Monday, July 12, 2010

NEA Representative Assembly

The whole reason for the trip to New Orleans was for the National NEA Representative Assembly.  There were delegates there from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The RA involves taking care of business for the next year including legislative positions, amendments to the NEA Constitution and new business items brought to the floor by delegates.  The Kansas delegation met every day from 7-9 am and voted on the items that we felt were most pertinent to Kansas educators.  Most days the RA started at 10:00 and ended anywhere from 5-8. Here are the members that attended from the Konza Uniserve.

Another huge focus of the RA is fundraising.  I learned that none of the dues collected for being a member of NEA go to lobbyists or political causes.  That money is basically all raised by members and this is a huge focus of the RA.  The Kansas delegation had two outfits that you could buy and have other people wear for a half hour.  You could also buy insurance to make sure that you didn't have to wear these snazzy outfits.  Guess these folks didn't buy the insurance!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Music of New Orleans

Well, I have been home now for a whole day.  Most of the laundry from the trip is done (thank goodness).  Now I am gearing up to send hubby off to Atlanta at the end of next week.  Since I didn't do a very good job of documenting the rest of our trip I will post some general stuff.  The first installment will be about the music of New Orleans which was probably my favorite thing about the city.

Upon the recommendation of William, the most awesome doorman in New Orleans, we headed out to Frenchman Street to Snug Harbor.  It is a little hole in the wall place, the dining area sat only around 60 people.  In the back was their performance area which was two stories, but there is a reason it is called Snug Harbor.  We were sitting shoulder to shoulder in the little performance area.  We got to see Ellis Marsalis, who is the father of Wynton and Branfort Marsalis.  He is a fabulous piano player and is really soft spoken.  There were times I really couldn't even hear what he was saying as he was introducing the pieces.  He has a great sense of humor though and it was a great evening.  It is very obvious where his sons get their talent and their charm from.

Also on Frenchman Street was The Blue Nile.  Being a Deadliest Catch junkie, I have been watching the episodes of After the Catch which were filmed at this club.  They have been featuring some great Zydeco musicians on After the Catch and I have been enjoying watching the episodes.  Just think, I could have stood where Sig or Captain Andy were!!!!!

We ate at Mulate's which also had a live Zydeco band performing and it is hard to walk down the street without hearing some sort of group or individual performing.  One of my favorites was a guy who wandered around the French Quarter playing his sousaphone.  We tried to get a picture of him but they all turned out kind of blurry.  We took a riverboat cruise the last evening we were there and they had the Emmy Award winning Dukes of Dixieland on board performing during the two hour cruise. 

My absolute favorite street performance was the New Orleans Navy Band that was performing between the Riverwalk and Andrew Jackson Park on July 4th.  They had a dixieland band that performed as well as a full concert band.  Both groups were stellar although I must admit the dixieland group was a lot of fun.  It was a great prelude to the Dueling Barges Fireworks display on the river for Independence Day.

Friday, July 2, 2010

New Orleans - Day 2 & 3

Wednesday started off with a bus ride to go to our Swamp Tour.  We rode on a six person air boat.  We were hoping to avoid the rain but it sprinkled most of the time we were out on the water.  Not too bad as long as you were sitting still but when the 454 Chevy Big Block that powered our boat got up to full speed (about 35mph) it felt like someone was throwing pins at your face.  Our tour guide was a great guy.  He was very knowledgable and brought some alligators right along side our boat.  He explained that if you measure the distance between an alligators nose to his eyeballs you can turn that into feet and that is about how long it is.  So the guy pictured above (which he called an alpha male) is about 20 feet long.  The second picture is a lot smaller, maybe only 8 feet.  He explained how alligators how alligators recognize the voices of the different guides and that's how they got them to come to the boats, well, that and marshmallows.  He called marshmallows alligator crack. 
Towards the end of the tour he pulled out a baby alligator and let us all hold it. 

By the end of the tour it was really coming down or I would have gotten some better pictures of the controls and of the engine.  I would love to go on an air boat again but maybe with a little more sun.

Later that day we went to the World War II Museum.  It was very interesting but the best part was a movie they had made about WWII.  It was billed as a movie in 4D so we weren't really to sure what to expect.  They had screens and props that came up through the stage and down from the ceiling and the chairs shook to feel like an airplane or tank ride.  It was pretty cool.  We strolled through the French Quarter a little more to look around.

On Day 3 we actually had to go to some meetings.  We had an orientation in the morning for first time delegates and went to the convention center to get registered.  Then the Kansas delegation met for about 3 hours in the afternoon.  We got some reservations made for Friday and walked down the Crescent City Brewery for supper. 

On the slate for Friday is a bus tour of New Orleans, where we will get to go down the 9th Ward where the flooding from Katrina was the worst.  We also have tickets to see Ellis Marsalis tomorrow night at Snug Harbor.  We are still trying to figure out a spot to catch the fireworks Saturday night.  The display is shot off from two barges on the river so that should be pretty cool.