I’m not much of a morning person. It isn’t so much that I don’t enjoy the morning–in fact, I’m quite chipper and talkative. But I don’t like rushing. So when I discovered that my panel for the American Comparative Literature Association met at 8 in the morning at the Hotel Monteleone, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I was not a happy camper. A friend asked it I’d at least drive since it was so early. Ha! Early is even better for biking, especially when spending the day in the French Quarter. So Friday morning, I jumped out of bed and sped downtown, intent on getting there in time for free breakfast and one of the few signs suitable for a bike rack (why can’t they put some bike racks in that hood?). They had beignets. Of course. Most folks were in from out of town, and what’s more New Orleans than beignets? I loved seeing them all piled up in these silver serving dishes, tuxedo-clad folks freshening the pile. It is interesting to see what sort of New Orleans is on display for different groups of visitors. This was a smart, serious, intellectual crowd, and sugary fried dough might not be the New Orleans they came to see, but you can’t really turn away from the beignet. I wondered what other New Orleans these folks would find in a brief weekend, especially without bikes. Staying in the Quarter can lead folks to think that’s the whole city, that we are all put together charm. We’re not. We are still a mess in so many ways. But this morning, I piled a few beignets on a napkin, went to my panel, and was glad I had some biking to do afterward to work out that fried dough. All you can eat beignets spells trouble for me, but the good kind of trouble.