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Fried Dough? Yes, Please!

11.11.2009

Okay, so the beignets weren’t the main purpose of my trip to New Orleans last week. But the beignets (which are essentially little pieces of fried dough) were delicious. Thanks to everyone who insisted I go to Cafe du Monde! I was not disappointed.

BEFORE:

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And AFTER:

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I was in New Orleans for Pictage’s annual photographers conference, PartnerCon. This year it was hosted in the Big Easy, which provided a beautiful backdrop, a veritable photographer’s dream. Especially since it was my first trip. I arrived on Monday afternoon and with a couple of hours to burn while waiting for my roommate, the lovely Erin Fults of Mississippi, to arrive, I set out on the town.

The hotel was situated right off of Bourbon Street, of Mardi Gras fame. It’s seriously like a party everyday. That evening there was a football game, New Orleans Saints versus the Atlanta Falcons. Fans. were. everywhere. Check the black and gold representing.

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I absolutely loved the architecture in New Orleans. It was so reminiscent of European, specially French, architecture. I could not get enough of the balconies, which I learned are called “galleries”. This shot is right across the street from Cafe du Monde.

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So after many comments and buzz about Cafe du Monde, I set out to find these famous beignets. The last time I had a beignets was in high school when we cooked some up for the French club. A little taste of France in the US? Yes, please! Plus, they are open 24 hours a day.

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I don’t think it’s possible to eat the beignets neatly. There’s just too much powdered sugar (see above). I even shook some off before I took my first bite, but the powdered sugar still went everywhere.

The New Orleans vibe ran throughout the conference. There was a band that added some great ambiance while we mingled and stuffed food between talks.

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I learned a ton.

Here are my top five lessons:

  • Create a mission/vision statement and build your business from there.
  • Be remarkable. Create an unforgettable client experience.
  • Choose a focus and position yourself in the marketplace.
  • Know your numbers and have a business plan.
  • DO SOMETHING.

I went to sessions by Jason Aten who talked about starting out right, Scarlett Lillian and finding the fabulous, Justin & Mary Marantz who had a an amazing presentation about “How to be a Rainmaker”, and Nashville’s Zach & Jody Gray’s “Executing the Dream”, and Kevin Swan’s talk on how to stand out.. I loved being able to meet other photographers from around the country and the opportunity to meet photographers I look up to and admire.

I also grabbed a spot in Mike Colon’s Hands-on Shooting Workshop. There will be a couple of posts dedicated just to that!

I had the awesome opportunity to volunteer for the Charity Photo Shoot for survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Sadly, I don’t have any photos from that, but it was an amazing experience working with the residents. I met a little 5-month old boy with the CUTEST cheeks, EVER. His mom said that they did not have any photos together yet, so it was so cool to be able to give them that gift. You can read the media coverage of the event HERE.

A BIG thank you goes to my roomie for the conference, Erin Fults. If you are in Mississippi and looking for amazing portraiture work, check out Erin!

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Next year, PartnerCon will be in the Big Easy again! November 16-18, 2010.

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