Is NEW ORLEANS too wild for grandma?


Mar 20th, 2011, 04:15 PM
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Is NEW ORLEANS too wild for grandma?

Hello...I'm a traveling Grandma! My husband and I, in our 50's, need a relaxing, romantic getaway in late April for 5 nights. We are flying for free on Southwest from San Diego using our points.

My husband has suggested New Orleans. He has been there twice on business trips...and a few years ago he told me he would never take ME there because it's too wild for me. But now he has changed his mind! He knows I love music and he has suggested New Orleans for our April getaway!

Our other choices are Austin, Texas, and Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston is a very long flight from San Diego on Southwest. (New Orleans and Austin are shorter.) I should mention I love Austin, but we did go to Austin about a year ago. Maybe we should try someplace new. LOVED the music and the friendly, happy, courteous vibe in Austin.

I have never been to the southern states of our USA and have always wanted to go!

We enjoy good music (but NOT ear-blasting loud music!) We love to try new foods with exotic spices. We like scenic drives, nature walks, and culture & history.

Our favorite places to stay are friendly b&bs or guesthouses or inns which are owner-run.

Crime & safety seems to come up a lot on-line for New Orleans. But I was nervous about crime before I went to Washington DC, and I LOVE Washington DC, although I was nervous at times, I would love to return someday. New Orleans too wild for "Grandma"? Neither of us are big drinkers. We will have a beer or a glass of Chianti with dinner.

Feel free to give me your subjective, opinionated answers. I always learn something from everyone's viewpoint. Thank you!
Melissa5 is offline  
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Mar 20th, 2011, 04:52 PM
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I think you can enjoy New Orleans without being a "wild child." Yes, there is a naughty side but you do not need to partake in that. My husband and I visited New Orleans pre-Katrina and had a wonderful time. It sounds like we drink about as much as you and your husband do and like many of the same types of activities. We enjoyed wonderful restaurants, seeing the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, popping into bookstores and galleries, taking a walking tour of the city, visiting a plantation, taking a swamp tour, touring a museum, visiting the aquarium... you get the idea. My goodness, I now realize we did a lot!

I remember meeting a nice woman in our hotel who was there to attend a Christian bookseller's convention. She was a bit flustered at the antics on Bourbon Street but, if you certainly can avoid going there if you wish. (Personally, I thought New Orleans was an unusual location for such a convention!)

We felt quite safe in New Orleans as we took the usual precautions you would take in any big city. We had learned which areas we should avoid and made sure, if we were walking at night, to be aware of our surroundings. We stayed on well-lit streets where other pedestrians were walking and asked our hotel for their advice if we were uncertain about any of our plans.

I have always wanted to go back to New Orleans and may be returning sometime next year. I hope, if you decide to go, that you have a great time!
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Mar 20th, 2011, 04:54 PM
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I must start to proof-read. Please delete the "if" in the part of my sentence above: "but, if you certainly can avoid..." as it makes no sense!
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Mar 20th, 2011, 05:14 PM
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How old IS "Grandma"? My husband and I are in our late sixties and have been going to NO for decades. We don't stay up late partying like we used to, but love the city. It's definitely a food-lovers haven!

Bourbon Street is still raunchy, with strip joints and loud music, but if you prefer, you can avoid Bourbon altogether. My guess is that "Grandma" has seen those things in other locations.

Crime is a non-issue in New Orleans if you stay in the French Quarter, which is one of the most highly policed areas in the country.

If you prefer a local place, I can highly recommend La Maison
Marigny, which is on Bourbon Street at the edge (quiet end) of the French Quarter near Esplanade. It gets rave reviews and I spoke with the owner a few years ago when I was looking for help trying to plan a large party in New Orleans. He was perfectly friendly and helpful even though I wasn't booking rooms through him. Good luck!
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Mar 20th, 2011, 05:21 PM
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KTtravel: Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. It sounds like we have some similar interests. I've never been a "wild child", but I do enjoy exploring fascinating cities. And I love music. Where did you stay in New Orleans?

I'm also wondering if I would feel guilty being a tourist in a city which did its share of suffering during Hurricane Katrina.

