Last year, I spent part of my Spring Break in New Orleans for a Marketing Conference for one of the student organizations I’m involved with. I flew in, attended meetings and workshops, and flew out. The few days I spent there were mostly spent in hotel conference rooms, and the nights out in the always touristy and sometimes grimy Bourbon Street. I barely got to venture out and see the city in the light of day.
This year, I was able to travel to New Orleans again for the conference. I really wanted to get the most out of my trip and make time to explore the city, so I arranged to fly in a couple days early and started planning my trip!
There are tons of fun things to do in New Orleans, from the historical and artistic to the adventurous and exciting. I had quite a bit on my list and didn’t expect to get through them all: Mardi Gras World, WWII Museum, Art Museum, Voodoo Museum, French Market, St. Louis Cathedral, Frenchman Street, Café du Monde, and all that jazz.
After landing in New Orleans, I dropped off my bags at the hotel and explored the Central Business District and French Quarter. This was an interesting area to just walk around in. I went through the French Market and bought a chocolate strawberry crepe and alligator on a stick – I couldn’t not try it. It was pretty good and had me craving another for the rest of my trip.
I visited the St. Louis Cathedral for a few quick photos and headed over to the Voodoo Museum. I didn’t know much about voodoo, so it was interesting to learn about its history and the culture around it. The museum itself was a few small rooms filled with portraits of Marie Laveau and other famous figures. There were shrines and offerings to the spirits, and you could read about all the different displays as you went along.
After that, I wandered a bit more, checking out shops and a couple small museums and monuments along the way. It was a beautiful day, but by dinner time I was ready to check into the hotel and relax a bit.
My second day, I got up and headed straight to Café du Monde for their famous beignets and a little hot chocolate. The line was down the street, though! Last year, I only went at night so it was a lot easier to get seated. Just as I was about to give up, I saw one of my old friends was in line. We stopped to chat and I ended up eating with him and his two buddies and hanging out with them for the day. We visited the French Market, explored the Garden District, looked through the Art Museum, got dinner at Mother’s Restaurant, and saw a live jazz performance at Preservation Hall. It was a full day!
The next few days were spent at the conference. I met up with students from other universities and learned a lot about what they do for their members. I had the opportunity to present to other students on effective chapter communication strategies and tools during a session. I was pretty nervous speaking, but it worked out well and I’m glad that I was able to represent my university. We took home a few prizes and I learned a lot about leadership and ways to improve our organization next year, as President.
My last night in New Orleans, I stopped by Café du Monde for one last plate of beignets. It’s become something of a tradition for me, and I don’t think the conference would be the same without it. I look forward to attending next year and hopefully passing the torch on to someone who loves the chapter as much as I’ve grown to over the past three years.