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After seeing several posts regarding ALA in New Orleans, I thought I'd add a 
cautionary word.

I've attended ALA's summer conferences for years, and in 1999 I went to my first 
one held in New Orleans.  Friends of mine who are veteran librarians and support 
all ALA endeavors warned me not to go.  "You will die from the heat and humidity," 
they said.   "We have stopped attending anything in New Orleans in the summer." 

I thought that it was a bit of hyperbole... after all, I've been in some very HOT 
summer places around the world like Athens and Cairo, and I could not imagine that 
any city could be hotter than those.  Well, I should have listened to my friends.  
I did indeed go to New Orleans for the '99 ALA conference, and the heat and 
humidity were so punishing that I spent virtually all my time in the convention 
center or in the hotel.  Even trying to ride the historic streetcars was an 
exercise in sweaty futility...   there was no air moving inside or around them, and 
I often felt I'd just pass out from the oppressive heat and humidity.  It's a 
lovely city but not very easily navigated when you feel as if you are melting.  
There's no point in visiting a great city when the simple act of walking around 
outside is unpleasant.  Evenings brought no relief... it was still deathly hot 
then, too.

I know that New Orleans needs everyone's help and money to bounce back, but even 
with all the Katrina issues aside, I cannot figure out why ALA insists on putting a 
summer conference there when the heat and humidity are akin to an intense sauna 
bath.  So for those of you who are going... pack your lightest clothes, carry lots 
of water, duck into air-conditioned places once and a while for some relief, and 
remember that "I told you so."  I consider myself a hardy traveler, but, like my 
veteran library friends, I will never again go to New Orleans in the summer, for 
ALA or anything else.

Bill McLoughlin
Library Media Specialist
Brookside School
Worthington, Ohio

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