Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jazz and Thoughts

Among the many highlights on this conference trip was meeting Jim the Tour Guide.  Not only did he give us information on history, architecture, and ghosts, he also pointed out any number of restaurants (including Irene's, home of that fabulous creme brulee I told you about.  That's not a dessert as much as it's something to note to include in confession!).  It's always nice to get out of the hotel, even if it's a very nice hotel* and see more of the host city.

In this way, we wound up at The Court of the Two Sisters for a jazz brunch.  There actually were two sisters (and currently the place is run by two brothers, although there's no longer a connection to the original family).  The Camors sisters were born just around the the outbreak of the Civil War and survived that, built a notions business to cater to women of style who wanted Parisian laces and perfumes, then operated this "hidden courtyard" restaurant.  You walk off the street and through the foyer/bar area into the buffet area (landing strips have been shorter) and through that into the walled courtyard.  FryDaddy and I were seated under a wisteria-draped wrought-iron arbor at a table with a great view of both the jazz trio and the wishing well.  A well-fed cat genteelly begged for any dropped shrimp.  The waitstaff was dignified, dressed to the nines, and friendly.  You know those all-too-elusive moments of "yeah, this is exactly where I want to be" that occur sometimes?  Get thee to the Court on a warm October morning before the tour buses descend and you just may have one of those epiphanies.  Better souvenir than cheap plastic beads, but be sure to pick up some of those, too.  FryDaddy thinks the coffee is better here than at the Cafe du Monde; I'm think it was the tranquility and jazz. Either way, if you're in New Orleans, put this one at the tippy-top of your list.

Now it wasn't all beignets and chicory.  I had my paper to deliver, as did FryDaddy (his was on Saturday) and there were both entire panels and individual papers we wanted to hear and people we wanted to talk with.  I won't go into overmuch with the details, but I've added a number of movies to my queue based on papers I heard, I'm thinking about how writers have moved from having detectives who are "exceptionally smart" (the original Sherlock) to having them be flawed and somehow disabled (Bones' Brennan, who can't react appropriately in society without help - a trait that is apparently NOT found in the books!).  Although I'm not sure I want to read Chuck Palahniuk's Snuff, the paper was extraordinary.  My paper was well received to the point that I am planning on expanding the section on direct linkages between Bebop and Firefly for next year's Slayage conference in Vancouver.  FryDaddy's paper was a hit - he has a wry delivery style and, face it, the man knows his topic.  I caught up on work being done in fan studies and the use of hard-core statistics to categorize instances of whatever it is you study in filmed texts.  Quite strong arguments were made that we're in the midst of a continuing "Golden Age" of Quality TV and yes, I came home with half a dozen new books and journals.

And zydeco rules!

Some much still - post-Katrina tours just seem well, unseemly.  We saw a wedding party heading into a Voodoo Garden - who knows?  The wrought-iron balconies are covered in lush window boxes and Bourbon Street on a Sunday morning is just sad.  The Saints beat the Panthers and I had a good enough time in N'Awlins that I was generous about it.  Go. To. New. Orleans.

*True fact.  My hotel bill listed a charge for the hotel restaurant.  Since we never ate there or had room service, I called about the charge - the cab was waiting to take us to the airport, so it slipped by me.  Those who know me will chuckle when I tell you that the restaurant told me the charge was for "looks like a couple pitchers of Bloody Marys."  In which case I know that's not mine, Drake!  There were very nice about removing the charge, by the way.

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