I am very excited to share my hometown with fellow Clojurists for the Clojure SYNC conference. New Orleans is a unique city and I hope to make this much more than another destination conference. Many large conferences come here, use the convention space, and spill out the attendees onto Bourbon Street. People eat good food, they drink in the streets, and they return to the bland, corporatized space of their event. That’s fine and all, but that is not what this conference is.
Lisp was created early in the history of programming languages. It was never fully accepted into the mainstream, yet its influences could be felt very strongly through the years. It was the first to have conditionals, garbage collection, and recursive functions, among others. Not only did it influence other languages, as a platform for language experimentation, it invented many great ideas and borrowed many more. Its relative obscurity, different syntax, and isolation gave it an alien quality. Clojure carries on this tradition.
New Orleans has always been a place apart. It was located far from other cities in the US, yet had close traffic with Europe, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. It is an exotic place to most Americans. It has its own customs, food, music, and celebrations. New Orleans continues to invent and borrow, synthesizing something unique and timeless that serves as an otherworldly influence on US culture.
I think New Orleans and Clojure have something to learn from each other. They are kindred spirits. I invite you to my home city. When you arrive, the first thing that will strike you is the unfamiliar yet beautiful architecture, then you will notice the different rhythm of life. It is in this setting that we will open our minds to new knowledge and understanding.
Clojure SYNC is proud to be hosted in the historic Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré (Le Petit), located steps from Jackson Square in the French Quarter. It has recently celebrated its 100 year anniversary. You can read more about the venue on its website.
Le Petit is located at 616 St. Peter St.
New Orleans is home to Creole Cuisine. There are many dishes that all New Orleanians know and often cook at home. But there’s also a vibrant restaurant culture that feeds in new techniques and ingredients. Creole Cuisine is traditionally a fusion of Native American, West African, French, and Spanish influences. In more recent times, it has melded in other influences, such as Sicilian and Vietnamese, as waves of immigration came in.
I faced a challenge when setting Clojure SYNC in the French Quarter. The Quarter has wonderful restaurants, but it can also be quite touristy. I was worried that some people would have a bad experience, being pressed for time at lunch, landing in a tourist trap, and eating mediocre food. My solution was to enlist help.
The fine folks at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, located here in New Orleans, put together a guide to restaurants by location in the city. I asked them to ensure that there are enough recommended restaurants within walking distance, but also not to neglect the surrounding areas. The secondary goal was to give people a chance to sample food they won’t get elsewhere.
Do consider giving the Food Museum a visit. It’s a short Street Car ride from the French Quarter.
If you sit down at any restaurant in New Orleans, you may encounter a bunch of words you don’t understand. Étouffée. Gumbo. Jambalaya. I’ve made a quick guide to some of the more popular dishes so you can order like a local.