All is bright and beautiful if very hot in downtown N.O.--there's lots of construction and renovation going on, including at the convention center, where, nb, the ALA halls are waaaaay down toward the far end.
Despite all the highbrow recommendations I had for plane reading, I ended up with only five minutes to choose something at the airport and was happily entertained by James Rollins's Map of Bones, a better-than-Dan-Brown religious thriller involving popes and anti-popes, the Three Kings (or were there four?), the catacombs of the Vatican, a sharpshooting Eurasian beauty and theories about Biblical "manna" that connoisseurs of Philip Pullman's "dust" will find especially intriguing.
My hotel room window looks out onto a brilliantly whitewashed solid brick windowless wall about five feet away, beautiful in its minimalist way, yet so close that no matter how far I try to look up or down, all I can see are bright white bricks. It's constantly putting me in mind of Emily Dickinson's "Why do they shut me out of heaven . . . ."