New Orleans, 1999

April 1

It would be the fifth Convergence, my fourth, the annual gathering of the people who post to alt.gothic. I had a friend and his SO staying with me while he attended a course in Toronto, but he was flying back to Wisconsin a bit later than we were heading out to Louisiana. He set off for his last day of classes and I shaved my head then headed over to the Women's College Hospital for a follow through to an experiment that I'd taken part in a couple of years ago (an osteoporosis study - one day I'll scan my hip density image). I had to take the TTC out to the Beaches to drop off my apartment key with Lee, since he was going to take care of my cat. Two hours later I made it home.

Kris and &ru were all packed up and saying their good byes when the taxi arrived with Stephanie and Martin to take me to the airport. We made it to Terminal 2 in good time, despite the Gardiner being closed. The check in line was navigated quickly, but we hit a snafu at the counter. Our reservations had been cancelled. We could get from Chicago to New Orleans but there was no record of our flight from Toronto to Chicago. We were supposed to meet up with Tony, DJ Arcanus from Boston, in Chicago and share a taxi to the official hotel.

My gut decided this was far too much stress and started paining me immensely. They ran us to an alternate counter, rebooked us via Houston on a fight leaving in 15 minutes, rushed us through customs, immigration, and security. We ended up being the second last group on the plane (who made me move my suitcase from under their seats). We had two seats together then one two rows up, which Steph took. I sat and shook for a while, then Steph gave me some peppermint tea and I cadged some hot water from the attendant. We ended up getting yelled at by the server when we requested a vegetarian meal and were presented with chicken - he seemed to think we were being arrogant and assuming we could get one without pre booking, but Martin explained to him that we'd been re-booked. The English and French language news covered different topics (Kosovo versus Nunavut). The flight was fairly smooth, but we ended up having to walk for ages to get to our connecting gate in Houston. It was hot. Very hot.

We ended up in the very last row on the fight to New Orleans, and the condensation from the overhead bin had dripped on my seat, soaking the back. It continued to drip on me, even when I put a pillow and blanket there to try and stop the fall and sat forward. I'd had to repack my carry on bag so that it could fit in the over head compartment, since this plane had less space available. They finally closed the flight and I moved over to an empty seat to get away from the water. This flight was turbulent and had a bouncy landing. I looked around for Tony in the airport, but didn't spot him. We got our luggage, grabbed a taxi and headed for the Bienville in the Quarter. Check in was painless and I bolted up to my room to wind down. The king sized four poster bed made the rate worth it, despite the tiny shower. As I was washing up, Siobhan, Etienne and Ron called, then as I was lacing my boots, Steph called to let me know they were getting ready to head out. I was wearing my pouffey lace skirt and black & white striped tights. I checked with Siobhan's room, and dropped in on Steph and Martin, but ended up heading to the Crystal by myself. I talked to a few locals and someone from SF in the line up, and EdVamp butted in front of me despite the evil glare I gave him - promoter's priveledge I guess. :) I'd run into Dorothy, Jealousy and Sola running back to the hotel to get Dorothy's ID so I let them know I'd find them when they got back. Twilight ambushed me when I got inside the club, and I presented her with the tiger eye pendant that I'd picked up for her. I found Zoe, Eileen and Troy and Thad, and blocked the pool table for a bit, gossiping. Frank and Jocelyn were a bit late, but I had a chance to chat with them also. Found Ron and Sio, and Axel and I gave mutual head rubby. I picked up lots off scritches that night, but the last one was too much, and I headed upstairs to hide in a corner for a while with Eileen to bitch about men. TSM joined us, as well as Ratty, elly, and Art, Macross and Monica from Detroit. It was a good night.

I got tired around 3am and walked back to the hotel with Axel. I dropped my bag in my room and we began wandering the halls to see who was still up. We decided we were hungry so I ran back to my room for my wallet and we headed to the lobby to see who was there. The easiest way to pick someone up that weekend was demonstrated as we scooped up Tony by asking him if he wanted to go get something to eat. We wandered far and wide, but ended up at Deja Vu where I had a garden burger while I tried to keep Axel from falling asleep by scritching him occasionally. We finally sated our hunger, and I explained to Tony why we missed him in Chicago, then headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

