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Old 03-30-2008, 11:18 PM   #1
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Default OT - New Orleans travel advice

I asked for advice for visiting in New Orleans in one of the dailies but can't find it, so I'm asking again.

Tom and I are talking about going to New Orleans overnight the weekend I go down there alone, either Friday to Saturday or Saturday to Sunday. I've always wanted to go see New Orleans but NOT during Mardi Gras, so I figured May should be as nice a time as any. What would you go see if you were going for the day? Where would you stay? We're big into bed and breakfasts and historical inns with lots of character. The budget is pretty loose, although we don't have a terrible amount to spend. We'd like something nice, romantic, quiet, tasteful. I want it to be a fun trip - not a packed itinerary, but with a couple good, solid sights to see. We'll be driving from the panhandle of Florida so it'll be a couple hours travelling on either end of the trip.

Thanks for any ideas!

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Old 03-31-2008, 07:33 AM   #2
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A couple of days..hmmm. Well, the must sees I guess are the French Quarter (be sure and see the cathedral and cabildo and maybe the historic New Orleans collection) Then a drive down St. Charles Ave and shopping on Magazine street...then if you have time, out to the lake front. I've stayed at Degas House (owned by Degas' brother) The Estelle room is very nice/romantic. I've also stayed at a B and B in The Marigny which was great, but I don't think it's open since the storm. You may also want to drive around outside of the quarter to the areas that "it" destroyed. But, things are coming back, although very slowly.

You have to have a bloody mary at the Chartres House Cafe (it was my GGGGrandfather's house in town) If you go, remind them that is name was Jose, not Joseph...I tease them about that every time I go there. The food is very good too. PM me and I'll give you my # so you can call if you want and maybe we can have a drink or dinner/lunch together if I can get away from work....there is so much to see.
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Old 03-31-2008, 08:53 AM   #3
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Oops, I must've missed that! My brother and his wife have been to New Orleans twice and are going again in June. I'll see him today so I'll ask him what they like to do. I know they like to stay in the French Quarter because it's walking distance to a lot of the things they like. I'll take a look on my site and see what the hotels are like and read reviews to see if there's anything that sounds like you'd enjoy it.

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Old 03-31-2008, 05:32 PM   #4
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Well, what the heck was I thinking? My brother (and his wife) are both Davises, and can't remember crap. They both know lovely restaurants and places they like to go, they just don't know what they're called. For example, there's a nice restaurant on Bourbon St that has great seafood and creole food, not too expensive, but seems "hoity-toity" (Dingus' words) and is just lovely. However, he has no idea what it's called. I'll do some research and see what else I can come up with, hotel-wise and things to do!
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Old 03-31-2008, 06:06 PM   #5
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Lisa, that is just so funny!

Cat, I knew I was opening a can of beans here. It's like when people come visit us and want to "do" Philadelphia, Baltimore, D.C., and New York in one weekend. What?! I know we won't get to see nearly a fraction of everything, but this is a good opportunity to be able to see *something*. We can always go back!

Thanks for the recommendations! Keep 'em comin'!!

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Old 03-31-2008, 09:16 PM   #6
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We spent a few days in NO prior to Katrina. We stayed in the Garden District less than half a block from Charles St and were able to catch the Streetcar in to the French Quarter by walking about 30 seconds. It was nice and quiet in the evenings at the B&B and lively and loud in the Quarter. I thought the cathedral was lovely. I love just walking around and seeing all the architecture. One thing I wanted to do that we didn't-- due to very rainy weather --was a graveyard tour. It seemed quite interesting.
We ate at one of Emeril's restaurants and although it was delicious, next time I would try to find something more local.
We went to a jazz club in the quarter that had a German name....I can't recall at this moment. Fritzels maybe?
That was it for us.
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Old 04-01-2008, 06:00 AM   #7
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Kara, as far as restaurants in the quarter, I would definately recommend Murials. It is right next to the cabildo which is next to the Cathedral. Great food. Another is GW Finns for seafood. Breakfast at Brennans is also a real treat and of course there is the EXTREMELY fine dining places for dinner like Antoines and Galatours. For fun/dancing Mulattes is great (cajun dancing although New Orleans is NOT a cajun city...Mulattes originated in Lafayette. but if you go there, do NOT get the food...it is horrid...eat before hand) Another great place for jazz is Donna's. (ok, it's another ancestor's house!) The two ancestors I mentioned before had a "relationship"...nuff said. I'll tell you the whole story if you visit either house...tres New Orleans.

Karla, maybe it's a good thing you didn't go on that cemetery tour...they can be dangerous. The only day they are REALLY safe to visit is feast of all saints day when they are crawling with police. The ones closest to the quarter are in not so safe neighborhoods. Kara, if you want to see a cemetery that is safe, you will have to go down Canal street to Greenwood . You will be safe in the quarter, just do not venture outside of the quarter on foot. (and don't go strolling around at night on streets that don't have people on them) Don't want to scare you, but some of the "bad" neighborhoods are surrounding the quarter. Tourists rarely have any problems if they stay where the "crowds" are...just like any other big city. You just don't want to wander into a neighborhood that has drug problems where bad things happen.

