The weekend was great. I won't bore anyone with the conference itself.
I managed to screw up my flight tickets with Google and United's help, so I had to fly into Gulfport at the last minute and catch a greyhound bus, but I ended up at the convention center in time to register Saturday night and then get lost on the Riverwalk.
Finally found a streetcar station and made it to my room at the Aaron Ingram Haus (http://www.ingramhaus.com/), a nice, affordable, gay-friendly little apartment suite in the Marigny triangle run by a self-professed "dirty old man" with apparently excellent taste in stained glass:
Scott gave me lots of tips for seeing the area on short notice; Frenchmen street has a lot of nice little shops, bars, restaurants, and art which have overflowed out of the French Quarter into the Marigny neighborhood. Had some wonderful coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde on his recommendation, and a delicious fried catfish po'boy at the Market Cafe nearby.
Next night, also on his recommendation (and that of a local here in Des Moines), I checked out the Good Friends Bar and Cafe Lafitte in Exile (so named, apparently, because a past owners apparently kicked the bar out of Lafitte's blacksmith shop when they found out it catered to a gay crowd). In between the two I couldn't help but stop at the Bourbon Pub & Parade, where they have *gorgeous* men dancing on the bar in their skivvies off and on throughout the night.
And somehow, after the napkin toss at Cafe Lafitte, I ended up unexpectedly getting close enough to a wonderful older man to be more than a little hurt when he didn't return my text or answer my call the next night.
I couldn't recommend New Orleans more strongly; I really hope to go back soon and often if possible.