The drive from Houston to New Orleans, on I-10, took longer than I thought, over five hours — partly due to rush hour traffic outside of Baton Rouge. Thought it’s not the most scenic drive — except when passing over the Atchafalaya Swamp — it was important to me to drive the route so many New Orleanians — including Leo & Michelle — took as they evacuated the city in advance of Hurricane Katrina, It was easy to imagine — especially in the Baton Rouge traffic — the agonizingly slow advance of cars leaving the city for the storm.
I was sweating a bit getting into New Orleans because I was due at the A.D. book party and was behind schedule. In the end, I skipped checking in at my hotel and headed straight over to Republic, in the CBD, for the party. I didn’t have time to change out of my driving outfit of shorts and a T-shirt, but fortunately it was a casual affair so I offended no one.
The party was put together by A.D. character Leo, in conjunction with Crescent City Comics, a store that closed due to the flooding but is finally set to re-open. There was free beer and a nice atmosphere, with a steady crowd. It was a great introduction to the New Orleans response to A.D., as people were very gracious and excited to have me sign their books. I had some great exchanges with people anxious to tell me their Katrina experiences. I also had a selection of oversize giclée prints for sale, to benefit Common Ground Relief. Later, SMITH editor Larry Smith and A.D. characters The Doctor and Michelle also made appearances.
Sari was due to fly in that evening for the party, but perhaps fittingly her flight out of New York was cancelled due to Hurricane Bill. She ended up catching another flight, via Dallas, but missed her connection, and had to stay the night in the Dallas area.
By party’s end, Crescent City had sold over 30 copies of A.D., I had sold four prints, and all the beer had been drunk. Leo and Crescent City owner Les took me out to Juan’s Flying Burrito for some delicious pork and coleslaw tacos, and then I dragged myself over to the hotel to check in and sack out.
Michelle, Larry Smith, Leo, some dude with a strange haircut, and The Doctor