Our annual AAO meeting returned to New Orleans this year, but the visit was longer than I’d like, having committed myself to three courses, two advisory boards, and a podium talk. So while I was unable to spend time with my family, I was determined to eat to my heart’s content at the very least. After an early morning flight and checking into my hotel, I quickly took a Lyft ride to Willie Mae’s Scotch House for fried chicken. Being solo, I skipped the line outside, but could hardly recognize the inside as the wait staff took my orders on fancy tablets with trendy music blasting in the background. The chicken was not as sublime as I remembered, but still hit the spot. After a Zeiss advisory board meeting, I joined Genentech folks for oysters Rockefeller and gumbo at Antoine’s, then shared sweetbreads and BBQ lobster with Duke co-fellows at Brennan’s. I didn’t recognize anyone at the Cornea Society party, so I called it an early night to make the 6am advisory board with Alimera the next morning. Afterwards, I stayed at the conference to check out portable fundus cameras before lunch at Cochon, where the fried alligator and pork cheek appetizers overshadowed the salty louisiana cochon entree. For dinner, I mooched off cajun-styled receptions with Allergan and MEEI, then socialized at the Beats by the Bayou party at House of Blues. On Sunday, I taught my laser retinopexy course, shared coffee and beignets with my fellow Parisa at Cafe du Monde, then joined my roommate Dan for a “Peacemaker” po-boy at Acme Oyster House, before returning to the conference to teach my OCT course. I filled up on Galatoire’s goute and shrimp etouffee on the way to our department reception, then socialized more at the YO party. With all the talking over loud music, I had to recover my voice on Monday. So after morning meetings with Iridex and Clearside, and lunch with UCD fellows over Mr. B’s BBQ shrimp, I relaxed in my hotel room until the CAOS dinner. Despite the high cost and bad food due to lack of corporate sponsorship, the event was well attended, and I got to sit next to Ralph Eagle and rub elbows with several Chinese-American leaders in our field. I was glad that my voice had recovered by Tuesday for my podium talk, although our inaugural intraoperative OCT course had fewer attendees than instructors. Nevertheless, I was just glad that the long trip was over, as I took my last bite of delicious gumbo and fried chicken from Dooky Chase before my flight home.

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