A quick trip to New Orleans - Dec 2010

Jan 2nd, 2011, 09:35 AM
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A quick trip to New Orleans - Dec 2010

R was less than 1000 miles away from Medallion status for 2011 so I did a quick "shopping" trip to find the cheapest flights to "somewhere" before the end of the year. The two finalists were New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale. I'd just been to FLL and we didn't want to rent a car so NOLA it was.

My first stop for hotel prices was my favorite in New Orleans - the Dauphine Orleans.

I'd stumbled upon this hotel when I was there for business in the late 80s and a friend planned to drive out with my pup to start a long trip through the American and Canadian Rockies. I picked it way back then because they accepted pets, but it has remained my favorite hotel ever since - even when traveling sans pup.

I've recommended it many times and my mom used to visit on her "girls trips". The hotel is nice and they really enjoyed the accomodations. I opt for the Hermann House rooms instead.

"The 14 rooms of the Hermann House Courtyard occupy the home of an early 19th century merchant who directed that the structure be built of nothing but the best country bricks and cypress. All 14 Hermann House Courtyard rooms feature a Jacuzzi tub and shower. All suites have large Jacuzzi tubs and marble bathrooms."

The entrance to the Hermann House rooms is via a gate across the street from the hotel. As you enter the courtyard, you're greeted with the sound of the courtyard fountain and peace and tranquility. There's a hot tub available in the courtyard and jacuzzi tubs in the bathrooms. Second floor rooms have vaulted ceilings with an exposed brick wall that goes up for at least 20 feet. Great beds, beautiful rooms, wonderful bathrooms - all in a private courtyard setting. It's a wonderful home away from home in NOLA and I love it still.

Some pictures available on Facebook. I may share some on a more public site later.

The Dauphine offers an free extended continental breakfast with the usual items as well as waffles and hard boiled eggs. There are plenty of breakfast options nearby but the breakfast worked great for us. Complimentary beer or wine was offered for the first night in the bar. The front desk folks were very knowledgable and helpful. What can I say? I just love this place.
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 09:43 AM
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Transportation from airport to the French Quarter - easy.

The fare is a flat rate of $33. We walked outside after claiming our bags to the taxi kiosk. We were greeted by a friendly hello, the next waiting cab was called and it pulled up a couple of minutes later. We were handed transportation info with maps and loaded up for a short ride to the French Quarter. For our return we requested a cab the next before from the bell captain and our White Fleet cab was waiting at the appointed time.

We arrived in the morning so we checked our bags and started walking the French Quarter. On Day 2 we focused on using the streetcars.

The only reservation/ plan for the visit was a 2pm reservation for the Culinary Tour. I LOVE the original Foods of NY tour of Greenwich Village and wanted to try NOLA's version. I was hoping it was be almost as good as the NYC tour. It was better.

I strongly recommend the Tasting Tour of the French Quarter.
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 09:46 AM
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I have stayed at Dauphine Orleans many many times. I first visited there around 1975 or so. I don't think they had the Hermann House back then but a friend of mine's father had an apartment across the street from the DO. I want to say that iron gate went to their apartment. There was a very nice restaurant just E of DO which is Bayona today. I'm glad to hear it's still a great hotel.
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 10:01 AM
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Morning of Day 1 - just wandering the streets of the French Quarter. We started off in the general direction of Cafe du Monde, but it was early and we didn't care what time we got there. So off we went in a leisurely stroll and did a double take at the Gallery Rinard.

For those who love pups - http://www.galleryrinard.com/williams.php

We laughed at the cartoon prints and greeted the studio pup. Then, on the back wall I saw a print that called my name. It was the twin of the first pup I brought to NOLA and the available print was my lucky number. It was meant to be. The first purchase was made and the trip was off to a happy start.

We eventually made our way to the informal destination - Cafe du Monde. The line was long so we wandered on, looking for an alternative. Then I realized "Who am I kidding? There IS no alternative to Cafe du Monde!". We doubled back, took our place in line and enjoyed the sights and sounds of New Orleans. The voices of happy tourists with varied accents, the clip-clop of the carriage horses, the clatter of city workers off-loading barricades that we guessed that would be used in a few days for New Years Eve, and laughing at the kids entranced (but a bit scared) by the balloon guy. As we approached the entrance things seemed disorganized. No one was seating folks but people strained to see the next sugar sprinkled table to be available and rushed to take their place at the dirty table, which was soon cleaned up and orders placed. For our table, it was an order of beignets to share, a diet coke and their delicious cafe au lait. Service was fast, the prices were low and we were quickly wearing a dusting of powdered sugar that seems to be a rite of passage for NOLA.
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 10:06 AM
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Yes, Bayona is next door. It was on our list as a dinner option, but we ran out of time.

