Mechacon is an anime convention that was held in Lafayette, Louisiana located within a driving time of two hours from both Houston and New Orleans. The convention is most famous for closing early enough to count as its year of operation hours after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. At that time, only about 750 attended and one guest made it to their flight. Each year, the attendee count would excel by 500 visitors, causing a slight squeeze in space for the old location at the Hilton. According to one staffer, it’s considered the largest area in space they have in the city. The convention made the big announcement to move to downtown New Orleans in 2010 and along with it, a huge success. Although they now regularly have the location in that city, it doesn’t stop hurricanes from visiting within the time frames of the convention dates. This year itself, Hurricane Issac has caused some trouble in the city a week ago but operations went to full schedule. Even though this hurricane had brought a week’s worth of inconvenience before MechaCon, this did not stop the increase of con goers from attending this local convention.
There’s something about the atmosphere of a small convention that brings plenty of cosplayers and con-goers together, especially in the lively city of New Orleans. MechaCon is nothing short of proving its worth in southern hospitality and humbleness. While the small atmosphere of a modest convention can be a bit of a culture shock to the few use to Fanime, Dragon*Con, and Anime Expo, it also proves the people you meet definitely make the con experience worthwhile.
The cosplays of this year were definitely the highlight of the convention, especially when it came to the cosplay contest. Between the effort, quality, and originality presented during the weekend, the cosplay scene of MechaCon is surely growing with talent and progression. While the exposure of this talent can be overlooked by such a small community, this convention is still establishing its roots as one of the bigger conventions in southern Louisiana, following along right after Wizard World Comic Con. From a cosplayer’s point of view, MechaCon is one of the better conventions to plan ahead of time for photoshoots and hanging out with friends rather than expecting too much action on the hallway floors. For the regular attendee, most of the action around this convention definitely revolved around the attractions of the dealer’s hall/artist alley, panels, and video rooms this year.
The dealer’s hall has always been the biggest guilty pleasure for my expenses. The selection of DVD’s, manga, and figurines has never been a disappointment, and the selection is always increasing. What really makes the most of this local convention is the involvement of local shops that are genuinely eager to participate. Unfortunately, there was a noticeably fewer amount of booths this year compared to last, and one of the most anticipated of exhibitors who often provided snacks and treats for con-goers was unable to arrive this year. The artist alley, while providing plenty of talent, was also smaller compared to last year as well. Although the dealer’s hall and artist alley were both very diminished compared to last year, it was still a great selection of con swag!
One thing that definitely makes MechaCon worthwhile is the gathering of people who rejoice and want to participate in making this convention a great one. The panels hosted by these fellow con-goers are definitely a prime example of this immense appreciation! Although it’s difficult to give credit to every single panel that occurred, the friendly atmosphere and the ecstatic enthusiasm of the hosts running various fan panels definitely ensured the humble outgoingness of MechaCon.
While comfortable and quaint, the selection of this year’s choice in video room material was quite impressive. There were plentiful varieties of anime this year, ranging from latest releases to some great classics. With the convention running for 24-hours, this also proved its convenience with the video room’s wider selection. On the downside, the size of the two rooms became a bit of a burden after a while, especially during later hours of the evening. This convention definitely proved its continuous improvement when it came to comfort and security for the attendees though.
Compared to most anime conventions in the south during summer, MechaCon’s recent set dates have been conflicting with school, hurricane season, and of this year, a football game that was occurring a few blocks from the hotel. Despite those setbacks, it didn’t stop people from enjoying themselves even though it was a little more to bear with due to the mixed crowd. Future schedules for the next two years are looking reasonable with the possibilities of giving a variety in attendees and expansion of visitors. With its thriving location, there is definite hope that MechaCon can surely grow from being the local anime convention in Louisiana to one of the biggest in the south eastern side of the states.