This years meetup is CANCELED due to hurricane Isaac. We have reports that much of the French quarter is without power and the Louis Armstong Airport is operating on generators. Due to the slow moving storm there is a high possibility of flooding making travel difficult. Please contact your hotels and airlines for refunds. More details to follow. August 31 - September 2 (Labor Day/Southern Decadence Weekend)
This year we wanted the conference to be super social. So there will be no presentations, no meetings, no fees, just FUN! On Saturday we are going to have a picnic at Audubon Park. Look for the banner from the Houston Conference. After the picnic you can explore the city on your own or form an impromptu group. Later that evening there will be a group heading down to the French Quarter for Southern Decadence. On Sunday we will meet in smaller groups for lunch and dinner. We will also take a tour of the city and probably return to the French Quarter for another round of Southern Decadence.
If you want to come to New Orleans you should book you plane tickets and hotel soon. As of the beginning of April round trip air fare from Chicago to New Orleans was approximately $375-$400. Hotel rooms for the weekend were available from $100 and up per night depending on amenities. Use your favorite travel search engine, I prefer Kayak, and set up an alert to email you daily or weekly with travel deals.
We recommend staying in the Garden District near St. Charles Avenue. But you could also stay in the Central Business District or the French Quarter. However due to Southern Decadence the longer you wait to book a hotel, especially near the French Quarter, the more expensive your rooms will be.
The St. Charles Streetcar line runs 24/7 every 10 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes in the early morning hours. This streetcar line runs from Audubon Park to the edge of the French Quarter. Single rides are $1.25 and a 3-day unlimited Jazzy pass is $12. There are also plenty of taxis available.
Labor Day weekend is also Southern Decadence in New Orleans. According to
“Southern Decadence started forty-one years ago as a simple going-away party. As a top gay Labor Day Weekend destination, it has evolved into one of our world's major annual events. One of the largest annual celebrations and festivals in New Orleans, it has become known as the "Gay Mardi Gras." People begin to arrive on the Wednesday before Labor Day, and generally don't even think about stopping or going home until the following Tuesday. With over 100,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender participants, and an economic impact estimated to be in excess of $125 million, the city has recognized the festival's importance with an Official Proclamation to welcome the event.”
From nature to parties there should be something in New Orleans for everyone. I hope to see everyone there.