I did promise that I would recap my spontaneous adventure into the REAL New Orleans, that began as a trip to get away from the heartache and sorrow I was living into an awakening into a new outlook into a brighter future. Honestly, before this trip I was stuck in limbo where I was not to sure who I was and what I wanted to be. I was in a relationship that was poisoning my future and feeling that I had to settle for less because that person did. So, after saving for two months, encouragement from friends and family and guts I packed up for a trip into the big easy!
I couldn’t explain how nervous I was getting on a plane for the first time by myself and going somewhere I had never in my wildest dreams travel to. I mean seriously, who does that?! I honestly didn’t know what to expect, it was also of course my first time to a journalism convention. First day I made my way down Ducater up to canal to the sheraton where the convention was being held. I had already done my homework into the sessions that I thought would be the most beneficial to me, but was really was open to anything.
My first session was with the AMAZING Victoria Lim, a Multiplatform Journalist better known as the “Queen of Coverage”. Lim is by far an amazing type of journalist essentially because she is a jack of all trades when it comes to reporting. She does TV, web, and print reporting in which she can take a story and deliver it in many different mediums. Honestly, before I met Victoria I had no idea this even existed. I always thought you had to be one or the other, but after hearing about her career it made me hands down decide this IS the type of journo I want to be.
After my first day at convention I joined my fellow Journos in a street up which was in place to meet, network, and explore Burbon Street. It was fun, I enjoyed being able to sit in to listen to the joys of jazz that New Orleans has to offer.
In the days that followed I did get an opportunity to learn about how to manage my finances as a freelancer, how to build page views and other tools to gain an audience. However, by far the best the session I thought was going to cover how to cover immigration lead me front row and center in front of Jose Antonio Vargas ! Now for those of you that have no idea who he is, well he is an amazing journalist whom spent his time covering campaign trails, Facebook founder Mark Zucherberg, HIV/AIDS in DC and so forth while living a secret life as an undocumented individual in this country. Sitting in that room listening to his struggles before and after the truth came out, made me fight to hold the tears back. I know of so many people out there that are in the same position that are striving for the American dream, and those who have turned their back to it. It was such a powerful session that it has made me think about what type of beat I would like to specialize in. So far it looks like immigration can be it, and I have Mr. Vargas to thank for helping me realize that.
That night I had an opportunity to take a fairly inexpensive ride around the French Quarter in a carriage!! Yes! A carriage, it was so fun to see the city in a different light. My carriage driver was a bonafide local that beamed with pride about his fair city. Plus, he was so gracious that he took me back to my hotel!!
Lastly on my last day, I spent some time touring the streets of the New Orleans by stopping by at Cafe du Monde for some Beignets (yes, I just HAVE to!). I moved on to taking some pictures of the city during the day and did some shopping. However, the highlight of the day had to be the New Orleans Cemetery tour by Haunted History where I toured St. Louis #1 the eternal resting place of the Voodoo Queen. Honestly, this was the most interesting, informative, and fun tour I have ever been on. Our tour guide Ernest was the best guide ever!! He just made the history come a live and also added some personal touches. Loved it!! Next time your in New Orleans, seriously request him!
Now as I ended my day and got my luggage together to fly back to reality there are a few things that I did take away with me. New Orleans taught me not to stress on the little things, live life, push forward and above all be strong. These are the lessons that are keeping me afloat while I face another challenge in my path, the overall separation from that person I was to the person I want to be.
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