Just back from New Orleans

Old Oct 26th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Just back from New Orleans

Thought some of you would be interested in our visit on Sunday. We drove down for the afternoon from Baton Rouge. French Quarter looked better than we thought and there were TOURISTS! Even saw a few tour buses packed full along with the mules and carriages back in operation. The Cathedral and Jackson Square looked beautiful. Some shops and restaurants were open; many others with signs stating that they will reopen on November 15. But it was so sad to see Canal Place, Sanger Theatre, Adler's, Palace Cafe and others boarded up. Canal Street took a beating; lots of flooded out cars in the median with most shops closed.

Magazine Street looked more active. Lots of neighborhood restaurants open. Belladonna, our favorite spa, is open. I saw Sake Cafe open and others and promises from Casamento's that it would open in a few weeks. Lots of refrigerators duct taped on the curbs full of two month old food.

St. Charles Avenue was very quiet; almost spooky. Very little activity. We cried when we saw Commander's boarded up. We had our rehearsal dinner there 23 years ago so it is a very special place to us. Cemetary across the street on Washington had lots of debris still but tombs looked OK from the street. No street cars running on St. Charles. I read that all of these cars are OK; just lines are down so they will come back eventually.

On another note, Baton Rouge is booming. Galatoire's is opening a new restaurant here called Bistro Baton Rouge in a few weeks, Mandina's is moving here for a year as is Dickie Brennan who will have a restaurant here as well.

We feel that New Orleans will come back. Our New Orleanian friends who live here now are going back eventually and rebuilding. It will just take time, effort and commitment from everyone. So..........don't forget New Orleans and south Louisiana as you make your future travel plans. We're already looking forward to catching beads on the Avenue in February!
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Old Oct 26th, 2005, 12:48 PM
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Thanks for the report back.
If anyone is near San Jose, there's a place called the Poor House Bistro, one block away from the Sharks Tank/HP Pavilion (where pro hockey team plays).

They feature authentic NOLA cuisine, Abita's beer, bread pudding, muffaletta sandwiches, red beans & rice, jambalaya, etc. AND --- live music on FRI and SAT evenings.
The house is a restored craftsman style that was built around 1900 in San Jose.


We took a group of 8 there last FRI and reallllllly enjoyed everything there. Recommended.

"I know what it means
to miss New Orleans"
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Old Oct 26th, 2005, 02:03 PM
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I'm absolutely sure it will be back.

But I am also absolutely sure that many poor New Orleans natives of several generations won't be coming home.

In the shelter in Tinley Park IL- we have had 11 people leave in the last three days and 9 are going tomorrow. They are all settling in various communities in IL. So far Orland Hills, Dolton, North side of Chicago proper, etc. They have jobs already or are going to get jobs very soon. The housing is partially through local church groups' support- but also
include very low mortgages etc. and they will be owned by the occupants over time. And not a long time either.

Lots of these people didn't have a "ticket" for the kinds of choices they are getting right now. And I am very sure that only a very few are going to be returning to New Orleans for long term living.

NO might have better and different variables now. You will probably keep seeing more and more of the tourism side of New Orleans being revived.
It's sure isn't popular to say so with this group on Fodors, but the stats for the old NO were nothing to be envious of- especially the education and average lifespan.
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Old Oct 26th, 2005, 02:23 PM
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fehgeddaboudit - Not 15 minutes ago I stumbled upon the web site for the PHB. I was searching restaurants in downtown SJ to take some clients to and came across it in my search. Looks darn good - not what I am looking for for tonight's dinner, but definitely something to try at some future time. We have tickets to a Sharks game on the 2nd, so I am thinking we will try it for dinner that night.
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Old Oct 26th, 2005, 11:02 PM
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Correa: Serendipity is something else, eh?
FYI: there's another bathroom for the men adjacent to the patio. The unisex bathroom near the fireplace indoors has fresh cut flowers and is primarily for the ladies.

For anyone else who finds this info later: I was told that Sunday is "family day" and the Bistro is open Mondays-Saturdays.

It is possible that for special events the PHB will be open on a Sunday. For example, the San Jose Jazz Festival 2006...2007...etc
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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 07:20 AM
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I've also just returned from Baton Rouge, New Orleans, southern Mississippi, and other areas in the hard-hit southern states. The big parish fair in Franklinton, in southern Louisiana, was held and was a huge success as it has been each year for the past 100 years. Many people said it was just what they needed as a respite from the endless cleanup and restoration. The fair never could have been held if it had not been for the tireless efforts of an entirely volunteer force.

On a more somber note, the city of Bogalusa, almost directly in the eye of the hurricane, suffered terribly and will take a long time to recover. All over southern Louisiana, including some areas around New Orleans, there is still no cable TV--and power was just restored to some areas, while others still don't have power or telephone.

DownSouth, you were certainly correct in saying that New Orleans is recovering; but N.O. is only one part of a huge problem that exists all over a span of 4 states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Sure, maybe there will be more recovery in the short run, but at the same time there are major problems to be solved in the entire area. There are many spots north of I-10 where I observed total destruction in spite of the distance from the shore.

My fondest hope is not for the tourist industry in N.O. because I know it will eventually recover. Instead, I hope that all those displaced persons will find a new life, and the areas that were totally submerged will be converted to something other than sure-to-flood low-cost housing.

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Old Oct 27th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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Glad for an eyewitness report. No doubt about it...the destruction will mean a long lasting recovery period. I want to amen what Wayne said...a concern not for the tourist industry but for the suddenly homeless and scattered people along the Coast. Can any of us imagine what it was like to simply lose your home and possessions and friends also job? Wonder how many victims of hurricanes will be starting all over from scratch somewhere else?
Likely many towns and cities have already welcomed a few new families.
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