At this year’s Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) conference in New Orleans there were many things to do and many places to eat outside of the panel presentations and organizational meetings. The convention was held in the Marriott Hotel on Canal Street between Chartres (pronounced locally as “CHARters”) and the block-long Dorsiere Street, which is one block lake side of Decatur (locally pronounced “DeCAYter”) Street. The major complaint about the Marriott was that it charged $15 a day for wireless internet access in the individual hotel rooms, so most of the participants gathered in the lobby near the bar to access the free (although sporadic and weak) wi-fi.
Housed right on the edge of New Orleans’ famed French Quarter – Canal Street was the boundary between the French and the American sectors of town – ASEEES participants were in easy walking distance of a number of excellent restaurants: SoBou on Chartres, Olivier’s in the 200-block of Decatur* – where the ESSA held its dinner to honor Donald Ostrowski, and the Gumbo Shop on Saint Peter Street right next to St. Louis Cathedral. Couchon, a southern Cajun restaurant in the nearby Warehouse District, was also recommended. Café Du Monde, open 24 hours a day (except December 25th) on Decatur Street across from the Pontalba Apartment building on Jackson Square, offers beignets and cafe au lait for early morning breakfast and as a late night snack.
*Editor’s note: Olivier’s restaurant closed down in January 2015.
On a sunny day like today, one could buy lunch, such as a crawfish omelet with grits and French bread, from Cafe Beignet on Royal Street, sit on the steps of the Louisiana Supreme Court Building and listen to any one of several street bands, trios, and duos that were performing, and still get back to the conference in time for the afternoon panels.