Facing St Louis is the historic Hermann-Grima house. One day I'm going to actually take a tour.

My guess is that Bayona and the Hermann House rooms of the DO were part of the complex of the Hermann-Grima house - courtyards, carriage houses, etc.

I just love the location too. Steps away from Bourbon Street but a world away.
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Jan 2nd, 2011, 10:28 AM
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After Cafe du Monde, R wanted to head to Harrah's so off we went. I remember when Harrah's opened and used to stay at the conference hotels nearby. A coworker loved the casinos of the gulf coast and I'd wander in if dragged in, but I'm not much of a gambler. I went along to be a good traveling companion...and was happy to find two slot machines that had as much entertainment value as gambling interest.

Here's someone else's video of a similar machine but it gives a multimedia presentation when you win -

When the Oz machines were busy (2 sets of 4) I'd head to the Sex and the City machine. Here's one examnple of a win -

I won a big prize with Samantha and it's just a hoot to sit there and watch minutes worth of bonus play with video clips from the movies

Not bad for penny slots.

Both days I started with $20. Sometimes I'd play it out and sometimes and cash out and take the money elsewhere. One day's play payed for chargrilled oysters at Drago's.

On Day 2 I returned to the Oz machine and a woman who had just left the seat was getting her payout. I don't know how much the check was for but they counted out $1500 in cash. I was happy with my $40 spent for "entertainment" for an hour or so in the casino.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 07:25 AM
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We've had to scale back on our vacation plans this winter / spring due to my schedule at work, and we're now thinking of adding a couple of days to Easter and making an extra long weekend. New Orleans is where we think we'll end up, so this report is fun to read. Thanks for posting.
SusanInToronto is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 01:42 PM
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I love New Orleans and can't wait to get back to try out the Culinary Tour! Starrs, do you have any more details on the tour? If so, I'd love to hear about your experience.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 02:48 PM
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Yep, the tour description is next. Today is a travel day so I'll try to write tonight.

Thanks for the nice comments
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 03:44 PM
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Here's a tip if the line at Cafe du Monde is long. There is a take-window toward the back. That line is often really short. You can get coffee and a bag of beignets, take it to a bench on Jackson Square or walk up and eat on the levee overlooking the river. Just be careful when you open the bag to pull out a beignet- they put them in straight from the fryer so they are HOT and they pour what seems to be half a box of powdered sugar into the bag so it flies everywhere if you aren't careful. YUM!!!!
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 07:11 PM
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take-out window, not take-window- dur! Posted while drinking an excellent bottle of Oregon pinot...
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Jan 5th, 2011, 05:53 PM
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Timely report as I am thnking of spending a big birthday there soon!!
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Jan 5th, 2011, 06:21 PM
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More to come...
I'm just on the road on another trip and am exhausted.
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Feb 6th, 2011, 07:07 AM
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I'm going to NO in March. I would love to hear about the rest of your trip!
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Feb 6th, 2011, 07:38 AM
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Planning a first-time trip to NO in March with 18 yr. old DD. Mom-daughter bonding time. This is great info! More, please......
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Feb 6th, 2011, 11:56 AM
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Okay. More later tonight
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Feb 9th, 2011, 07:16 PM
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Starrs, want to hear about the rest of your trip!
sweetannie is online now  
Feb 9th, 2011, 07:19 PM
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Lordy, I'll have to read it to see what I've written...
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Feb 9th, 2011, 07:22 PM
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I used the information in this thread to do a lot of the planning -
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Feb 9th, 2011, 07:38 PM
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We followed bardo's advice and took the St Charles streetcar to the riverbend and ate at Cooter Brown's -

"Not a must do every trip, but this place is wonderful - especially if you like beer and/or oysters. Very nice vibe and the 'po boys beaty anything in the quarter. A nice excuse to take the St. Charles streetcar (it's steps away from the "riverbend" stop on the streetcar line).
From the link above

He was right - Cooter Brown's did have the best po'boys on the trip. It's a very casual place. The line was out the door but moved fast. You place your food order first at the counter and then go to the bar to get your drinks. They have lots of beer on tap and lots more in the coolers. We got a local pilsner and a hard cider and sat down to wait for our food. Ballgames were on the large screen TVS but we most enjoyed watching a large group on lunch break from work. Lots of laughing, beer drinking and pool playing...not your normal lunch break. Well, it was normal for them

We split an oyster po-boy. It was huge and delicious.
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