Mike Willmoth (mwillmoth) wrote,
Mike Willmoth
mwillmoth

Trip 2015-09 to 2015-10 Contraflow 5 / DeepSouthCon 53

Trip 2015-09 to 2015-10 Review

Once Sasquan (Worldcon 2015) was over I was asked to attend Contraflow 5 / DeepSouthCon 53 in New Orleans, LA. I had been helping the New Orleans In 2018 Worldcon Bid with their hotel contract negotiations and when they asked me to come out I asked them if this meant I'd be considered for Facilities Division Head should they win. They said yes, so I planned our driving trip from Phoenix to NoLa. We took 3 days to drive out, departing on Tue Sep 29 and arriving on Thu Oct 1, 2015. Our intermediate stops were in El Paso, TX (about 400 miles east of Phoenix) and San Antonio, TX (about 540 miles east of El Paso); New Orleans is about the same distance east of San Antonio as SA is from EP. We arrived late at night, got checked in, unloaded the van and crashed. The con hotel was the Hilton Airport New Orleans.

Friday morning I went downstairs to purchase our memberships at Registration, wandered around the first floor reviewing the function space and looking for our bid fan table. They had multiple Event Rooms, multiple Panel Rooms, a Dealers Room, Art Show, Gaming Room, Hospitality Room, Video Room and Operations Room. One of the event rooms was down a long hallway from the hotel front desk, so it was pretty isolated. The rest of them were down several corridors that only interconnected in one place. That's where they installed a three-grid kiosk for signage like Free Parking and If You Need To Contact Security. The fan tables were in the southeast corridor near Hospitality. Gaming and Dealers were near Fan Tables with Art Show in the south middle of the hotel. The rest were in the western half of the space and a few other tables were along the two corridors near these rooms. I contacted one of the Bid Co-Chairs about our plan and she hadn't conversed with the other BCC to come up with one, so we winged it. I spent some of my time in the afternoon at the table telling folks about the bid. San Juan in 2017 NASFiC Bid was next to us as was our competitor, San Jose in 2018 Worldcon Bid. Being DeepSouthCon we had many Worldcon fans attending and some helping these bids. However, in between getting our memberships and doing table time I transferred downtown to the Hyatt Regency Hotel to meet with our Hotel Sales Rep there as well as the CVB Sales Rep. Our BCC from Albany was there and we toured the entire hotel, had lunch offsite, and I began the slow process of describing Worldcon to them with its needs and intricacies. Once done it was clear that the hotel would support a Worldcon and with the attached overflow hotel next door (an office building being remodeled into a hotel) we'd have enough sleeping rooms to handle most of the peak nights. So fan table duty came upon my return and after dinner I hit the few parties that were going on. I got in a bit of online time and crashed for the evening.

Saturday I put in some table time, did lunch offsite, and set up a tour of the Hyatt for the Worldcon fans expressing interest. I finally reached our HSR and she told me when she could be there. I notified the group and off we went when it was time to go. HSR gave us a similar tour to what I had seen on Friday, they asked questions, and some stayed behind to do the French Quarter while others came back to the airport hotel. After dinner with local friends offsite I helped run the NOin18 bid party. Greeted folks, told them about our facility, our team, and our plans to bring Worldcon back to New Orleans after almost 30 years! I left the party around midnight and went horizontal.

Sunday was more table time, lunch, final table time, dinner offsite again, then back to mull-linger-chat with remaining fans. I discussed the bid with locals and some bid team members before getting online and shutting down for the evening.

Monday we packed up the van, checked out of the hotel, took some bid supplies with us to help promote things in Los Angeles at LosCon in November, grabbed lunch and hit the road. We discovered an excellent steakhouse in Houston near the freeway, so did dinner there. Stayed overnight again in San Antonio, then Tuesday headed to El Paso again. Stayed there overnight once more, finally returning home on Wednesday. I put the bid stuff in a storage building for easy future access, unpacked the van, and got back to normal life in Arizona.

Some fans were surprised to learn that I was involved with the New Orleans bid considering that San Jose is closer. As I told those who asked why, New Orleans in 2018 Worldcon Bid needed help and they asked me first. Besides, our first Worldcon was in New Orleans in 1988 (NoLaCon II). So I also saw it as full circle. Additionally, on a personal level, NO hadn't had one in almost 30 years while SJ had last had one in 2002. I was on staff for them as Science Program Liaison and enjoyed the experience, so I had nothing against them. But SJ's team was fairly experienced with Worldcon and NO's team wasn't. At the time I had no idea how involved I would be in the NOin18 Bid though.
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