I just returned from Bouchercon in New Orleans. I hadn’t been to New Orleans in years, not since I turned 30 and went on a cross-country train expedition with another friend named Lisa. We took skateboards with us and called it the “Old Boyfriends Tour” because one of the things we did was meet a couple guys who had been significant in our lives. That part didn’t work out well, but it was overall a grand adventure.
And we had amazing luck. In New Orleans, we had a 24 hour layover. Being young, dumb and with not a lot of money, we decided we would stay up all night. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it really wasn’t. The crime rate in New Orleans was sky high at the time.
So we foolishly decided we would sit on a park bench in Jackson Square facing the cathedral. We’d take turns staying awake.
This, not surprisingly, did not go well. While Lisa slept, I struggled to stay awake. Finally, a young Black security guard came over. I will never forget what he said and how kindly he said it: “Don’t you worry. I’ll make sure no one messes with you.”
And no one did.
Thanks to all my friends and colleagues who made Bouchercon, and New Orleans, such a wonderful, memorable experience.
New Orleans, I’ll see you again, soon, I hope.