Experiences in the Big Easy

Kristen Daley

In four days in New Orleans, Louisiana, I learned more about life than I expected to. I was in fact there to learn about journalism techniques, ways to keep our organization up and running, and careers in journalism. However, I walked away with a lot more than that.
The first step on our trip was to board a plane, something that most of the editors were a bit weary about after the Sept. 11 attacks. We had to be patient as security sometimes went through everything in our bags, taking them out for the world to see. Thankfully, the four separate plane trips we had to take went off without a problem (if you don’t count the fact that one editor lost her plane ticket and I lost my license somewhere in Louisiana).
Once in New Orleans, we were faced with the culture shock that most would imagine would come with that city. Within the first night, my fellow editors and I walked around the French Quarter trying to find a restaurant open in the late hours. After settling for Wendy’s fast food and hailing a cab to get back to the Hyatt, we heard a knock on the cab window. Not surprisingly, there were two drunk men calling for us to come outside. Laughing it off, we gave the cab driver the signal to go.
The perception of New Orleans natives, that they are happy go lucky and always relaxed, seemed to be verified for the most part. They really are quite friendly. People were dancing in the street, calling for us to come dance with them. Whether they were 18 or 80 years old, they walked around with a smile on their face and a skip in their step.
The editors of The Chronicle and The Brave were given an incredible opportunity to become closer friends while on this trip. We each learned something new about one another.
The most interesting conversations, in my opinion, were among a small group of the women and one of the only two men on the trip. While I’ll probably hear some backlash because of this, it was kind of fun getting into the minds of the highly outnumbered.
The Chronicle editors shared one room, and thousands of laughs, in those four days. We were taken out of the office, where many times we are usually found in stressful situations, and to a place where we could relax and have fun. From the other editors, I received some of the best advice that I have even gotten, and also saw how differently we handled our own situations in our lives. It was an experience that I’ll never forget.
The opportunity to meet new people is one of the highlights of this trip. A simple lunch invitation kicked off a new friendship I never imagined I would make while I was there. Networking was also possible, which will hopefully make our job search a little bit easier after graduation.
If I had to say one thing as I make my way back to a normal week of classes, work, and The Chronicle, it would have to be thank you. Thank you to Sarah Netter, Marisa Koraus, Viktoria Sundqvist, Joe Reynolds, Lauren O’Leary, Kellie Gleeson, Melanie Dwornik, Sarah Allard, and our adviser Ed Kovacs. As sentimental as this may sound, the trip would not have meant as much without all of you.