Back from An Event Apart New Orleans

I’ve been back from New Orleans since last Sunday, where I attended my second An Event Apart conference, after attending and enjoying one last year in Seattle.

I left exactly a week ago, bright and early in the morning. Not only I couldn’t wait to go so I could absorb even more information from all the well-respected people and pioneers of this industry, like Jeffrey Zeldman and Eric Meyer, but was also excited to visit New Orleans and finally see my hubby Paul after being in Georgia for past two months.

When I finally landed in New Orleans, I could feel the difference in temperature instantly. It was in mid 80’s, which was a nice change from Portland weather we’ve been having so far. I got my bag and got on a shuttle to get to my hotel. I am not going to lie if I say that in first few minutes I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to make to my hotel. I mean, our shuttle bus made all kinds of noises and then when I looked over our driver’s head I see this‚Ķ

If you wonder what that is, well that is an AC control panel. Anytime it got too hot, our driver would just stick his hand in there, play with the wires a little till our AC has started‚Ķ and all that while driving 😉

When I finally made it to my hotel, I was starving. Since I got there before check-in time, my room wasn’t ready yet, so I decided to grab something “small” to eat. Based on my receptionist’s recommendation, I went to Palace Cafe to grab something small and quick to eat. Well, I expected something along the lines of Subway, but was truly amazed when I got served “Shrimp Tchefuncte”, which is saut√©ed Louisiana shrimp with Creole meuniere, green onions, roasted mushrooms, and popcorn rice. Not only it sounded intriguing, but it looked and its taste was priceless. I mean look at this‚Ķ I couldn’t even keep my work fork away, that is how anxious I was ready to dive into this‚Ķ 😉

After my late lunch/early dinner, I checked-in to my room, cleaned up a little, changed and was off to Riverside Hilton Hotel for an early registration to pick up my name badge with few other “swags”. I was already feeling all giddy by being back and excited to learn or find out more about what I love and enjoy doing. Eric Meyer was there, with few other ladies to greet all the attendees and give out badges with few other gadgets. Funny thing happened when I said my last name‚Ķ Well, it seemed like Eric Meyer knew my name, but then I found out how. Thanks to my posts about “An Event Apart“! 🙂

So Eric, if you are reading this, thank you AGAIN for an amazing conference! I will be definitely back next year for more! 😉

‚Ķanyway, after leaving Hilton, I just couldn’t help to walk around a little and see some more of New Orleans. I had to walk around French Quarter a little, see the famous Bourbon Street‚Ķ It was great but my evening was cut short by pure fatigue.

After a good night of sleep, I head out to the conference. First day was a long day, since we went from 8:30 a.m. till about 8 p.m. It was a great first day, fulfilled with a lot of information, great speakers with a even better sense of humor. What I was mostly blown away by was how all the speakers were so easy to talk to, and not stuck up at all. Even during our lunch, they would mingle among people and randomly sit with us. I still get shy at times, so it helped when someone like Jeffrey Zeldman, Robert Hoekman Jr or Brian Oberkirch set down at my table to have lunch with someone like me and have a conversation about what we are all so passionate about.

At the end of our first day we rounded up with a sneak peek of what to expect from Adobe’s CS4 release within Fireworks and Dreamweaver environment. I must say that I was blown away‚Ķ We didn’t get to find out anything about the release date, just a vague estimate between 6-18 months‚Ķ 🙁

After that we all headed out to a opening night party at a Crescent City Brewhouse where I got to meet few new people from all over the place, including few locals. It was a lot of fun and very insightful to listen to their stories all about what it was like before, during and their afterlife after Katrina.

Second day was shorter, but still very informative. Where first day was more for designers, second day was more for developers. Eric Meyer showed us few CSS tricks, Aaron Gustafson has talked about progressive enhancement with JavaScript, and even Stephanie Sullivan has showed us few tutorials on how to build better structured markup.

After the conference, few more handshakes with some of the speakers, I went back to my hotel to get ready for my hubby to come visit me from Georgia. Originally, he was supposed to land in New Orleans around 9 p.m., but he got me again! 😉 When I talked to him on the phone, he claimed to be at the airport in Atlanta, but in reality he was already in New Orleans. So, when he walked into the room, I almost got a heart attack not knowing who got a key to my room other than me. 🙂

It was finally seeing him after almost 2 months. We just quickly changed and went out for dinner. We weren’t sure where to go, so after walking around French Quarter for a bit, I ended up choosing Muriel’s restaurant that I’ve heard a little about, and I am glad we did.

Food was amazing!!! My favorite was my entr√©e, which was “Filet Antoine Lepardi Jourdan”, a wood grilled center cut Certified Black Angus Filet Mignon served atop Rock Lobster mashed potatoes; with a Marchand de Vin sauce and topped with a Watercress salad. The meat though was like butter. I didn’t even a knife to cut it. It just the best piece of beef I’ve ever had.

On Saturday, Paul and I spent pretty much all day walking, eating, little shopping and even more eating. 😉 Not only we ended up back to Muriel’s for a dessert, since there was just no room left for one the night before, but we also went to Emeril’s Nola restaurant for dinner that evening. Once again, we were so full that we just needed to walk all that food out. Even though there was some rain that night, we had fun walking around French Quarter, as well as on the famous Bourbon Street going from bar to bar to check out the bands that there we playing and people having fun New Orleans’ style 😉

On Sunday, we didn’t have much time left before we had to go back to the airport, and say goodbye to each other one more time. We managed to find a little time to do more shopping and to make one last trip to Muriel’s for a lunch. Once again, we didn’t get disappointed. Food was amazing, as well as service, the music and all the people. It was hard to leave and go back to our lives. 🙁

To view all my pictures from my trip to New Orleans, visit my flickr account.