Memphis to New Orleans Trip

Old May 29th, 2016, 03:47 AM
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Memphis to New Orleans Trip

We are a couple from UK planning to drive from Memphis to New Orleans via Natchez in a week in October and we are looking for advice.

Any thoughts on other places that would be worth seeing on route?
Recommendations for music venues (we love jazz and blues less keen on country)
Also recommendations for a particular area to stay in New Orleans?
I love the idea of a trip on the Mississippi but have a feeling we may be disappointed - crowded,poor food

Thank you in advance
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Old May 29th, 2016, 07:24 AM
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It's a superb itinerary. Possible map - https://goo.gl/maps/TskWP6DnGgG2

Memphis' music and historic legacies need no introduction - Graceland, Sun Records, Beale Street, the Rock and Soul Museum, Gibson guitar factory... not to mention the MLK Museum, barbecue, tamales, the ducks in the Peabody's lobby...

I'd then head to lovely Oxford, Mississippi, home of beautiful Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) and also of William Faulkner.

Then west to Clarksdale in the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Visit the Delta Blues Museum, a sweet little place that embodies a tremendous amount of history. Maybe stay at the Shack Up Inn - http://www.theshackupinn.com/ - and have a full rack of ribs at Abe's BBQ, right at the Crossroads. http://www.abesbbq.com/

Visit Rosedale but hang on to your souls (you'll have been tempted at Abe's) and stay close to the river as you head south - use MS Hwy 1 as far as you can (part of the Great River Road) then MS 465. Visit the Vicksburg battlefield.

Then I'd head inland again, this time to the Mississippi capital of Jackson, then pick up the Natchez Trace Parkway south to Port Gibson, the town Gen. Ulysses Grant said was "too beautiful to burn." Visit Natchez, then head down to New Orleans via Baton Rouge.

It's a spectacular route, packed with history, musical legacy, a view of the troubled and ultimately uplifting story of this part of America. IMO every American should make this trip at some point.
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Old May 29th, 2016, 12:16 PM
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My husband and I made this drive last summer as a part of a larger trip. My husband is into history so we stopped at Vicksburg Battlefield and spent a few hours there one morning.

In Memphis we enjoyed the National Civil Rights Museum which can easily take most of a day if you enjoy museums and plan to read a lot of the information provided. http://civilrightsmuseum.org/

Right around the corner from this museum we ate Central BBQ and in our opinion it was the best barbecue we had on our entire trip (through much of the south). The restaurant was packed but the line, to order, and the food came fast and hot. One amendment I would have made to our trip was to spend one more day in Memphis, we loved the city.

In New Orleans we stayed in the business district just outside of the french quarter and we walked most places, only using our car to drive to the garden district. We took the trolley to the WWII Museum. Make sure to visit a cemetery and walk through the garden district. I loved New Orleans and cannot wait to return. I enjoyed the people, the architecture and of course the food.

We drove along the Mississippi the entire way and it was enjoyable for the scenery, different foliage than I had seen in the northeast US. As you would expect there are not a lot of 'great' places t eat so bring snacks or do some research on where you'll stop. We used books such as road food: https://roadfood.com/. We stopped at a place recommended by this book for tamales and they were amazing! Also, one way to tell if a place if good is to look for police or emergency vehicles in the parking lot. The police and EMTs eat out during their shifts often so if a place isn't good you likely won't see a lot of police/EMTs stopping there for lunch. We drove from Vicksburg to New Orleans in one day and stopped at the above mentioned place for lunch. In New Orleans we really enjoyed The Original Pierre Maspero's, they had the best Crab Cake and Hurricanes. Have a fun trip!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 08:32 AM
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Wow. Thank you for the maps, itineraries and different ideas.

I would like to see a plantation, are there any anyone would recommend?
Also is it possible to go on a paddle steamer on the Mississippi? I have just seen a production of Showboat in London.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 10:19 AM
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>

There are TON(NE)S and they are different. Would you tell an American that one castle visit fits all?

I'd pass through St Francisville, LA - it's on the river road and also close to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. That jail (gaol in British) used to be the worst prison in the US. It has a warts-and-all museum that is well worth a visit. And no, you cannot go inside the actual prison - it's still a maximum security facility full of lifers but it's much more humane.

Rosedown and The Myrtles outside St Francisville, LA are worthwhile plantations (the latter for the ghost stories because it's "haunted"). San Francisco, Houma House, Oak Alley and Laura and many others are further down the River Road and nearer New Orleans. Oak Alley has been used as the typical slaveowner plantation in scores of movies.

Whitney Plantation, just down the road from Oak Alley and Laura, is essentially dedicated as an open air museum of slavery and has a bunch of monuments to and testimonials from former slaves. It is well worth the time.

And yeah, there are paddle steamers on the river. There is a paddle steamer that has or connects to a tour of the Chalmette Battlefield, site of the Battle of New Orleans - the US's largest victory in the War of 1812 (one of the various Napoleonic Wars to you, most likely), which came after the US and GB signed the Treaty of Ghent.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2016, 01:25 PM
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We visited both Laura and Oak Alley and enjoyed them a lot. Also one morning my husband had meetings so I entertained myself by among other things taking a ride on the Mississippi on I think it was Delta Queen, had a blast. They cruise by the site of the Battle of New Orleans.
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Old Aug 5th, 2016, 04:16 AM
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Many thanks again for the useful advice.

We land in Memphis early evening and plan to stay for two nights/one day before heading off. Is that about right for time in Memphis.
At the other end, I thought 3 nights/two full days in NOLA, we do not fly home until the evening of the 3rd day. Is that enough?

Thank you
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