Oh, and if someone comes up to you and says "I'll be you 10 dollars I know where you got them shoes"...roll you eyes and walk away. It's a little trick idiots play on tourists. You will find MOST locals very helpful and gracious and we LOVE having company.
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:41 AM   #8
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What's the draw of the cemeteries?

We're not huge jazz fans. I know...so unrefined...don't mean to offend anyone.

Cat, I booked a room at the Degas House already! It looks just gorgeous, and I love Impressionist work. I had no idea he lived in New Orleans for a year!

Thanks again for the continued recommendations. Tom's been twice, once during Mardi Gras, and he took his dad and step-mom when they came to visit him in Mississippi, but I've never been so I'm really excited. I have no idea what to expect!

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Old 04-01-2008, 11:26 AM   #9
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Are you going to "earn" your beads?

Watch out for those slurpee stands on each corner in the quarter or you will find yourself earning your beads even if you had no intention of doing so!
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Old 04-01-2008, 11:47 AM   #10
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Kara, everyone here is buried above ground because of being below sea level. In the early 1700's there was a cemetery smack in the middle of what is now the French Quarter. Well, let's just say "you can't keep a good man down" and folks started to kind of "pop up". Not pretty. Since then all of our cememterys are above ground tombs and also there are walls of vaults.
Here...take a quick tour Many of the tombs are over 200 years old...great iron work etc.

Families have had tombs for generations. When someone new needs to be added, then the bones that are already in there are moved to smaller boxes at the bottom of the tomb and the "new guy" is then added. Weird story. My Great Grandmother died in 1912 and she is still "there". When someone in the family dies, they have to put a few boxwood plants in there so no one can see her. She was the first woman pharmacist in New Orleans so we thought that perhaps from her compounding chemicals that's what caused it. But later found out that is common IF it is hot and dry. On Feast of All Saints day, that's when everyone goes to the cemeteries and cleans up, brings flowers to everyone and sometime even parties. A few years ago we were at St. Louis #1 on FOAS and Ernie K'Do's wife was having a party for him in front of his tomb (He's the guy who sang "Mother in Law".) She had gumbo, wine etc and we had a great time. Our dead just love a party!
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Old 04-01-2008, 12:18 PM   #11
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Thanks for the story, Cat! What an interesting connundrum about your great grandmother! I remember you telling the story about being at the cemetary back in the fall and I did not at all understand what was going on at the time, but never ended up asking. Now I have a great picture! Thanks also for posting that link - what beautiful tombs! (Can you use "beautiful" to describe tombs?) I read on about.com about a group called Save Our Cemeteries that does tours. Have you ever heard of them?

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Old 04-01-2008, 12:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyDogMom View Post
Are you going to "earn" your beads?

Watch out for those slurpee stands on each corner in the quarter or you will find yourself earning your beads even if you had no intention of doing so!
I didn't know there was the chance to "earn" beads outside of Mardi Gras. I will remain decidedly clothed (when we're in public, at least ) but thanks for the warning on the slurpee stands. Do you mean 7-11 style slurpees? I avoid those at all cost - brain freeze - so maybe those stands will be easily sidestepped.

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Old 04-01-2008, 12:42 PM   #13
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the "slurpee's" I refer to are not truly slurpee's, they are frozen drinks of all sorts of flavors with the alcohol already mixed in, like margharita machines. Some of the flavors were quite good, my favorite was banana. It wasn't too sweet and tasted like it had real bananas in it. I just found it amazing that these frozen drink stands seemed to be on so many corners and with such a variety of flavors. Brain freeze lessens in direct reverse proportion to the number and size of those frozen wonder cups!
There were quite a number of bead "earners" on the streets even mid-week, in the rain and no where close to Mardi Gras. I think we were there in early October...it might have been Sept.
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Old 04-01-2008, 12:49 PM   #14
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Good Idea, Kara...I mean wearing the clothing. That's a great way to be arrested! That "flash for beads" thing is a revolting degrading "custom" that was introduced by drunken visiting college students. It is barely tolertated by police/locals during Mardi Gras, but very much frowned down upon. I put custom in quotes because it is not something that is a "real" custom, but none the less people think it's something that is ok to do although it is not. It is no more ok than tourists coming to town, getting drunk and throwing up in the street or "tinkleing" on the sides of buildings. The media has made this into a "tradition" and it's not. It has nothing to do with what New Orleans is. The quarter is an actual neighborhood where people actually live (with children) I often wonder how tourists would feel if someone visited THEIR neighborhood, flashed their boobs, whizzed on the sides of houses and threw up on their front lawn. No difference. Revolting.

The ONLY reason it is (barely) tolerated during Mardi Gras is because it is done by tourists and they bring in the bucks. Unfortuneatly it has ruined the family tradition of bringing kids to town for Mardi Gras...so now the locals for the most part stay away from the quarter area during that time.

Honestly, it makes locals VERY sad when people think that all N.O. is about is people getting drunk and acting like idiots, when the most important things to us are the history, architecture, food and people.

Ok, off my soapbox!!

Oh and yep on Save Our Cemeteries...they do great work.
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:47 PM   #15
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I promise I won't vomit or pee on anyone's property!

Seriously, though, that's why I've always wanted to visit during a more subdued time of year. I couldn't imagine that Mardi Gras is what New Orleans is all about, but "the idiots" do take center stage, don't they?

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