Life on Tour, Day 5: WHY OH WHY???

Dear American Library Association–

We have been friends for a while now, so I feel like we can be honest with each other. Remember when you told me I don’t look good in capri pants? And I listened to you because I know you only told me out of love, not jealousy over my (still-fabulously toned, BTW) calves? Well, it’s with that same spirit that I tell you this:

What the heck were you thinking? NEW ORLEANS? In the SUMMER? Did you not get the memo that the whole city is EIGHT FEET BELOW SEA LEVEL AND IS BASICALLY A DRAINED SWAMP??? Did you not see that its climate is listed as “subtropical,” which means that the humidity makes it pretty much like WALKING ON THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN NEAR AN ACTIVELY VENTING VOLCANO, only the steaming hot water is the sweat pouring from your skin?

It’s enough to prematurely deafen a clown fish!

I gotta ask: have you not met your members, of which I consider myself an honorary hanger-on? We are not women who welcome going from a chilled convention center or hotel into the blazing thirty billion degree heat an average of six times a day. We know what a hot flash is, thank you very much. And our male colleagues are not the sort who wear wife-beaters and flip flops to fight the crushing heat. These are learned men who prefer sports coats and the dapper attire befitting their myriad literary interests. Don’t believe what you see on TV. A button-down polo shirt is still hot if you are standing in the part of hell that even Dante wouldn’t write about.

Lookit, I’m from Atlanta. I’m used to the heat, but we travel in air-conditioned tubes like God intended. I spend an average of thirty-eight seconds a day outdoors during the summer. This is not walking weather here in New Orleans. This is passing out weather. This is, “I just took a shower and now I have to take six more so I don’t offend strangers on the elevator” weather. This, in short, is torture weather, which, last I checked, was outlawed by the Geneva Convention (in the “weather, hell-fire” section) which I’m pretty sure you have a copy of in your local library, because that is just the sort of thing that libraries have.

Two words: Nova Scotia. I hear it is lovely this time of year.

I will have a blog on my excellent ALA events tomorrow night, but for now–

Why, American Library Association? WHY?

Your humble servant

Karin Slaughter About Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of eleven thrillers, including Broken, Undone, Fractured, Beyond Reach, Triptych, and Faithless. She is a native of Georgia. To help spread the word about the needs for community support for public libraries, Karin has spearheaded, with a pilot event that raised over $50,000 for the DeKalb County (GA) Public Library system. This initial event served as pilot program to make it repeatable at other libraries with minimal amount of staff planning time and administrative investment. This summer, she will embark on a national book tour, visiting libraries across the country with her her newest novel, FALLEN.


  1. Oh, that’s it! You’re a genius! Yes, New Orleans, like most of America, is hot in the summer. And all New Orleans has going for it is the culture, music and jazz, cuisine, architecture, street life, party atmosphere, festivals, friendliest locals imaginable, the delta, the Mississippi, unique hotels, bar culture, bars, yet more bars, a lack of inhibitions, cafe scene, St Louis cathedral, the markets, steamboats, European influence, the cemeteries, swamps and foilage, the unique shops, and a population grateful that after being blasted by a hurricane, when the government failed them and other Americans stayed away, the librarians came – and kept coming back – to support and put money into a city that’s still recovering.

    Yes, of course; in comparison, ALA should have happened on a rock in the Atlantic instead. Doh!

  2. Jessica says:

    I’m at ALA now, and I LOVE being in New Orleans. I’ve walked around the city on average of 2 or 3 hours a day, and while, yes, it is hot, I can’t say it’s dimished my enjoyment of this amazing city in the least. If it were up to me, ALA would have its convention here every year.

  3. Steve Cramer says:

    Karin, on behalf of male librarians everywhere, thank you for the compliments on our conference attire!
    p.s. yes, Halifax is great, my wife and I would love to go back.

  4. Lynn says:

    Karin – you made me laugh so hard just now that it made people turn around and look. Heck to the yeah! New Orleans is hot in the winter! I was there once in the fall and had sweat pouring down my face and it was raining.

    Love it there though anyway. :)

  5. Andromeda says:

    Alright, John, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have they ever done for us? ;)

  6. I have to say that I agree with Jessica. I absolutely loved New Orleans as a venue and could not have been more pleased with the welcoming atmosphere, vibrant city life, wonderful food, and yes – even the weather. I wish I could have stayed longer!

  7. Loved it, Karin! And, tonight you’re in Arizona in our 110 degrees or so. So, which do you prefer, the humidity or our “dry heat?”

  8. catherine says:

    Thanks. Now I feel a smidgen better about not being able to attend.

  9. Michelle says:

    I’m sure what Karin meant to say, was that New Orleans ROCKS in a major way…it just would have rocked a little more in, say, March or April. And I’m sure she would have said that herself, but she was really busy being FUNNY !!! Karin, I hear you. Even over the peals of my commiserating laughter, and the noise from my hastily constructed paper fan.

  10. Jennifer says:

    Actually, what struck me was how much cooler it felt in New Orleans than at home in Dallas. And I really like the fact that I didn’t spend one minute of conference time sitting in traffic (Chicao, take note!) I say, give me The Big Easy for ALA every year!

  11. Brian says:

    What you said about New Orleans being a drained swamp could describe Washington, D.C. just as easily. The day I arrived at my hotel in D.C. for Annual 2010, I was a mass of sweat. Thank goodness the hotel reception desk had a pitcher of cold water! And I’m from Florida, so we really know summer heat.

    But that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of Washington (or New Orleans) just as transportation logistics don’t lessen my enjoyment of Chicago. If you’re in cities with a lot to offer, those are minor annoyances.

  12. Lori says:

    I agree that ALA could give weather a higher priority in their selection of sites. I see in 2013 midwinter will be in Seattle. Maybe that would have been a better city for annual in the summer, and maybe New Orleans would have been a better choice for midwinter!

  13. Nicole says:

    As an upper Midwesterner, I swore I wouldn’t complain about heat after last winter (the one that went on for at least six months — remember?). So I refused to complain about the New Orleans heat. I accepted that I would be quite damp and maybe smelly (and that I’d be around people with the same … problem) and that I should plan to move as slowly as reasonable, and take cool-space breaks as often as necessary. I still spent hours outside and loved it! I do have to say, though, Karin’s article was a hoot!