At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

ALA was better than I expected. Although New Orleans was predictably muggy, I enjoyed wandering around the French Quarter, which (Bourbon Street aside) was less tacky than I remembered from trips taken there with my family back in the 80s. I found some good stuff at the used book stores, including a mint condition copy of the Liber Hymnarius for $10, 2 out of 4 volumes of the Latin Breviary for only $8 a piece, and Conversations With Walker Percy--it's nice shopping for used books in a Catholic town. Speaking of which, Mass at St. Louis Cathedral was pleasant, although I find it annoying that Catholic congregations never seem to use the service music actually found in the missalette. Maybe that's their way of detecting Protestant interlopers. The cantor was a beautiful college-age woman, though, not the stout matron with cropped hair and polyester jacket who usually does the job at Catholic churches.

Although I didn't see much hurricane damage, it was evident that New Orleans still hasn't completely recovered. The shuttle service at the airport was understaffed and disorganized, leading to long delays. Some of the restaurants I planned to patronize turned out to be closed. Many French Quarter establishments had "Help Wanted" signs in their windows.

The conference itself was fairly informative. I attended sessions on collection assessment and learned about some interesting tools, including GeoLib, a database of demographic information for library districts across the country.

In the airport shuttle I overheard two women complaining about patriarchy in the RC Church, and walking to the convention center two young (white) hipsters complained about "white privilege." ALA...

The job search is depressing. The last three interviews have been fruitless, and my last four resumes haven't even merited rejection letters.


Blogger Felix said...

Did you wander through Pirate's Alley, behind the church on Jackson Square, and rummage through the little bookstore there? I recall that they had some nice Percy-related gems, including a collection of his uncle's poetry, when I stopped by years ago. Pricy, though. And I don't know for sure whether they're even there anymore.

Also -- didn't Percy's daughter have a bookstore in NO somewhere?

12:20 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Yeah, the "Faulkner House Book Shop," I think it's called, because of one particularly famous former resident. I didn't see any of W. A. Percy's poetry, but they did have a couple of Walker's novels translated into Japanese! (Speaking of which, in Conversations Walker says that a Japanese translator visited him in Louisiana just to get the proper translation for an obscenity in one of his novels.) There were also some interesting letters from Percy, Faulkner, O'Connor, etc., framed and hanging on the wall.

Walker's daughter had a bookstore, but I'm not sure if it was in N.O. or in Covington itself.

4:38 PM  

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