This weekend the American Library Association is holding their annual conference in New Orleans. It was amazing to me how the locals are in general just happy to see so many people coming through. Those who I have spoken with have talked about how dead the city was, since Katrina, before we came. One of the best things that I encountered was watching Pedro make a cigar. When he finished he looked up at me with such an intense pride in his work. The people here continue to work hard and I hope that this effort by the American Library Association, its members, and business associates shows how important it is for other conferences to follow the belief that New Orleans can be alive again.
See the New York times article from June 23: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/24/us/24convention.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
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It is easy when you are so far away from the place of a disaster to disassociate from it or even condemn it. I have felt pretty good being here. It has been a fun time thus far. I am not fearful and I have not seen evidence of intense mold anywhere, but I have seen too many blue tarps on rooftops, spraypaint on beautiful houses, stray cats, and roaches (outside, not in my hotel, but which you will find in many cities anyway).
I have also seen thriving flowers, plants and trees. I have tasted wonderful food, including many variations of crawfish, and experienced the kindness of the locals. We all know that the Katrina disaster situation was not handled well and I'm not here to play the blame game, I just think that we could be applying more of that energy to getting things fixed and making sure that if another hurricane comes to town that we are ready to handle it.
Many librarians have worked and will be working to make this happen. There were two days that the American Library Association allocated for volunteer opportunities for librarians. I have heard that there were over 900 people who signed up to help. That is just truly amazing and I am so proud to be a part of this profession.
For my pictures of New Orleans please check my Flickr site: www.flickr.com/photos/iamalibrarian