So I’ve had a few people pointing out that I never wrote much about New Orleans, and how it seemed to be recovering when I was down there for ALA. The main reason is that I honestly didn’t see the more damaged areas: I came in very late at night from Baton Rouge, when it was too dark to see much, and then spent most of my time in the French Quarter, which was not as affected as the rest of the city, or so I was told. I can say that there’s a lot of construction going on, and that you do see buildings and houses that are tarped and gutted, as well as a lot of trailers. And it was kind of surreal to drive by the Superdome, knowing it only from the CNN coverage, and to spend time in the convention center, as I did, and not think about everything you saw that happened there. On the whole, though, I have to say that the city is ready for visitors, NEEDS visitors and wants visitors badly. I don’t think I’ve ever attended a convention where I felt so totally welcomed. There were signs everywhere—WELCOME ALA!—as well as all kinds of commemorative t-shirts on Bourbon Street (Librarians Do It By The Book!). And every merchant, bartender, waitress, cab driver, hotel desk clerk, EVERYONE was excited and happy to have such a big crowd in town. (Maybe too excited: at one bar we went to on Bourbon Street, a bunch of guys shouted, “Who wants to teach me about the Dewey Decimal System?” as we walked past. Lots of librarian love, there was.) Still, you can tell this is a city that is recovering, and there are so many stories to be told. One morning I went into this jewelry store a little bit down from my hotel and got into a long conversation with the owner about how he had to evacuate to North Carolina, and the struggle to get his house repaired and keep his business and his marriage together. He was just really inspiring, and I was glad to have met him, even though I wish I could have done more than just buy a necklace. Again, I’m not the best source on this, as I had not been to New Orleans before and therefore had nothing to compare it to. But I will say that I will be going back. Maybe not when it’s a hundred degrees. But soon.
Meanwhile, I had a very mellow weekend, punctuated with good friends, good food, lots of cycling (watching, not doing) and movies. First, on Friday night, while my husband and all his buddies watched the Tour, I holed up in our new room with Failure to Launch, which I thought was very cute. I love to see SJP (That’s Miss Parker, to you and me) doing other roles besides Carrie Bradshaw, although at certain times, and with certain gestures, I can’t help but be reminded. Matthew McConaughey I always love, no matter what. I wouldn’t say it was the best chick flick I’ve ever seen (that would be Bridget Jones’s Diary, probably, although ask me another day and I’d probably pick something else) but it was enjoyable. In fact, as I was watching, I kept thinking how maybe our boy Matthew would be a good match for Sheryl Crow. But then I saw on Page Six that he’s been hanging out at bars with Lance Armstrong lately, so maybe not. Oh, well.
Then, on Saturday, I finally got to The Devil Wears Prada, which I really liked. It was the first film me and my best movie buddy, Leigh, have been to since she had her baby back in February, and we went all out, buying both hot dogs AND popcorn, our own little movie lunch. I personally had never had a movie theatre hot dog before, but there’s a first time for everything, I guess,and it was pretty good. I read The Devil Wears Prada when it came out years ago, and I thought it was cute, and the movie is a pretty good adaptation. Plus, it’s a full story: beginning middle, end. A true story arc, resolution at the finish. You would think that this wouldn’t be so hard to do in a movie, but judging by a lot of the stuff I’ve seen lately, you’d be wrong. I keep seeing things that have a great concept, and maybe a good first twenty minutes, but then the middle kind of sags and the ending seems like someone just flung it on last minute, the way you’d throw a piece of spaghetti at the wall, just hoping it sticks. This movie was the exception, and I recommend it. And Meryl Streep is great. But then again, when isn’t she?
Finally–God, this entry is long!—speaking of good stories, last night I finished But Enough About Me by Jancee Dunn which is, I have to say, the perfect summer read. It’s part memoir, part insider tell-all, and just really, really well written and funny. Which is also not that easy to do, although she makes it look that way. Kind of like Meryl Streep.