Monday, November 21, 2011

NCA 2011

Funky NOLA
I'm back from the National Communication Association's annual conference in New Orleans - this after barely escaping an avelanch of projects all coming due at the same time. I'd just unveiled my Global Technology Initiative documentary on Wednesday night - and Thursday morning, I was waiting to catch an early flight to Louisiana when I really just wanted to be in bed. The trip turned out to be a tonic, though, a welcome respite from an epically, gloriously, insanely intense semester. I did the stuff I needed to do - responding to a group of swell papers on "regional rhetorics" and presenting my essay about teaching millennial students. I looked at new books, I chatted with far-flung colleagues, and I picked up some ideas for next year's classes and writing projects.

A night at Preservation Hall
I also took some time to catch up with a tight group of good friends from my Berry College days: Chip Hall, Randy Richardson, and Kathy Richardson. Rooming with Chip meant hours of delightful conversation about our families, our current adventures, and our mutual loves of music and movies. One night, we grooved to three sets of Leroy Jones at Preservation Hall; the next, we walked over three miles to catch The Shining at the Prytania (a midnight show that actually began at 12:45). Chip and I also enjoyed several delightful meals with Randy and Kathy, our professors back at Berry who continue to remind me how meaningful those years in northwest Georgia turned out to be. Hanging out with this crew was the best part of New Orleans.

L to R: Andrew Wood, Chip Hall, Randy Richardson, and Kathy Richardson
Along the way I also spent some time wandering Old Easy streets alone. I bought a cheap pipe for some equally cheap cherry tobacco, lounged awhile in the Old Absinthe House, and lingered on the side streets in search of a little stencil art. Listening to a busker belting out "House of the Rising Sun" on a street corner, I found my love for NOLA rekindled [I also made a few interesting friends - especially when folks saw my pipe and presumed I was smoking weed]. I never did grab a Sazerac or any of that decadent pecan pie for which I'd been pining, but I had a wonderful time, all the same.

Bourbon Street Reflection
(Photographs by Andrew Wood)

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