Originally published March 2016
Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to be one of nine Northeastern students sent to represent NUMA, the Northeastern University Marketing Association, at the American Marketing Association’s International Collegiate Conference (AMA ICC). The conference lasted from Thursday to Saturday, and because of this I was able to spend a few days exploring New Orleans. We were staying at the Sheraton in the French Quarter, and while the conference took up most of our days, I’m happy to say that I was able to see some cool New Orleans tourist attractions in the surrounding area, and begin a list of places I want to explore next year!
A Park With A Palace
One of the most beautiful parts of New Orleans is Jackson Square, featuring the St. Louis Cathedral, something that is literally right out of a Disney princess movie. The park is absolutely gorgeous, a perfect place to walk around and appreciate a beautiful day. Jackson Square is also a hub of activity. When my friends and I went exploring we were met not only with a beautiful view, but we were also able to check out the art the local street vendors were selling, and hear some jazz music being performed right outside the cathedral. The cathedral itself is stunning, and the interior features a high arching ceiling with paintings throughout. For an afternoon where the weather is nice, I would recommend taking a walk and just enjoying the beauty of New Orleans around Jackson Square.
Dough to Die For
While you are at Jackson Square you should definitely try Cafe du Monde’s famous beignets. Beignets, for those who have yet to have the wonderful experience, are essentially fried dough squares with sugar on top. And they are absolutely delicious. Every single day I was in New Orleans I had at least one beignet, knowing that nothing at home comes even close to the taste. I would bet they are also pretty terrible for your health, but when you are vacationing it’s worth it, especially when you can get three beignets for only three dollars. Although Cafe du Monde has seating, I would recommend getting your coffee and beignets to go and exploring more of the French Quarter. The coffee house is right near Jackson Square, so you can sit in the park and enjoy your treat, and also close to the Mississippi if you want to eat along the river. Even better is the fact that Cafe du Monde is open 24/7, so if you were feeling hungry after a late night on Bourbon Street you could stop by and have your hunger satisfied!
A New Kind of Museum Experience
Potentially my favorite part of my New Orleans trip was visiting the National WWII Museum. This museum was quite possibly one of the best museums I’ve ever visited, if not the most enjoyable. The entire visit was very immersive, and I wish I had more time to truly appreciate all of it. To start the tour off, you receive a keycard that has the story of a person important in World War II history (mine was Doris Miller, the first African American male to receive the Navy Cross) that you can reference throughout the museum to hear about how his or her life was progressing at different points throughout the war.
The way the museum was set up was amazing too. Each room you traveled through was well designed, adding to the immersive experience. The part of the museum dedicated to the battles at Guadalcanal and island hopping felt as though you were actually on a beach, while the ‘Road to Berlin’ was filled with snow capped trees and even had projections of snow falling from the sky. At every point through the museum you were able to feel involved, as though history was truly surrounding you.
Unfortunately I had to rush through the entire second half of the museum to make it back in time for the award banquet. I would love to have had a few more hours in the museum, for there was so much more to see, including pretty much the entire European front, the rest of Miller’s life story, as well as the Tom Hanks narrated 4D movie experience ‘Beyond All Boundaries’ (which has a pretty stacked cast!). Being at the museum made me fall in love with history a little bit more, and has gotten me even more excited for my dialogue to Poland this summer where I will be learning more about World War Two and the Cold War.
Art Meet Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial in New Orleans was one of the most creative memorials I have seen in quite some time. The basic concept is that while there are nine separate pillars of art, where you stand impacts what you see. This is a form of kinetic art, something the artist Yaacov Agam helped to pioneer. The way this monument works is that there are seven different places to stand indicated on the ground in a star like pattern. Each time you face the memorial from a new spot, you see a different image, one that is connected to a theme related to World War Two.
I was pleasantly surprised to come across this memorial. I find the uniqueness of the art absolutely fascinating, and think it really adds to the message. The fact that an artist is able to design a piece where from one angle I see the Star of David, another a Menorah, and another a rainbow is truly outstanding to me. Although my friends and I did not stay too long, I found it to be one of the more impactful aspects of my trip, and would recommend that a traveler visiting New Orleans carve out a half an hour to walk around the memorial and understand the significance of each new view.
Your Future Marketers
Although not something the average New Orleans visitor can participate in, attending the American Marketing Association’s International Collegiate Conference is a conference I am glad I have had the opportunity to experience. This year Northeastern University’s Marketing Association performed absolutely phenomenal: we took home five awards, a new record for us. The conference is also a great opportunity to learn more about marketing as a whole. While at the AMA ICC I had the opportunity to hear some great speakers talk about a lot of different aspects of marketing. One of my favorites was Daryl Weber, who spoke about the unconscious power of brands, and explained how marketing can be approached from a psychological standpoint, which was very interesting to consider. It was also helpful to hear what other chapters were doing across the nation so we can potentially adopt some of their ideas to help grow our chapter. Although a very niche event, I find the AMA ICC to be a fantastic conference worth attending, and I definitely look forward to attending year after year.
I had an amazing time in New Orleans. The weather was great the first day, and although it was rainier towards the end, New Orleans is a fun city to explore. One of the best things about visiting New Orleans is how excited I am to go back. I have already started a list of things to do next time, such as a jazz club, a voodoo museum, and a ferry ride across the Mississippi. New Orleans is a beautiful city to visit, and I would recommend a trip for anyone wanting to have a warm, relaxing vacation filled with beautiful sites and interesting activities.