New Orleans Science-Fantasy Society late 1940s - mid 1950s
New Orleans Science Fiction Association 1967 - ????
Sons of the Sand 1972 - ????
Clubs currently meeting
Krewe du Who Since 2011
Krewe of the Enterprise Since ????
Area 504 formerly Babylon 504 since 1996
Rebecca Smith's 20130722 post re: Clubs and Cons
Sent: Mon, Jul 22, 2013 10:04 PM PDT
Subject: [SouthernFandomClassic] Re: SFC Handbook: Help!
Mike, thanks for incidentally reminding me that I promised to send you a write-up on New Orleans fandom and then totally forgot about it. If I sat down to write up something that truly did justice to the history of NOLA fandom in my lifetime, then I'd be spending so long writing it that you might never get it. I'll try to be succinct and relevant by expanding on an earlier post I made to the group in reference to another question.
Our largest general science fiction club in the NOLA area is Area 504, of which
Rebecca Smith is "Captain." We have monthly meetings and a variety of other activities,
like parties, pub crawls, book discussions, movie nights etc… and frequently
throw room parties at cons and/or host panels. The only regional con we don't
throw a party at is CONtraflow because so many of us work for the con that we
don't have enough folk left to staff one. Instead we sponsor a cocktail party in the consuite on Friday night. We were founded in April of 1996 as "Babylon 504," a Babylon 5 fan club and re-tooled as a general s-f club in 2002.
For trekkies, there are two options, the home-grown KOTE (Krewe of the
Enterprise) founded in 1986 and the local chapter of Star Fleet International,
the USS New Orleans, which started up 2 years ago. The main contacts for KOTE are David and Janice Liang and the Captain of the local SFI chapter is Randolph Allen.
For costumers, there's a local chapter of the 501st Legion, The Bast Alpha
Garrison, and a couple of local Steampunk groups, like Steampunk Americans in
New Orleans and Ironclad Cairo out of Slidell (a far eastern suburb of New
New Orleans was the center of a national Doctor Who fan club, The Companions of
Doctor Who, in the 1980's. The revival of the show has sparked a renewal of
Doctor Who fandom here in the form of the Krewe du Who (you may be noticing a
pattern here), who are also a sub-krewe that parades with the Krewe of
Chewbacchus, an all-sci-fi-themed marching krewe, two weeks before Mardi Gras
annually. Their main organizer is Paul Patecek.
Chewbacchus is a little difficult to describe for outsiders. It's a Mardi Gras krewe, not really a fan club. There is an overall organization that makes sure that they can put on a parade (this involves permitting and arrangements with law enforcement as well as adhering to certain established carnival traditions) but most of the krewe members belong to sub-krewes which are self-governed if they are governed at all. One is also free though to just pay ones parading fee and show up the day of the parade. Whatever. Yes, they throw things. All parades in New Orleans throw things at you, even ones for St Patrick's Day and Easter.
There are several conventions happening annually in New Orleans. We have one general science-fiction convention, CONtraflow, held every October in the Kenner suburb of New Orleans since 2011. It's kind of an old-fashioned con with a little bit of everything, concentrating on literature, but there's also an emphasis on parties and socializing. They can be found at CONtraflowscifi.org
Out largest convention is the anime con Mechacon, which was held in Lafayette, LA from 2005-2009 and moved to New Orleans in 2010 because Lafayette's largest venue could no longer contain them. It's held in August in downtown New Orleans and you can find them at mechacon.org
Bayou Wars, an all gaming convention also held in Kenner is, in 2013, in its 21st year. When I say "all gaming" I mean it. If you're not interested in gaming you probably have no reason to go. Information on them can be found at Bayouwars.org
A non-fannish, war-gaming convention called Heat of Battle is held annually in August at the National World War II museum in downtown New Orleans. It's strictly for historical war games, but is attended by many fannish gamers. The museum's web address is nationalww2museum.org As a bonus though, the museum has a John Besh restaurant on site, The American Sector, which has been the object of most of my visits there.
I suppose that I should mention that Wizard World has been bringing their show to New Orleans for about 3 years new, usually in January or February at the Morial Convention Center downtown. This is not a fan-run enterprise, but a branch of the Wizard World media shows held in a number of cities, kind of like the Applebees of cons.
There is also a home-grown comic convention, the NOLA Comic Con, organized by the owner of Media Underground comics in New Orleans. It's been held annually in May since 2011. The best way to find information on them is via Facebook.
Krewe du Who, the above-mentioned, local Doctor Who club, held their first one-day convention June 29, 2013 in New Orleans' Metairie suburb. It was very well-attended and by all accounts a success. This may develop into something larger in the future.
Rebecca A Smith