Wonder of wonders, I slept pretty well last night. The bed was comfy, the room was quiet, and the air was cool--good sleeping weather. I woke up a little before 8AM--which is to say, around 6AM Duquette Daylight Time, but as that's when I usually wake up, and as I went to bed around 9PM Duquette Daylight Time I was feeling pretty good.
One quick shower later, I went down to breakfast. I had a biscuit and some bacon and such-like from the buffet, and a nice waitress named Olivia brought me a Diet Coke for my morning caffeine, and when I was done she brought me a nice little bill for $12.95. I am grateful that the conference is providing breakfast over the next three days.
After breakfast I goofed around on the 'Net until 10AM, and then I went out to explore the French Quarter and look for bookstores. It was a hot, sunny, morning, and (pleasantly) the piled garbage was all gone; apparently I was correct about Columbus Day. I walked around the block to find Preservation Hall, which is a remarkably dingy place. I'd been warned about that and was expecting it, especially since so much of the French Quarter is remarkably dingy, but Preservation Hall takes the cake. Whatever they are preserving, it isn't the Hall itself; from the outside it looks like an abandoned building from some ancient and long-forgotten industrial district. The French Quarter has dingy facades, bad sidewalks, old bent wrought-iron, peeling paint, doors that don't close properly, but it seems alive. Preservation Hall looks dead.
The music starts at eight; if I get a chance (and if I can get in) I might go back this evening for a listen.
I walked down Toulouse Street to Decatur and then west to the Jax Brewery and the riverboat dock. I thought about taking a river cruise--about two hours, with jazz--sounded like fun, but it also sounded like $20. As I hadn't yet seen a bookstore, I continued on my way.
My sources (which I shall never divulge) led me to believe that their might be a Bookstar located in the Jax Brewery Building, now a shopping mall. I poked around a little--high priced boutiques, mostly. No bookstore. I concluded that my sources must be out-of-date and continued on to Canal street, the western boundary of the Quarter, where my sources indicated that I might find a large B. Dalton. Eight blocks uptown, I gave up on the B. Dalton, (I did, however, find a statue of Ignatius Reilly, complete with earflaps, and I passed several hotdog carts shaped like giant hotdogs) and decided to just wander...and just wandering led me to Crescent City Books on Chartres Street. Typical used bookstore, a bit light on the genre fiction--but I did manage to find a couple of Peter Lovesey's Inspector Cribb mysteries. I like Lovesey, but Cribb was out-of-print long before I discovered him. The owner gave me a map of other local bookstores. Notably, it didn't include Bookstar or B. Dalton, and who can blaim them?
From there I went around the block to Beckham's Book Store, a somewhat larger establishment, where I found another Inspector Cribb and a Robert Barnard I'd not seen before.
It was getting on toward noon by this time, so I decided to go back to my hotel and take a break before heading out for lunch. On the way, I stopped at Arcadian Books, directly across the street from the Bourbon Orleans. I didn't stay long--it was too hot, too stuffy, and so crowded with books (many of them in French) that I had to turn sideways to get between the stacks (something which doesn't help as much as it used to). Plus, it smelled rather like my grandfather's house, which isn't a bad thing in and of itself--homey, you know--only about five times stronger, which was a bit much.
After my long walk I really wanted a drink, so I stopped at the Coke machine by the pool. $2. Or it would have been $2, except the machine was broken. I went upstairs and got a can of Coke out of the mini-bar for $1.50.
It's now 12:30, which means the morning tutorial should be just about over; I'm going to go downstairs and see if I can register. After that, I'm going to walk back over to the Jax Brewery for lunch; a web search indicated that there is indeed a Bookstar there, right where I was looking. How I missed it, I dunno.Posted by Will Duquette at October 12, 2004 09:57 AM