The Tide Rose in New Orleans last weekend, and I was still inspired by the NOLA Bloggers. The attendance was greater than previous years, the posters and t-shirts more beautiful, the keynote more riveting and the panels and parties, the participants and reparte, more wonderful than ever. Who thought that possible? The hard part about going to Rising Tide from out of town (and of insisting on driving) is that I don't get much chance to blog about it because I'm busy driving home in the immediate aftermath. That's also the worst thing about working the sign in table too. Live blogging is for those seated among the attendees (well, except perhaps for Liprap who maintained the RT Blog while also working the sign in and buy swag table with me
*jealous raspberry at her mad skillz*), and Maitri killed it in this series of live posts. Killed it.
Harry Shearer's Keynote was excellent, and much of its content ended up published as a blog post at HuffPo. He came early and caught most of the Culture Panel (my fav) and stayed for a long time shaking hands, posing for pictures, signing books, talking, listening. The lunch by Cafe Reconcile was amazing (thanks, David). If you don't know what Cafe Reconcile's about, then this is the one link in this post to click. In addition to their noble purpose and good works, Reconcile produces fabulous food. White Beans and Shrimp, Crawfish Pasta, Greens, Cornbread... oh, my! The afternoon was the Politics Panel & we closed with the Sports Panel, playing to the worn out but die hard crowd.
Coming home late Sunday and straight to work Monday was rough, but there's no rest for these bloggers, and it's taken just about all the focus I can muster while also working full time (and work's been an intense dead run this week) to follow their creative bursts burning up the internet tubes with inspired and energetic plans for next year's event. It will be bigger and better than ever before and I'll be sharing specifics soon. We came away from Rising Tide pumped.
I came away from it all resolved to be a better blogger and with renewed devotion to New Orleans, more specifically, New Orleanians. I'm also increasingly convinced that self-censorship rooted in fear of what folks I know or work with or may one day know or work with will think if I speak my heart makes for bad blogging, the kind that's gone on here for too long. As we approach the coming 4th anniversary of New Orleans' flood that followed the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, the NOLA Blogosphere is full of eloquent posts about Rising Tide as well as the anniversary, but I'll direct you to Scout Prime's Farewell Post at First Draft:
I am just an American who felt strongly about the necessity of this country to right the wrong that had been done to the Gulf Coast and in particular New Orleans. I believed and still do believe that it is a moral imperative and that in not doing so we, as a country, as a community, risk losing our soul. I would submit that as a society we lost our moral compass when bodies were allowed to remain in the streets of N.O. for days and weeks, or in homes for months and even a year in some cases, as the powers that be argued over who would foot the bill to recover the remains of the victims of the flooding of New Orleans. There is something very wrong when such a thing can occur in a great nation.
Read her post. Watch her videos. Take a few moments to think, as this anniversary approaches, about how we can be a better country, how we can find our national soul. We've come a long way, but we still have far to go.
Peace, out, y'all.