one bar.  Not on their faces either.
Parades going down Canal St. in front of our hotel
The booty