April 2

I actually woke up at 9, but dozed on and off with housekeeping trying to get me to let them in. I eventually told them at noon to not bother cleaning my room. I struggled out of bed eventually and got ready for the day, wearing a short mandarin style dress, fishnets and big boots in an attempt to stay cool. Putting sun screen on my newly shaven head became an unpleasant but necessary ritual. Since I'd missed the hotel breakfast I headed out to grab some stuff from a convenience store. Ran into Bob, who I'd met originally in London but who's now living in DC, and we picked up drinks and I got some food at a tiny little store in the quarter. On my way back I was tackle hugged by Theresa and Andrew (the poster formerly known as Useless Beauty, and ?) in the lobby and they and Dorothy came up to my room so I could drop off my shopping and cobble together a meal. I ate with them on the patio, enjoying getting to know Theresa in person after the email we'd exchanged. Wandered back down to the first floor with an apple to munch on and jumped into the Meet and Greet. I spotted Gabriel and Bysshe and waited in the line with them so they could pick up their tickets, and I grabbed a bag of info too. The crowd was beginning to get to me, a constant factor the whole weekend, so I went out next to the pool and sat and chatted with Noir Rose, Twilight, Eileen, Boo, Ru and Timly for a while. Then back up to my room to get ready for the shopping expedition. I dropped by Zoe and Dorothy and Spider's room and spied on the remnants of the meet and greet from their balcony, and waved to Lady B when she noticed us. We couldn't resist the opportunity to take pictures in the french doors, with the white curtains blowing around us. Boo and Fae showed up and tagged along with us.

The secret plan behind this shopping trip had been to visit some sex toy shops so that us girls could pick up some equipment. We ended up in Panda Bear on Bourbon St first, with everyone admiring their collection of leather, latex, and toys, but little purchasing going on. Plans were made to come back later in a smaller group. We left that store and wandered further up Bourbon, and were lured in to the Absinthe House for a round of daiquiris. The kiwi was divine and we had far too much fun sticking our coloured tongues out at each other. The bar tender took out a couple of the lizards while we were there, their glass cages forming the bar. We put up with Andrew and Theresa being attached at the face since they weren't too too obnoxious about it. ;) We then headed for Anne's condo, popping into a few stores along the way. We then hit Gargoyles where I ran into Art, Mac and Monica again. At this point I was getting a bit impatient, since shopping in large groups tends to be an exercise in frustration for me, so I took off to head back to the hotel, to eat and buy the socks that I'd forgotten to pack. The crowds of tourists didn't help my mood.

I stopped to talk with HiRez, Axel and Bob outside the Bienville and basked in their accents for a while. :) Frank and Jocelyn directed me to the River Walk Mall as a good place to pursue my quest for socks. I walked down canal, and had a delivery truck driver call out to me as I passed: "Hey, my lady, lookin' fine" which made me smile at least. I found the mall with no problems, it was huge, and I found the long desired socks. I also got lured into the Warner Brothers store (they don't have those where I'm from) and I gave in to my consumer urges and bought a key chain with Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West on one side and "I'll get you my pretty" on the other. By this point, my feet were protesting being used to carry me all over New Orleans, so I limped back to the hotel. I found Troy/Jihad in the lobby and sat with him for a while. The evening was wearing on, so I headed upstairs to shower and change into velvet leggings, a ruffly shirt and my velvet frock coat, since contrary to popular belief, it gets cool at night in the South. Art and Mac were in the lobby, waiting for Monica, and making dinner plans. I got to talk a bit with Carrie Caroline, she came with us all to the restaurant, as well as Cliff, Cossack, Titania and I think a few others. Two more showed up while we were eating seafood - the soup I had was wonderful, but the crab cakes left a bit to be desired. I decided that I didn't want to wait for everyone to finish, so paid my part of the bill and headed back to the hotel. Didn't find anyone I knew well, so headed over to the Marriott where I walked right into a group of my friends about to head over to Bourbon St and a strip club to play stripper bingo. I went temporarily insane and allowed them to scoop me up, since I didn't feel like finding someone to share a cab out to Jimmy's for the official band night. We were lured into a den of iniquity and settled in a dark back corner, cards and expensive drinks in hand. KV got her infamous lap dance from the athletic stripper that Gru gave the WindDancer to. Benton won the bingo game since he and Zoe were bribing the dancers to do certain moves. Spider sat and drew in a corner, Sola sat enigmatically hidden behind her fan, and Jealousy and Ron kept muttering about being damned to hell.

