Introvert in New Orleans: RT ’14

That sounds like the title of a off-off-Broadway musical, doesn’t it? Well, I finally visited New Orleans, for the 2014 Romantic Times Booklovers convention. Staying right in the French quarter made the experience interesting, to say the least. We could hear the Saturday night street party loud and clear in our 35th floor tower room, for starters.

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View from the 35th floor of the Sheraton tower

I’m told the RT convention hosted over 2,500 attendees. That’s a lot of booklovers in one place! I was dazzled by the books everywhere; giant posters on the windows, walls, even the floors, stacked on tables, and stuffed in totes. A reader’s paradise!

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The esKape Press giveaway basket. Pretty, isn’t it?

As a longtime resident of Las Vegas, being in a frenetic, bizarre city didn’t freak me out. Not much, anyway.

This creatively painted Steinway in the hotel hobby was our first NOLA experience.

This creatively painted Steinway in the hotel hobby was our first NOLA experience.

There’s a reason Bourbon Street has a sordid reputation, by the way, and this Vegas girl had a few wide-eyed moments walking back from dinner. At the least, it reinforced my conviction that I am not a party girl. Give me a paperback, chocolate bar, and bubble bath over a party anytime!

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Bicycle-shoe… thingy parked on Chartres Street. Why? Why not.

But the music there was fantastic. And so was the food. I loved the restaurants!

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Bourbon Street jazz combo. That handsome bass player you see in the middle was a big flirt. Winks and smiles for all the ladies.

…Not to mention the incredible 18th- & 19th-century architecture. I was impressed with New Orleans’ dedication to preserving the historic sections of the city. I couldn’t get my fill of it. While there was still some post-Katrina reconstruction, the city’s renewal was truly admirable.

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My favorite part of the convention was meeting readers and authors, especially some friends I’ve chatted with online for years and finally got to meet in person. I admit to ordering seconds on dessert and indulging in a bit of sugar-induced raucous laughter. There just wasn’t enough time to spend with friends!

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Me, M.V. Freeman, and Katherine Bone. (Post-dessert smiles.)

(This French Quarter restaurant, called “Muriel’s,” is reportedly haunted. The only spooky thing we encountered was a wobbly leg on our table.)

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Me, Kim Bowman, and Ruth J. Hartman, braving gourmet New Orleans cuisine.

Courtney Milan’s workshop was fascinating, I’m glad I got to cheer for RT Reviewer’s Choice Award finalist Susannah Sandlin (my long-time critique partner), and I had a lovely time in Club RT with my fellow esKape Press authors, meeting readers and giving away our “swag.” I’m proud to say I was relatively social and actually enjoyed it, a pat-on-the-back moment for this somewhat shy introvert.

I kissed a boy in New Orleans. He wore head-to-toe leather, and had quite a bad-boy attitude.

I kissed a boy in New Orleans. He wore head-to-toe leather and had quite a bad-boy attitude.

That said, I might confess the highlight for me was the sightseeing! The Garden District, the antique shops, the trolleys, the old-fashioned candy shop…

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Royal Street antiques shop. Look closely, and you’ll see my kid-in-a-candy-store grin.

What trumped that? Doing it with friends. I’d love to come back when we can take our time.

Me, Beth Yarnall, HJ Harley, Callie Hutton: Laughing way too loud for just drinking water.

Me, Beth Yarnall, HJ Harley, Callie Hutton: Laughing way too loud for just drinking water.

Comments

  1. LOL This is such a great recap of your time at NOLA! I’m glad you had a blast and can share the memories with friends who were also there.

  2. Looks like so much fun!

  3. I lived in New Orleans for a couple of years while I was in grad school at Tulane (mumble mumble) years ago. Haven’t been back in a long time, but I doubt if the food or the music has changed much. Glad you enjoyed it–one of these years I’ll make it back.

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