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New Orleans - Family Visit/Summer Vacation

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My husband and I (60 & 50) will be traveling from RI to New Orleans in Aug (I know NO in August, right?) but my brother is retiring from the Navy after 25 yrs.of service. We fly in on Thur Aug 16th and head home Aug 21st. The retirement ceremony is on the base on Fri so we planned on renting a car for the first two days so we don't have to depend on anyone else getting us there.

We currently have a room booked for the full 5 nights at The Prytania Park Hotel in the Garden District but because we've heard/read parking is expensive and can be a nightmare so are now debating if we should stay closer to the base at a budget hotel w/free parking and move to the city and a nicer hotel for the remainder of our stay (Sat, Sun & Mon)?

We live in Newport, RI & I work in a former mansion on the Cliff Walk so we are interested in the history & buildings of the areas we visit. Also looking for must sees while were in town & great places to eat. Any suggestions are appreciated.

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