I spent this past weekend in New Orleans with my NASA friends who were attending the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) Conference. I attended a bit of the conference and did some sightseeing as well.
On Saturday, after a local styled omlette for breakfast, Aleya and I wandered around the waterfront near the financial district. Right off the bat we saw part of a breakdance performance on the street. Quite impressive!
After that we continued down the waterfront before heading into the conference center to attend a seminar and walk around the exhibit hall. While the seminar on professional development left something to be desired, there was lots of cool stuff at the exhibit hall. We dissected an owl pellet, constructed a model cell, and did an electro-chemistry demo. Aleya topped it all off with a raffle win (her 2nd of 3 for the conference), walking away with a dinosaur tracking kit, model kidney, and a beaker of shiny rocks. I won the dubious honor of helping carry the loot :p
Naturally we had seafood for dinner before watching a couple hours of Feynman videos. They were quite interesting.. He has a unique take on things and an excellent ability to provide explanations for things in relatively simple terms. Aleya capped off her wining streak at this event by winning a Feynman movie and book as a door prize.
Sunday morning was Aleya’s session on “Kinetic Astronomy” at the NSTA conference. It went quite well and seemed well attended. After wrapping up the conference events for the weekend, we took the streetcar out to Audubon Park. It was a gorgeous day and there were lots of people out walking, biking, and just laying in the sun. We walked most of the way back to the downtown area, passing through the park and the Garden District. Only stopping to eat some strawberries, a snowball (sno cone) and a hot dog (well, and so Aleya could accidentally sit on an ant colony! Oops!).
Upon our return, we met up with Laszlo and Emilie at the Cafe Du Monde for some coffee and beignets. The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around town. We stopped in for a drink on Bourbon Street before heading to a restaurant for a late dinner, with a stop by Preservation Hall.
Shortly after dinner, we were joined by an old friend of mine from Idaho who is living in New Orleans. He’s both a musician and a yoga teacher, so we got a bit of local info. Sadly our time was limited due to an early flight out on Monday morning, but we managed to walk down Frenchman Street and poke our heads in a bar to hear some “trad” jazz, which was quite cool.
All in all, a short trip, but packed with as much fun as could be managed. I’d certainly like to visit again, see more of the city, and listen to more music!