OK, you guys will be heading out in around 36 hours. And there are probably labs, papers, and exams to complete, clothes and bedding to pack, and last minute questions. At this point, I can’t help with the first two, but I’ll see what I can do to help with the questions.

Jackson Square, March 2010.

Well, one of your first concerns is geography. You’ve got a 1500 mile drive ahead of you. What route are we following? Where are we going to be? I suspect most of you will be taking the western route, following I-81 from Pennsylvania, through Virginia and into Tennessee. It’s not terribly exciting, but neither is sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic in a major metropolitan area.  Google Maps will help you visualize what you are going to be up to.

Once you get to New Orleans, Kyle found a couple of maps that will be helpful.  Check here for a New Orleans Street Map. It covers most of the metropolitan area, but cuts off Marrero, where we will be staying. You’ll have to go to Google Maps for that. And for the French Quarter, Central Business District, and contiguous areas see this Map of Downtown New Orleans.

As you pack, I’m sure you are curious about the weather. I’ve looked at a number of sites and it looks as though we’ll be experiencing typical March weather. Highs in the low to mid 70s, with nights in the 50s. But if you don’t trust me, you can check out: the Weather Channel and National Weather Service.

We have a lot planned for the week, but if you want good sightseeing and tourist information, you can go to New Orleans Online. It is geared towards tourists, but this site contains some interesting pages on everything from New Orleans history and culture to information on gay nightlife.

And if you want to see what’s happening in New Orleans, you can check out news and events at what I consider the three best sites: Times-Picayune (nola.com) , Gambit (bestofneworleans.com), and Offbeat Magazine online. You can get all of the current news, culture, etc. that you’ll need during your stay in New Orleans.

And finally, if you’re into music, New Orleans is the Holy Grail. And the best place for music is New Orleans’ Jazz and Heritage Station, WWOZ. Great interface for listening to the station online. And for the most complete listing of musical happenings in-town, check out the WWOZ Livewire.

But, regardless of what you do and learn and accomplish in the meantime, I’ll see you in New Orleans on Saturday!