I know I should have written this sooner. I have a lot of catching up to do. Obviously a lot has been going on in the world. I'll start here and hopefully catch up later on other stuff I want to blog about. One last thing before I begin, I am starting to really hate MySpace. I've been getting spam everyday now.
Last semester my American Marketing Association class worked on a case study. The case study was about bringing back people to New Orleans. The American Marketing Association chapters who worked on the case, among those who didn't, had the opportunity to go the AMA Collegiate Conference in New Orleans. It was a cool oportunity because we spent an entire researching New Orleans.
So let's fast foward to the last week of March. The conference was going to be from March. The conference lasted from Thursday to Saturday. We were going to arrive on Wednesday and leave on Monday, that way we could see parts of New Orleans.
Wednesday: We had to fly out of LAX 6 o' clock in the morning. Which meant I would have to be on the road at 3 o' clock in the morning. I told my dad (the VanMan) that he would have to take me to LAX in the morning. My advisor at school thought I was abusing him. But I figured he would be okay doing it cause usually wakes up that early in order to make it Anaheim by 5AM. So we are on the road and there is no traffic. Sweet.
We make it to LAX by 4AM. I don't see anyone else from my group. I think to myself, not only did I travel farther than anyone else in my group, I made it before them.
The problem with arriving super early is that no one is at the airport. It's quiet and the customer service and the security people are starting to arrive. Soon lines start to form and at least I'm early, so I'm in front. When I'm in the security, I see two members in my group who were in a different security line. Because the security flipped the line around, they ended up way behind me.
The fourth member of my group called me. He was just arriving to airport at 5AM. However he was lucky enough to put into another security line and he was at the waiting area rather quickly.
We'll I spent the first post on LA, so now let's arrive to New Orleans.
Wednesday (cont): The cheapest deal we could find for a flight had layover in Denver. I start thinking to myself, I wonder if it's going to start snowing a lot. It didn't. The ground was dry and the brush near the air brown... I forgot about the crazy lady. We were all waiting in the terminal for our plane to come to the gate. There was another flight to Orlando that was about to leave and what happened next was a like a scene from Home Alone. This lady with her accent was yelling for them to stop the plane. At same time, she was pushing her little daughter and yell for someone else. The flight attendants told her to be quiet and the plane isn't going to leave if she calms down. Eventually they let her on. After the door is shut, the flight attendant says to people in the lounge, "This is an airport. This isn't a hospital." We all laughed
We arrive at New Orleans International Airport around 1 o' clock their time. We grab our baggage and head to the shuttle. All of us are hungry and tired because the airlines refuse to feed anyone who doesn't have money (only assuming 1st class got fed.)
We got on a crowded Enterprise shuttle withh a group of volunteers who were going to help rebuild New Orleans.
When we got out of the shuttle, it hit me. It was humid as hell over their. It must have been 70 degrees with 80 percent humidity.
We drive to the hotel. In order to get there, we take the 10 East (just like home). Our hotel where we were staying at and where the conference was taking place was in the French Quarter.The exit that we took to get to the hotel went past the Superdome and the City Hall. For the most part, the French Quarter looks great. You wouldn't have been able to tell that a mojor catastrophe had hit New Orleans.
We dump our stuff in the hotel and go out to Canal Street which is in fron to the hotel.
We're hungry. Obviously, us being strangers in a strange land, we don't know where to eat. In the back of my mind I'm thinking that we should have spicy Cajun food.
Instead of asking the front desk where to eat, we walk east of the hotel for several blocks on Canal St. Canal Street is a long avenue, which was under reconstruction. The city was adding large palm trees to sidewalks and also adding more sidewalks to roads. We walked about a half a mile, passing a Walgreens, a Chinese restaurant, some abandoned buildings, and several shoe stores, till we turned around and went back to the hotel. On our way back, we went to Walgreens and picked up water, Dr. Pepper, and a map of New Orleans.
Bourbon St. is different in the day time than it is at night. It was around 5' o clock when we went up Bourbon Street. The Street is made up bar, strip club, bar, bar, strip club, and so on and so forth. It goes on for several blocks like this as a one way street and then it turns in to residential. Because the rest of 1,200 students hadn't arrived for the conference, the Street was quiet. We stopped at a restaurant on the Street of which name I cannot recall. It was an opened air restaurant where the pigeons would come in and peck at table scraps. On the menu were Cajun foods like jambalaya and bread pudding. What was really interesting is that the specialty drink in New Orleans is the Hurricane.
After we ate, we saw more of the Street and then headed back to hotel room. We were tired.
I went out with David around 8 o' clock. I was bored in the hotel because they didn't have ESPNews or any hockey on. Also, I wanted to buy souvenirs for the family.
We went to the Street and it wasn't as wild as it was going to get. There were men on the streets advertising strip clubs and bars. We were trying to avoid them while my friend was taking lots of pictures of the architecture.
We left the Street and went towards the riverfront. On our way there, we saw psychics, the homeless ("Please don't take any pictures of me." "I'm sorry didn't mean to scare you."), and this guy playing the wind harmonica.
When we made it to the riverfront, it was beautiful.
Later that night David and I went shopping in one of the overpriced shops in New Orleans. (Yes, the French Quarter is full of these souvenir shops that sell the same stuff.) I bought Mighty Ducks beads. For 8 dollars a necklace, you could wear your favorite sports team around you neck. We walked around some more and then went back to the hotel room.
My roommate slept for about twelve hours straight. I woke up and played my PSP. The conference would officially kick off in the evening but we had most of the day to ourselves. The group decided we should go to Baton Rouge. So we hopped on the 10 Freeway heading west to Baton Rouge. It took us an hour to get there. When we arrived, we were hungry and we didn't know where the Capital Building was. We ate at Sonics and then I called the VanMan because he knows how to use Google. "Where is the capital?" "It's in Baton Rouge." "I know that but where specifically is the building? You know, like an address." He eventually gives me a street and then we eventually find it.
I don't remember much about going to Sacramento and seeing our Capital Building but ours is bigger than theirs. On the steps leading up to the building, there are the names of every state that entered the Union in order.
We enter and find out that there is an observation tower on the 27th floor. We explore the bottom floors and visit the Legislative Chamber. It looks the like the US Capitol chamber except it is smaller.
The group heads up to the top. We have to take two elevators in order to get there. The view from the top was breathe taking. The AMA members saw the Mississippi River and the other things surrounding the Capitol Building.
After that, the group went to this old armory on the Capital groups. It was boring because 1) It was historical. 2) The cannons weren't working.
There was a casino nearby and I cannot confirm that anyone gambled. The casino staff was rude to me.
We headed back home. I'm used to California freeways. In most parts of California, they are densely populated, so by the freeways, you see houses or businesses. On our way to and from Baton Rouge, there was foliage and water. It was boring to look at it.
We get back to the hotel and it is starting to fill with college kids. I go and crash in the room.
Finally, the Conference is going to start.