Imagine you’re hanging out in Vegas during Tableau Conference 2017, soaking in every last minute of the excitement of conference week. Imagine you’re maybe a little sleepy…it has been quite a week, after all. Then imagine, if you can, that you find out the news: TC18 is going to be in your home state. Your favorite place on the planet. Your all-time-favorite-I-don’t-think-my-smile-could-be-any-bigger HOME!
Not a coincidence that #data18 announces NOLA on #NationalGumboDay. This Louisiana girl is so damn excited! ⚜️💛💚💜⚜️Thank you @tableau!
— KatieFontenotWagner (@ktfontnowagner) October 12, 2017
When the location of TC18 was announced, I was almost speechless. I could not believe I was going to get to pair two of my very favorite things—Tableau and Louisiana. As a proud Cajun, I spent most of my life in the state. I cook my own gumbo, listen to music with lots of accordion and will argue about who makes the best king cake. I treasure every single minute that I get to spend visiting my home. On that same note, Tableau has been a gigantic part of my life for the past five years. I’m the lady who’s constantly thinking of ways to viz everyday things in life. I’ve even made a database of our spice cabinet (yeah…I’m THAT chick).
A Lifetime of Louisiana Love
Now, in all fairness, I didn’t grow up in New Orleans. To be more specific, I grew up where Tableau places the dot for Louisiana (in the center, in case you don’t look at US data often). Since my hometown was about a 3-hour drive from NOLA, I only visited a few times as a kid. As an adult, I’ve spent some time there visiting friends, hanging out for bachelorette parties and, even though it was painful, watching the 2012 BCS National Championship. Every time I visit, I learn more about the culture-rich opportunities New Orleans provides. I’ve had drinks at The Carousel Bar, taken a beautiful stroll through Louis Armstrong Park and even joined a few second line parades. I wanted to share those experiences with you, the attendees of TC18. I wanted to give, as we say in Louisiana, a little lagniappe—a little extra—to make your trip unforgettable!
Lagniappe from Locals
About ten months ago, I started asking friends and family what they loved most about New Orleans. I pestered grad school friends, reached out on Facebook and even pulled up old photos of my trips. It was incredibly important to me that the list of recommendations come from locals only (no Yelp or TripAdvisor here). I’d ask things like, “If you could share ONE piece of NOLA with a visitor, what would it be?” My friend Christine had an amazing resource she helped to compile with her friends from Tales of the Cocktail. Through time, patience and even a bit of strong language, the final dataset consisted of 185 locations deemed worthy of visiting. That number alone speaks to the wonders of New Orleans.
While not all 185 locations made it into the final viz, I combed through and painstakingly picked out the ones I felt were most special. I imagine attendees thinking, “I want to try something new tonight” and viewing the mobile application to get ideas. I imagine team members planning happy hours or group dinners, looking for the best of NOLA. I imagine friends meeting up for an evening of live music or breakfast (with chicory coffee, of course). These things make me smile. I hope that the experience of visiting Louisiana brings as much joy to all of your lives as it always brings to mine.