Visited New Orleans for the first time this past week, to both explore the city and represent the newly-launched Tight Ship with my co-captain Julia Sevin at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. The trip began abysmally thanks to three delayed UA flights, but that was the only glitch, since once I got to there Julia became Fixer Extraordinaire, packing in all kinds of fun surrounding the conference.

I stayed in the Garden District but thanks to Julia and several other NOLA friends, I got to see a good chunk of the city and thoroughly enjoyed it. Good tunes, great eats, big gigs. Here’s a brief rundown:

Day 1
A quest for coffee helped me explore the Garden District before attending the first NOEW session, on marketing, at NOLA’s Contemporary Arts Center. After that we went straight to Jackson Square and the French Quarter—but during a weekday to avoid most tourists. The Cabildo museum of Louisiana state history was great, not least because it was packed with maps. Wrapped up the day with a glorious dinner party of home-cooked Indian food at Casa Sevin in Metairie.

Day 2
Took in a partnership agreement session at NOEW, but the main reason for attending this conference was that Julia and her best pal Lianna Patch had a gig there, speaking about design & copy best practices for email marketing (similar to what they did for AIGA SB in April 2016). They crushed it, cheered on by me and AIGA NOLA prez Sam Barnes, and we all celebrated after with oysters and cocktails. There may have been more drinks and a second line later back in the Garden District.

Day 3
The most packed day of the trip. Finally got some work hours in for Tight Ship in the morning, but the main event was NOLA DNA‘s fabled Print History Tour of New Orleans. Joseph Makkos led us through downtown and the French Quarter on a great tour of the city’s lesser-known, design-related past. After that, we took in a surprise Bonnie Prince Billy show at an amazing venue called the Music Box, before returning to Frenchmen Street later that night for the Art Market.

Day 4
Shortest day in NOLA was interrupted by a thunderstorm, but we still found time for a blues brunch at Atchafalaya, record shopping at Peaches, a quick look at Tipitina’s, a river walk at The Fly, and a brief business meeting over beignets. Great end to a great stay.

I found New Orleans to be beautiful and troubled in ways I both expected and didn’t. There’s an elegant decay there from accretions of history, but there’s also a resigned sickness and sadness too—which probably predates Katrina but is definitely more pronounced because of the hurricane. It’s a complicated place but I loved being there.

Thanks to Joseph Makkos, Samantha Barnes, Lianna Patch, and my tireless guide and Tight Ship co-captain Julia Sevin for sharing their city with me. Y’alls the best.

P.S. for an important addendum:
It was lovely to be in a city where everyone knew how to pronounce my name correctly.