After the game was won, and we saw WindDancer perform one last time, the bulk of us headed over to the Crystal, while a few waited for one more performer to rotate back onto stage. When we reached the club, we headed upstairs to where we'd sat last night. I spotted Nate TGB but he disappeared quickly. They played some Front 242 that got me out on the dance floor downstairs, but I learned that with that small a space coupled with inconsiderate dancers, it was not a fun experience. Steph and Elixxir were dancing just as close to me as the rest of the dancers, and managed to not hit me once. The others kept knocking into me. Must be something we actually learn in Toronto, to respect personal space and restrict our dancing style to the space available. Rested back at the upstairs table, chatting with TSM for a while. Siobhan convinced me to go with her to have beignettes and orange juice at Cafe Du Monde, but when we were done, I was still awake so I saw her off to the hotel and headed back to the Crystal. I danced a lot more, on the upstairs floor this time with lots of room, and was happy again. Twilight found us, and we danced to some Sunshine Blind that I requested in memory of my last trip to NOLA. I rested at the top of the stairs and talked for a bit with Boo, TSM, and Ron. We ended up all heading back to the Cafe Du Monde again, and Ron and Anne got sprayed with water by a drunk group of people. Wandered back to the hotel, sat with EdVamp and Narnia for a while in the lobby while waiting for breakfast to be served. Grabbed some cereal, a muffin and headed up to my room, took a shower and decided not to set my alarm to make the 10am cemetery tour with Tony.

April 3

Housekeeping managed to wake me up again at 11:30am, but I told them to come back at 12:30 so I would have time to make myself human again. Stephanie called at noon, and she, I, and Martin headed out to get breakfast. I slathered on the sun screen again, since I had on a scoop necked velvet top, with my broomstick skirt. We hit the A&P first to get some groceries (fruit, cinnamon raisin bread). We ended up at Poppy's Grill where I had a pecan waffle that I couldn't finish, since my tummy got a bit upset. Probably due to lack of sleep. Back to the hotel where I headed down to the vendor's market after dropping off my groceries in my room. Talked to Axel, missed Anne D'Aboise, talked briefly with Lady B since she was busy selling out her stock of hair, and Steph. As I was heading back to the lobby, I ran into Twilight and Frank in the parking lot. Twi offered to lend me some lace for a mask for the Ball if I couldn't find any - all the fabric stores were out in Metarie. Talked with Caroline in the lobby for a while then she headed out shopping, and I should have joined her, but I was feeling inert. Dorothy and Zoe and Gru caught me and dragged me off to the join baby shower, which I felt a bit out of place at since I'd neglected to bring presents, but Metamorph gave me Lego anyways.

Time to eat yet again, so Dorothy, Zoe, Spider, Theresa, Edvamp, Ron, Casper, Jealousy, Boo, TSM, Eileen and I took over two tables in the pub across from the hotel. I only felt up to an orange juice at that point. Found out as we were leaving that one of the people at the other table was C-ko. I ended up skipping the elder goth cocktail hour, a good thing as it turned out since it was almost as crowded as the meet and greet. We (TSM, Eileen, Boo, Casper and I) headed to Eileen's place that she was sharing with Brian, elly, and Katie. We sat on the balcony and looked at Eileen's pictures and attempted not to slide off the tilted floor. Casper drank the gin straight since there was no mixer, the poor boy. It started to threaten rain so we headed back to our hotel to change for the evening. TSM & I walked KV back to the Marriott since Ron had stopped for a daiquiri and disappeared. We stopped at Jealousy's room briefly so KV could talk to him, then to TSM's so he could get his tickets, then to my room to get mine. I did a quick change into my PVC top and leggings and headed over to the House of Blues, after showing off my outfit briefly in the lobby. :)