Charleston sounds nice too, but the flight on southwest from San Diego is much longer.
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Mar 20th, 2011, 05:32 PM
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SusanCS: I am "Grandma", in my 50's, and I have managed to avoid strip joints all my life. Sounds like we would avoid Bourbon St. I love music, but not ear-blasting loud music. The French Quarter sounds intriguing. My husband keeps telling me it's like the New Orelans square in Disneyland, tee-hee. (I love Disneyland).

I don't mind other people having their own brand of long as I feel safe and welcome.

We fall asleep before midnight, so no all-night partying for us. But we enjoy good music, tasty food, friendly people, and a bit of romance!
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Mar 20th, 2011, 05:34 PM
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Oh, go, for pete's sake. It's a wonderful intriguing city with a LOT to do.
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Mar 20th, 2011, 06:28 PM
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Hi Melissa, I think tourism has always been a big part of the New Orleans economy and would hope you would be warmly welcomed.

I believe the hotel where we stayed in the French Quarter closed and has reopened recently after a big renovation and under a new name. I've read some mixed reviews and would probably stay elsewhere next time. I would think that you'll find some good suggestions if you do a search here or post a question asking about hotels.

I'm looking forward to reading your trip report!
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Mar 20th, 2011, 08:28 PM
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Oh, Melissa, I think you'll love New Orleans! Bourbon Street is only that, a street. It's tacky beyond measure, but you don't need to hang around there.

For real NO music, please try Preservation Hall. It's a tiny place, and you'll probably have to sit on the floor...there's no food and no drinks, but it's the real deal.

I'm tired, and I'm outta here!
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Mar 20th, 2011, 10:12 PM
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Melissa, my DH and I are at the moment in Southeast Asia celebrating our 60th birthdays. We were in New Orleans a year ago for Jazz Fest, and it was a blast, Bourbon Street included (and believe me, strip clubs are not on my list of "things to do" LOL, but a walk through during the day and again at night is an experience you shouldn't miss. I didn't drink a single hurricane (a cocktail or glass of wine at dinner is more my style). We of course heard tons of music during the day because we were there for JazzFest (which I highly highly recommend), but at night, there are nice jazz clubs, too -- such as in the nice hotel right on Bourbon Street that everyone recommends, but the name of which I can't remember at the moment, starts with an "S" I think) - we saw a popular New Orleans jazz band there for the price of a drink (no cover as I recall).

We took a walking tour of the French Quarter through Friends of the Cabildo - it was excellent. Our tour guide's name was Stuart.

We took a drive through the Ninth Ward. It's still mostly deserted so there's no need to feel like you're invading their privacy (I thought that would be how I'd feel) - it's incredible to see how it was ravaged, and thee rebuilding process).

There's absolutely no reason not to go, in fact, they need the tourism to rebuild the economy. In most of the places you'll go, you won't even notice that Katrina had occurred.

(PS, we were supposed to go to NO several weeks after Katrina hit, that trip obviously was cancelled. We're very pleased to see that many of businesses and restaurants that had been closed are now reopened and "jumping", although not all, of course).
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Mar 21st, 2011, 04:24 AM
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DH and I are in our late 50's and still love to go to NO - many times twice a year. We aren't late night people but do get rooms right on Bourbon Street (Ramada Inn on Bourbon) just so we can get up really early and watch the city come to life. Then in the afternoons and evenings, if we choose, we can sit on the balcony and peer at the foot traffic. The IOB also has rooms facing the courtyard which are way more quiet if you still want to be located on Bourbon. Some friends of ours swear by the Hotel Provincial which is located off Bourbon Street and may be a bit quieter.
Point being - GO TO NOLA! More than likely you'll fall in love with the city and return often!!
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Mar 21st, 2011, 05:39 AM
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What age and grandchildren have to do with this I am at a loss to figure out.

New Orleans certainly has a LOT more to offer than anyu of the listed alternatives and as far as being "wild" is concerned, I doubt either of you needs to get on an airplane to do so.

Go to the city and enjoy it for what it has to offer. If you think getting drunk makes you a wild child then hang out on Bourbon Street..because getting drunk is really the center of the wildness there.
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Mar 21st, 2011, 06:08 AM
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New Orleans is a wonderful place to visit. There are several venues available to hear music.

We always stay at the Hotel Monteleone. New Orleans classic at its finest. It is on Royal in the Quarter.

