Big Easy Con 2019 opened its doors to New Orleans for the first time this weekend. Setting up shop in the Ernest C. Morial Convention Center, its host, LeftField Media, promised a weekend of fun, pop-culture events for fans of all ages.
Spanning from Nov. 1st. to Nov. 3rd, Big Easy Con held panels ranging a variety of topics from Marvel vs. D.C., to learning how to survive the zombie apocalypse with “The Walking Dead” stars like Dan Fogler. Fans had the chance to meet other celebrities, too, such as Zachary Levi, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and cast members from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbachus held a ceremonial march commemorating the late actor Peter Mayhew who played the Mighty Chewbacca, whom their parade pays homage to.
Entering the convention, I saw similar rows of vendor booths, selling patches, pins, toys, and comics, as well as many of the usual Louisiana geek community faces and organizations. As a New Orleans local, coming to conventions like these is kind of like visiting your favorite club or cafe. The venue changes from convention to convention, of course, but you happily run into the same groups with who you become more familiar with as each convention goes by. Walking up and down the rows, it seemed like I was running into at least one person I knew on every row.
One of the panels I got to see was a discussion comparing the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the D.C. Extended Universe. On the panel were a number of local New Orleans celebrities like Little Red Fox Cosplay, and Brian Held, and Skungy Scontrino from The Week in Geek Radio Show. While the majority of the fans in the audience (myself included) preferred Marvel to D.C., we had a strong discussion on the differences between a cohesive story like in the M.C.U., and individual “verses” that don’t rely on each other and can stand alone like in the D.C.E.U.. Shortly after this panel, I got to sit down at the +1 Gaming and play a short Dungeons and Dragons campaign that was only supposed to last two hours. Four hours later, I was still playing my barbarian and slicing a goblin in half with my axe while saving a bard pop-star from a portal into the netherworld.
“I had so much fun hanging out with friends and cosplaying together.,” says U.N.O. Theatre Major Will Leonard. “The con was pretty good for its first year, especially with the scheduling trouble. Definitely room for improvement, but I’m hopeful for its future.” Putting a con like this together isn’t easy, and can often lose sight of its goal; offering a positive experience for fans like Will.
“We have always said we want to put on a fan first event,” says Ron Brister, showrunner for Big Easy Con. “We always ask ‘How does this provide a positive experience for the fan?’ We’re fans too and want to put on the type of events that we’d like to attend. I’m also from Louisiana, so it’s nice to do what I love at home!