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Trip Report Long Weekend in New Orleans - Trip Report

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Our little tribe was planning a trip to Vancouver, Canada. Unfortunately, airfares out of our local airport were really high, and the times were not ideal. We decided to start our trip, then, with a quick, fun weekend in NOLA, and then fly out of the NOLA airport. Read on for our adventures!

We stayed at the Omni Royal, a stately hotel in the Quarter. It's a lovely hotel in a fabulous location. (Be warned, though - parking in the French Quarter is a bit of a sticker shock. Estimate in the $30-$40 range per night. And that's on top of your routine hotel charge and taxes.)

That first night, we took a dinner cruise on the Steamboat Natchez. It had been YEARS since I'd been on a steamboat on the Mississippi River, having taken the Creole Queen to the Audubon Zoo as a child. It was so much fun!! We got there early and had our very filling and yummy dinner in the dining area. Then, we were free to enjoy the ship! We checked out the big, beautiful paddle wheel in the back, then explored the engine room to learn how the boat was powered. After that, we drank in the breeze on the front of the ship, later retiring to the top deck for live music as the sun set and the lights of New Orleans came on. Also on our cruise was a choir from Georgia. When the band took a break, they serenaded us with "What a Wonderful World." Magical!

Then, it was off to bed! The pillows were soft, and the blackout curtains were effective.

We awoke late the next morning and ambled to Stanley, in Jackson Square, for an indulgent brunch. I had a biscuit benedict, and it was delicious! Afterward, we made our way down the Riverfront to Mardi Gras World. (Note - This walk is a bit of a hoof, but it was such a gorgeous day! At the very end, you'll wonder if you've gone astray, as the RiverWalk peters out and you are in an industrial area. Don't fear. You're only a block or two away at that point.) At Mardi Gras World, you can view parade floats and float pieces, see and try on costumes, and learn all about this extravagant NOLA tradition. We checked in and explored the gift shop before our tour, then began our tour with a short film, a costume photo session and tastes of King cake. Then, it was off to see how floats are made and check out floats from years past.

This place was so cool! TONS of photo ops, amazing history of the city, and an eye-popping collection of floats! We really loved this attraction. I can't believe, considering all the years I've been traveling to New Orleans, that I'd never been there! Definitely recommended. And if your dogs are barking after walking there and around the attraction, not to worry. They offer a free shuttle back to the French Quarter.

After Mardi Gras World, we took a break at the hotel pool, which is located on the top of the hotel, with an observatory where you can get a lovely view of the French Quarter. (I also may have slipped out for a quick Pimm's Cup at the Napoleon House, which was only a block from our hotel). Then, it was off to dinner at Brennan's. YUM! We sampled oysters (because you have to eat oysters in New Orleans), fish, veal and more, washed down with specialty cocktails. Delightful!

The next morning, we were off to the airport! I was really glad we tacked on a few extra days of fun in NOLA!

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