Sunday, June 26, 2011

From New Orleans

I'm sitting in the hotel lobby, waiting for the shuttle to take me to the airport after attending the ALA convention yesterday. What a huge, overwhelming event. I gather that 30,000 people were in attendance. It certainly felt that I was signing that many books yesterday.

I had a panel on the new Miss Marples which was fun, then I had to rush the entire length of the convention center to sign at the MacMillan booth, then rush over to Penguin to sign at their booth. Then back for another panel. Luckily Elaine Viets handed me a salad or I would have died of starvation. Long lines for signing at each of the above and quite a few people who read this blog. I was asked more than once about whether I had gotten the smell out of the Moroccan bag. Answer is that I'm trying perfume next week, having tried all the others. The smell is almost gone but I'd like to get rid of the faint linger.

The reviews on my hotel were not stellar--a mention of bed bugs in May. So Carolyn Hart and I came prepared to strip off all bedding, open all drawers etc. Luckily our room was pristine (this after we had been sent to a room with one double bed and had to come back down again!)  But poor Libby Fisher Hellmann had to change her room twice--first awful mold smell and air conditioner not working properly, then the dreaded bed bugs, and THEN the airconditioner died in her third room. This was not a grotty hotel. It was a major chain and I may even mention their name if they are not careful.

It's very hot and steamy and I abandoned the trolley ride through the Garden District I was going to take. The only signs of Katrina were single houses standing amid green where whole blocks used to be. And when you stand on the levee you see how vulnerable this city is--just a few feet of dirt to keep out that mighty river and the city lower than the water level. A disaster waiting to happen all the time.

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