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New Orleans redux, need your suggestions

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Hi Fodorites,

Seeking your help once more. Second trip to N.O. (first time with hubby). Looking forward to this trip, considering that the first one was with my 18 y/o DD – and was rated P.G. ☺

Please critique our hastily planned itinerary (this being a spur-of-the-moment trip). Except for the food tour that I’d done with my daughter two years ago, all the tours we will be doing are all firsts.

Food and Shopping:
As far as restaurants go, we would like to enjoy fine Cajun/Creole cuisine, with emphasis on seafood (and a lot of oysters)!!! Searching for the quintessential New Orleans flavor/experience: music, food, unique neighborhoods, shopping (N.O. artwork, jewelry, masks, nice crafts, sample a muffaletta, buy pralines to take back home for presents, other local delicacies). Have already dined at NOLA, Emeril's, Dickie Brennan's and Arnaud's Remoulade and prefer to try other restaurants.

Please share your favorite art galleries and shopping haunts. Searching for a nice painting that shows a local scene that I can add to the following two paintings that I bought on my last trip: a whimsical Martin LaBorde painting (reminds me of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince) and Diego Lukezic’s Tango the White Dog painting. Am also on the lookout for a nice bauble such as a lovely bracelet or pendant made by a local artist.

Because this is such a last-minute trip, I haven’t had the chance to do a lot of research. All I’ve done so far is make the reservations (tours and some restaurants). We are not planning to rent a car unless we absolutely have to.

Day 1
Arrive in NOLA at 5 pm. Taxi to the Monteleone.
Acme Oyster Bar, if line is tolerable. Otherwise Felix’s.
Dinner at Arnaud’s
Carousel Bar at the Monteleone, live music

Day 2
8:30 – hotel pickup for Swamp Tour (will be back by 1)
2:00 Food Tour (till about 4:30?)
4:30 – 7 pm – French Quarter exploration
dinner at Restaurant R’evolution
Pat O’Brien’s for a hurricane or two
Preservation Hall?

Day 3
8:15 pick up at hotel for Plantation Tour (Oak Alley and Laura) back by 12:30-1 pm
1:30 – Lunch at Mr. B’s
From 2:30 – 6:00? Magazine Street
Dinner at Muriel’s
10:00 – Sonesta’s Irvin Mayfield’s for some jazz

Day 4
Café Du Monde
Street car? Explore the Cabildo, St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square
11:00 – 1:00 pm Segway Tour (hubby’s request)
1:00 – 3:30 – Shopping?
4:00 – 6:00 Cocktail Tour/Pub Crawl
Dinner at K-Paul’s

Day 5
Need suggestions for breakfast/brunch
Get to the airport in time for a 12:30 flight. With it being a week day, will it be safe to take a taxi at about 10:30, and still make it to the airport in time?

I would have wanted to indulge in a nice jazz brunch but our schedule makes this difficult. Found out last night that it’s too late to get Preservation Hall VIP tickets. Should we still try to go? Have never been there and I have no idea if it's going to be too crowded or uncomfortable to be standing during the performance. I’ve also seen Frenchmen Street mentioned many times here in the forums as a nice alternative to Bourbon Street for jazz. We don’t have a car and I was wondering if it’s relatively easy (and safe) to get a cab to take us back to the hotel.

I’m all ears. Looking forward to hearing your suggestions. :-)

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