The most wonderful thing about New Orleans is the food. The cuisine is very unique and spectacular. Plan on eating well while there.

there are threads here about food in NOLA and the New Orleans forum on chowhound is another good spot for suggestions.

My wife and I are in your age group and have been going for years. My daughter graduated from Loyola in New Orleans for college.

GO, you'll have a great time.
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Mar 21st, 2011, 06:18 AM
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We were in NOLA in December and just loved every minute of it. Wandering through the streets of the French Quarter felt like wandering in Paris. I had to remind myself this was NOLA. Then I realized "We haven't "done" Bourbon Street". On the way to dinner we walked two blocks on Bourbon Street - and that was enough. Just one short block later the "craziness" was behind us. Most people think of the craziness of Bourbon Street when they think of NOLA, but it IS only one street. The rest of the city is so much different than that carnival like atmosphere.
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Mar 21st, 2011, 08:23 AM
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Last time I was there was pre-Katrina. I enjoyed the street performers near Jackson Square. Have a coffee and begniet from Cafe du Monde. I stayed in the Garden District and rode the streetcar on the St. Charles Street line. They now have the Canal Street line open as well.
I'll be back with my wife sometime, were grandparents.
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Mar 21st, 2011, 10:38 AM
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Please don't feel the slightest bit guilty about being a tourist in New Orleans. Tourism is a major industry in that city - lots and lots of people rely on tourists for their living. If anything, the city post-Katrina needs your tourist dollars more than ever.

I have been twice since Katrina and am planning another trip next year. I'd go this year if I could

My husband and I went to New Orleans for our honeymoon and then back for our 5th anniversary - the trip next year is for our 10th. We find New Orleans to be a wonderfully romantic city. Sure, there is the raunchiness of a couple blocks on Bourbon Street, but that is one area. There is so much more as other people have mentioned. I do love Bourbon street though

Has anybody mentioned Frenchman Street yet - if you like jazz, check out Snug Harbor.
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Mar 21st, 2011, 10:49 AM
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Feel free to check out my trip reports on food:

and attractions in my NOLA visit last year:

Re safety issues: would strongly suggest doing a board search about this. There are several good threads here about NOLA safety, which is a complex issue. I've participated in several.
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Mar 21st, 2011, 08:12 PM
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Just returned from New Orleans and had a blast. Took my 6 year old son, so everything we did was "G" rated. We had a blast. My mother, who is 70+ enjoys going to New Orleans as well and she's about as conservative as they come.

In this visit, we never ventured beyond Chartres St. We did go to Carondelet to catch the St. Charles Streetcar and Carondelet is Bourbon on the other side of Canal but that's a technicality.

Bottom line is: Go
You'll enjoy it.
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 08:30 PM
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bkluvsNola: Sounds like a great "G" rated trip. Where did you stay, and would you stay there again?

november_moon: Where did you enjoy staying in "romantic" New Orleans? Thanks for your reply. I don't have a New Orleans guidebook yet, but I will look up Frenchman St. I sometimes find that hearing from other fodorites helps me to make up my mind where I want to go. My funny husband calls us "fodorians". He says that I speak fluent "fodorian", and when it comes to travel questions, he says "ask your fodorians, you are from their planet."

notbob Thanks for your viewpoints. I am checking out the Hotel Monteleone as well as several others that Fodors recommends. Did you have a quiet night's rest at Hotel Monteleone?

sf7307: Happy 60th! Enjoy Asia. Where did you stay in New Orleans? Did you get a quiet night's sleep? Would you stay there again? Thanks for taking the time to reply.

THANK YOU "FODORIANS" ! (That's what my husband calls us, Fodorians. He says we speak fluent Fodorian.) I am leaning towards taking the plunge and going to New Orleans. But I'm not positive yet. I have a pile of hotels & b&bs to look into now. That often helps my decision, because reading hotel reviews often gives you the flavor of a region. Also 1 b&b or hotel might just jump out and pull me in!
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Mar 23rd, 2011, 06:07 AM
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Yes, the Monteleone has quiet rooms. The Carousel Bar in the lobby is also a great place to people watch the folks coming down Royal. It is well located on Royal between Iberville and Bienville.

I just noticed your dates. Don't take too long to finalize your lodging if the end of April includes the 29th and the 30th. Jazzfest starts 4/29 and rooms are already starting to get scarce and the prices up.
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