I was recently thrilled, honored, flattered and otherwise gratified to learn that I’ve been nominated for an Ashley Morris Award. I’m not worthy to actually win — besides which, the competition is far too stiff. But merely to be considered makes me feel warm and fuzzy.
The award is of course presented at the Rising Tide conference, of which I am a big fan. The upcoming Rising Tide V will mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina. I’ve been at each one since the first, and it’s gotten bigger and better each year. I’m sure this one will be the greatest yet. It may in fact be the pinnacle. It remains to be seen whether the spirit behind Rising Tide and other such post-Katrina endeavors will sustain past the five-year mark. Hopefully it will continue onward and upward in perpetuity, but only time will tell.
Most if not all of the people organizing Rising Tide are bloggers, but I wouldn’t describe it as a “blogger conference” per se. To think of it as such would miss the point. After all, anyone and everyone’s got a blog these days. What brings these people together, and what makes this special, is their passion for the city of New Orleans. That’s why the Ashley Morris award is given to someone who “embodies Ashley’s fierce passionate defense of New Orleans, its people and its culture.” Moreover, these are smart and engaged people, and that shows through in the quality of the programming.
Rising Tide is far from a dry, academic affair, but it does have a high level of intellectual vigor. I’d really hoped we could host this event here at the University, and I’d nearly managed to get it approved, but a scheduling conflict proved irresolvable. No matter. The Howlin’ Wolf will be a fine venue. If you are interested in the future of New Orleans, I hope to see you there.