There was a bit of a wait until the doors opened, but I'd wanted to be there on time to see the Cruxshadows, who were on first. Got in at 7:30pm, and was duly impressed by the entry way glowing under the black lights. I picked up a couple of Cruxshadows CDs, one for me and one for Lee as a return for looking after my cat, as well as three stickers. Luckily I'd worn my trench coat so I just stuffed everything in the pockets for safe keeping and headed upstairs to claim a seat with a view. GothPat and HiRez joined us on some stools in front of the bar, then Siobhan found us and Bradley, Jealousy, Ron, Casper and crew finally arrived. I tried to direct Ryan Montieth Gill towards KV but the place was filling up and it was hard to spot anyone. I bounced down the stairs and danced in the pit during the Cruxshadow's set and found Will/Rat Bastard. The crowd was very enthusiastic towards the band, despite Rogue's problems getting the mic working. They did an encore, against all etiquette, but it was very appreciated. Will convinced me to put his Cds in my coat pocket also. Ran into Stephanie and Martin on the way back upstairs and dragged them along with me. I gave up my seat to Ru since she was getting a bit tired. Mentallo and the Fixer just struck me as noisy, Clan of Xymox came on after a long pause. I ended up in the onset of a panic attack and TSM escorted me out of the crowds. Unfortunately I guess I didn't manage to impress others with the seriousness of my panic, and Art teased me a bit too much as I was walking out of the alley way to head back to the hotel (you're still forgiven!) and I burst into tears. *sigh* One day I'll learn to read the incipient signs before it gets to this point. Martin had left a bit earlier and was sitting in the lobby writing, so we joined him for a while then headed up to my room to have some tea and talk some more. A nice relaxing end to the evening, and I got to sleep at the decent hour of 2:30am, well 3:30am after I changed the time due to the switch to or from Daylight Savings, I can never remember which.

April 4

It was a good thing I'd gotten to sleep relatively early the night before, since a boat horn on the river, right outside my window, woke me at 8:30am. I decided to make the best of the situation and wandered down to have some of the free breakfast, sharing it with Fae and Stuart. I remembered that I was to call Air Canada to confirm our flight the next day, but house keeping interrupted me and I headed back down to the pool deck and talked with Dorothy while she waited for Steph, Martin, Lauren and Mikey to come to go on the tour they were taking of the Garden District. They ended up grabbing a taxi there since it was 10:20 and the tour started in 10 minutes. Dorothy and I made a tentative agreement to take a ride on the Algiers ferry when they got back, indulging our mutual love of boats. I sat in the lobby for a while and Zoe and Spider caught me to go pick up Anne for the author's symposium. We got a lot of funny looks as we walked down Decateur, could have been that Spider and I are bald and Zoe has flaming pink hair, but I'm not sure. :) Anne was still asleep when we got to the condo, but Theresa and Andrew were almost ready. I decided I didn't really feel up to the symposium so I went with them to try and find a thrift store on Rampart (which was gone, disappeared between my last trip and then) and a French restaurant so that Theresa could try poutine. Andrew was a displaced Canadian, living in Arizona, and infected me with the desire to have poutine again also. The place that I'd remembered from a quick lunch last time was also gone, but we popped into a leather mask store where Andrew and I picked up masks for the ball that night, having the yummy attendant paint them for us to our specs. I waited outside with Theresa while Andrew got his done, since she was squicked by the masks. Mine dried fairly quickly, since he only had to paint the eyelashes purple, and touch up a bit of the black on the body. It was the first mask that I found that worked with the way my eyes tilt, all the others that I'd tried looked silly. We stopped at Gargoyles and I left them there when Martin showed up to exchange a shirt - the glowing cross wasn't working on it. The proprietors were a bit nasty to him about the exchange but he insisted and got a replacement.

We went back to Rue Chattes where he got some ribbons for his shirt for that night, and picked up a necklace that Stephanie had put on hold the day before at the vendors market in the hotel. We walked to the Gazebo cafe and I waited impatiently, far too hungry and wanting my seafood pasta right then - crawfish mamou. *sigh* It was good. I got it as take out and took it back to the hotel, passing Bradley and Elizabeth along the way. They mentioned they were going out for dinner with the group but I didn't spot them at all, and wasn't familiar with the bar they were heading to afterwards. I'd been a bit cold all day, wearing a lace up the front top and short set, so it was nice to sit in the sheltered courtyard at the hotel and eat my warm food. They were setting up for Bunnicula's egg hunt as I was eating, but since I wasn't going to take part, I wasn't shooed out. I headed upstairs to find Dorothy to see if she still wanted to go on the boat tour, found her and Spider and Rafe in their room. Ed came in after attending timmie and Julianne's wedding and gave us the scoop on it. Dorothy kicked us out in order to get ready for the evening and I headed back to my room. I decided to try to find Troy first though, since I didn't need that much time to get ready for the ball, and I cornered him in his room for a nice long talk. I then headed back to my room for yet another shower to get the sun block out of my little bit of hair. Steph called as I was painting my nails and she and Martin came over to share some wine before the ball. It was good, and I ended up drinking mine a bit too fast, feeling a bit rushed since I wanted to get to the House of Blues in time to claim a seat again. I improvised a pouch purse out of a nylon wrap, some safety pins and a ribbon since my canvas pouch didn't quite go with my lace dress. I needed someplace to carry my camera, though I didn't end up using it nearly enough. The costumes were amazing. Steph and Martin headed down to get their pre-Ball pictures taken by Monica, Martin far too hot under his long wig, Stephanie gorgeous in a velvet dress.

