I finished up a project this afternoon, so I gave myself the night off to do whatever I pleased. I saw crowds of teens in the Quarter yesterday and found out later they were some of the 35,000 people in town for ECLA, the Lutheran youth gathering. I love a crowd I’ve got nothing to do with, so I decided to hop on my bike and head down to the convention center to see what all these teenagers were up to. I got there after 5:00, so the day’s events were mostly over. It was T-shirt distribution time, and clumps of tow-headed Midwestern teens were impatiently waiting, by way of UNO (the card game, not the local university), texting, and Italian-ice-eating, for the chaperones to come back with the goods. Yeah, it was pretty much like any teen summer camp/class trip scenario, except bigger. Groups were filing out to head over to the Superdome for the first mass meeting, so I got back on the bike and tooled down Poydras to see if I might sneak my way in. I’ve definitely got the Lutheran Youth look, so I waited in line, figuring I’d blend right in and get to hang on the floor of the Superdome with the kiddos. But alas, you needed a wristband to get in, so I was turned away. I took this picture of kids lined up to get in to the Dome as I walked back to my bike, even though it still doesn’t give a sense of the sheer mass of this crowd. There were evangelical Lutherans everywhere. In fact, I almost hit several on my ride home from the coffee shop tonight. I will watch my pedals for the weekend, and I hope the kids stay out of trouble and get what they’ve come for, and that New Orleans benefits from their service activities.