Hey y’all I am late again here with the blog post, but I think I have a legitimate excuse this time.  I am currently sitting in Terminal C at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport….for the second time in two days!  More on that after….

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Citizen CPR Foundation ECCU Conference in New Orleans this past week.  This conference brings together all of the minds throughout the world that are trying to conquer the low survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest victims.  It was truly an honor to listen to the different research, the different survivor stories, the different support groups, and the direction we are headed to fight this cause!

Although I love what we are doing with In A Heartbeat and I believe we are contributing to the work being done, I know there is more we can do.  Following the conference, I reached out to some of the giants in this world of sudden cardiac arrest and CPR to find out how we can do more to help save lives…I am excited to get some feedback and to get back to work.

I even had a chance to speak at the conference twice.  I was able to tell my story while introducing a couple speakers in the main ballroom and I also was given 20 minutes to tell my story and talk about In A Heartbeat in a breakout session on Thursday.  It is always great to share my story with other survivors and other people who share the same passion I do for saving lives from sudden cardiac arrest.

On Thursday evening following the end of the conference hundreds of people (including myself) took part in a cold and rainy march through the city chanting CPR Saves Lives!  People were walking out of their hotels, restaurants, and bars to watch us march.

Although the conference took up the majority of my time, I did have the opportunity to explore the city.  I was fortunate to connect with a friend who lives down here and although we didn’t have a chance to meet up, he gave me his guide to the city including places to see, food to eat, and drinks to drink.  I have to say, the food in New Orleans is AWESOME.  Some of the best food I had was the famous Po-Boy which is basically your typical sandwich on French bread, but they are amazing.  I had a few of them with shrimp, oysters, alligator sausage, and chicken!  Alligator is a really popular dish down here as well and it is served a ton of different ways, but my favorite was alligator bites which almost taste like fried chicken.

I was lucky enough to have great seats to the Pelicans vs. Nuggets game at The Smoothie King Center on Wednesday night.  It is always crazy to see how big and athletic the guys in the NBA are.  Boogie Cousins had a monster game with 40 points and 22 rebounds.  I couldn’t believe how big and agile he is.

When talking about New Orleans I think the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is Bourbon Street.  I did have a chance to hang out on Bourbon Street and it definitely lived up to the hype.  There are more bars on Bourbon Street than imaginable.  You are allowed to carry your drinks out on the streets and it’s just packed with people.  The night we went, the first bar we ended up at was a placed called Spirits, which I didn’t realize at the time but was featured on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue, a show my brother got me into.  Needless to say, I had my fair share of Hurricanes that night.  That’s all I need to say about that!  Bourbon Street was definitely cool, but not sure you can spend more than a couple of nights there and survive!

On Friday, following the conference, I went to the airport ready to wrap up a great week and head home.  Not sure what you think of when it comes to the weather this time of year in New Orleans, but I completely misjudged it.  It was COLD and on Friday, it snowed.  Someone told me it was the first time they had snow since before Hurricane Katrina which was 2005.  Well, this didn’t go well with the flying situation down here.  They wouldn’t let any flights leave until the snow stopped and my flight back home got delayed….6 hours.  So I waited…and waited…and waited…and then they cancelled it!  And the next available flight was Sunday so I was sticking it out in The Big Easy for a couple more days.  There are probably a lot worse places to get stuck…

I got myself a hotel and relaxed for the night.  Saturday, I had another opportunity to see more of the city so I attended The National World War II Museum which was absolutely amazing.  I attended with some people I work with back in CT who also attended the conference.  We spent about 5 hours there and honestly didn’t even get half way through it.  There is so much to do and so much to read about.  This place was truly incredible.  I would suggest it to anyone who has any interest in history.

I may or may not have made it back to Bourbon Street after going to the museum…and here I am back in the airport again, definitely eager to get back home!

Thanks for reading…until next time NOLA!

You’re amazing