Last week, I went to New Orleans, LA with part of the WordPress.com Store team to work on some projects in person. It was an extremely productive trip full of great discussions and, more importantly, action items that came from our talks to continue to improve on the work that we do.
Since we rented a house in the Garden District, we spent most days at home, working. As our team grew, our meetups had gotten larger and larger, so it was nice to spend a whole week with a small group, even though I missed seeing all of my coworkers. It gave us a nice opportunity to cook for each other, chit chat over dinner, and the like.
We ventured into the French Quarter a few times, sharing dinner and karaoke with part of the WordPress.com VIP team. Which, I think, was my favorite night of the entire trip. I never thought I’d do karaoke in front of a bunch of strangers, but it was kind of amazing.
On Saturday, we set aside time to do some activities together and wander around the French Quarter. After a somewhat eventful lunch out, we went over to City Segway Tours to take a spin around the city. I’ve taken a segway tour once before, in San Diego, CA, but never in a city itself. It was a bit harrowing at times, riding on this hilarious little machine in the middle of traffic, but we were able to cover so much more ground than we would have otherwise.
Previously, I’d only been to New Orleans for one day while doing a Habitat for Humanity trip, post-Katrina. It was a heartbreaking visit at the time, since it had been two years since the hurricane, but so much was still in shambles, especially depending on what neighborhood you were in. This time, things seemed different and although we pretty much stayed in the French Quarter and the Garden District, I hope the status of the homes here is on par with those elsewhere.
Even last time, I was most excited to see the Mississippi River. I’ve only been on the other side of it a few times, but I was an avid Mark Twain reader as a kid, so the Mississippi took on a mythical element for me.
After the segway tour, we had an amazing dinner at Muriel’s, full of way too many laughs and delicious food. One of the best things about our meetups is that they’re not like typical work trips. While we definitely work hard, we play hard, too — the mix of people at Automattic makes for the perfect elixir of creative brainstorming and inspiration, coupled with sincere conversation and belly laughs.
With every trip, I always wish I’d made the decision to stay a little longer or come a little earlier. This one is no exception. I’d love to visit New Orleans again and, better yet, make it a road trip. I’m thinking the summer would be an amazing time to go. I know, weather-wise, it’s a crazy idea. But some like it hot. To each their own, especially in NOLA.