I teetered over to the House of Blues in my silly boots (three inch heels on the things, but I bought them as my only pair of skull buckle boots, for special occasions). I found Theresa and Andrew as I walked in, and she was resplendent in a red dress with diamante straps. We wandered upstairs and reclaimed the tables from the last night. Dorothy, laced into her impressive corset, and company showed up: Ron as a gambler, Eileen gorgeous in a silver mask with a head covering of feathers, and Siobhan traded me her lace mask with a rose on it for my leather one as our costumes matched each other's masks (she was in drag). The mask turned out to be Christabel's, someone I'd kept meaning to track down for a chat, but she was too elusive for me. TSM and Axel promised to help me avoid another panic attack. Jean Croix was amazing as Boba Fett, but Edward Scissorhands won the day with his attention to detail. Marie Antoinette turned out to be Kristy (not Jherek) in her wedding dress. *swoon*. Sexbat was tres cute in a frock coat and britches. I signed timmie's wedding book and apologised for not making it to the ceremony. He extracted a half promise out of me to get to this year's Halloween Whitby festival, though Hallowmas is in Toronto at the same time. Lots of happy bouncy 80's music made Theresa break her heel off of her shoe. The bows and curtsies during the costume contest were very graceful and wonderful to watch. Jihad never turned up, he'd planned an Arab costume but decided to stay at the hotel instead. Sexbat was late for the costume judging, so Cossak, dressed as a cossak, took his place on stage with Lady B, Yosa and Cusraque. I spotted Art as I was about to leave, pre-empting my panic attack this time, but didn't get a chance to apologise to him for my reaction last night. I went back to my room to take off my stupid boots and put my frock coat on over the lace dress, since I was cold yet again. TSM and I wandered around the Beinville, trying to find the group that didn't go to the ball. We found Spider and Boo in Zoe's room, and Will's room mates showed up too. Spider kicked us out so she could sleep (it off :) ) and we found Martin on his patio, then headed down to the lobby to see if we could intercept anyone coming back from the Ball. It was too crowded there, so we sat on the pool deck for a while, keeping an eye out via the glass doors. Steph found us and then Jealousy and told us where the gathering was, 4th floor patio. Metamorph joined us in the elevator, but we got distracted by the screaming match in the hall. Will talked Coffin down and I checked that Orion was okay and saw her off to someplace she assured me was safe. I got to sleep at 8am.

April 5

Got up at 8:30am, took a shower, and made sure Steph and Martin were up in order to catch our flight. I finished packing, checked out, and sat with EdVamp and Axel in the lobby for a while. Also caught Troy for a good bye as they set out on the trip back to Austin. I dragged my suitcase over to the Marriott and waited at the cab stand there with Will, who's flight was near the same time as ours and was sharing a cab with us, for Steph and Martin to get their butts in gear. :) Had a quiet ride to the airport, checked in with no problems with our tickets. The bathrooms had really odd sliding seat covers as a nod to sanitation. We got our on flight, and Mikey and Lauren moved back to sit in the row across from us. The engine and the speakers were loud so I put in ear plugs and was antisocial and cranky due to lack of sleep the whole way home. We suspect that the vegetarian meal was no such thing, since the TVP had veins in it and seemed far too much like roast beef. Steph, Martin, and I shared a taxi to my place then they headed off to get ready to go out to the Love and Rockets concert that night. Very tired despite the crisp 8 degree Celsius air that felt heavenly to breathe after the humidity of Louisiana. My cat was fine, and I left a couple of messages to let people know I was home safe, then collapsed into bed.

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