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Trip report (long): Beignets, Bayous, Blues, and Ducks in the Lobby

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In a cruel twist of fortune, we have ended up owning the only dining table that can reliably seat the dozen plus immediate family persons that need feeding at major holidays. Now we love them all, but there comes a time when one more turkey-laden, festive festooned spread, however pot-lucky it might be, is one too many. Pass the dressing and the family politics, please. So this year we gave them the keys, instructions on where the various utility cutoffs are located, a supply of dog food, and our blessings, and we took to the skies for a week whilst they were free to use said table, fridge and dishwasher, especially the dishwasher, for the harvest feast minus two. The weather in New Orleans had been hovering around the eighty degree mark for a couple of weeks while our Pacific NW haunts had been flirting with, and briefly seduced by, snow and ice around a lifetime too early this fall. So the prospects of good food, new places to explore, and warm weather closed the deal.

Mon. 24th Nov. We arrived at the Royal Sonesta in the French Quarter around 8 PM, after having obtained a car for subsequent exploring (a Mercury SUV that was way too big for the hotel garage's spaces, a mistake we anticipated but the agent didn't have anything else). First surprise: the temperature was in the 30s and falling. Pesky cold fronts, people were walking around looking like it was the end of days; the strippers hanging out with the touts in the club doorways on Bourbon St. had goose bumps on their goose bumps.

The Sonesta is a lovely hotel, located on Bourbon Street. We requested and obtained a room facing the interior courtyard (a wise choice). Good internet rate; we didn't want to play Priceline roulette this time, and glad of it. We walked along Bourbon a few minutes, but didn't want to buy daiquiris or gross T-shirts, so we opted instead for dinner at the hotel's oyster bar, called Desire. Okay, not great, but easy and just fine after a day of pretzels and diet cokes, the new standard in airline cuisine.

Done with dinner, we strolled the other way, a block to Royal Street, where we went gaga over the antique and gallery window displays. One of the most concentrated collections of amazing storefronts for window-shopping either of us could remember seeing anywhere. But by this time the long day and time change had worked their magic and we felt that it was a far better thing to sack out than push the envelope and run the risk of missing out on morning glories the next day.

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