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Need help planning surprise weekend in New Orleans

Need help planning surprise weekend in New Orleans

Old Dec 22nd, 2006, 09:55 AM
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Need help planning surprise weekend in New Orleans

I read luv2globetrot's "Please don't forget New Orleans! They need you!!" thread and decided to plan a surprise weekend in New Orleans for my husband's birthday. Given the fact that this will be a surprise gift, I will need to plan it on the sly--he might get suspicious if I started reading New Orleans guidebooks at home! So I am really in need of your help. I have a bunch of questions and hopefully you can give me some guidance.

WEATHER: We would probably be going the first weekend in March. What will the weather be like?

HOTELS: I was assuming that we'll stay in the French Quarter but French Quarter adjacent might be ok. Our price range is $150-250. We prefer a place with character and charm. We also want it to be in a good location where we would feel comfortable walking around at night. Any suggestions? So far I've looked at Royal Sonesta, Maison de Ville and Soniat House but haven't zeroed in on anything and certainly am open to suggestions. I haven't contacted any of the hotels yet to find out whether they are discounting their internet prices due to lack of tourists. What have other people's experiences been?

RESTAURANTS: We will be in New Orleans for 3 or 4 nights. Which restaurants do you recommend? I can't recall all of the restaurants we went to the last time we were there other than Commanders Palace (liked), Brennan's for brunch (didn't like-thought it was way overrated), and Acme Oyster bar (liked). We'll try to get to Mothers (if it's still open) because we weren't able to get there last time. Any suggestions? We're foodie want-to-be's. Also, when do I need to make reservations? I was concerned because I saw a recommendation here on Fodors to someone that she should make a reservation now for Commander's Palace in March.

SIGHTSEEING/ACTIVITIES: We have been to New Orleans before and have seen/done the basic tourist stuff. I don't think we will want to see plantations again or do another swamp tour. I'm not planning to rent a car but we could if needed. We probably would do the Katrina tour. Any thoughts?

Thanks so much everyone. I love planning our trips and am indeed an over-planner like many Fodorites. But this one will be difficult to do since I have to plan it on the sly and can't bounce ideas off my husband. So I really do need your help more than ever.
wj1 is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 05:44 AM
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Check out some of the smaller hotels in the French Quarter. We've stayed at Place D'Armes Hotel, 625 St. Ann Street in the past and liked it. Most recently, we stayed at the Monteleone for a meeting, and while our experience was good, my preference would still be a smaller hotel. (Our last visit was May, 2005.)

We love Acme Oyster House, and always go there once or twice when we visit, for lunch. Last time, we went to Dick and Jenny's, which we really enjoyed - inventive, fun and casual. I checked their website, and am relieved they're still in business. Unfortunately, another great restaurant, Gabrielle, is still closed. Emeril's was one of our highlight dinners, and a real experience.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 05:52 AM
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YAY!! I'm so glad you're going to N.O.!!
Yes, Mother's is still open. We loved the Bon Ton Cafe on Magazine St. and Mulate's by the Convention Center!

And as for hotel's in the Quarter, I like the Monteleone. And Le Pavillion is lovely but is about 5 blocks from the quarter.
You might want to check out the reviews on tripadvisor, if you haven't done so already.

The weather should be lovely, too. Won't be too hot yet. Here's a link from weatherunderground that gives a history of weather in March.
http://www.wunderground.com/history/...q_statename=NA Hope you have a great trip!!
luv2globetrot is offline  
Old Dec 23rd, 2006, 08:20 AM
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Can't give you any specific recommendations, but if part of your motivation is to contribute tourist dollars and help NO out, I think you shoul focus on staying at and dining at smaller, less-popular places instead of the tried and true establishments that are usually recommended. Spread the money around and stay at a little B&B instead of a large hotel, and eat at some little corner restaurant instead of the bigger places.
Old Jan 12th, 2007, 09:22 PM
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Some answers to your questions:

WEATHER: You picked a one of the best months to visit. March usually has fantastic weather (60's to 70's should be expected).

HOTELS: It depends on whether you want to be in the action (Royal Sonesta) or you want more of a quiet location (Le Pavilion). Le Pavilion is supposedly the best hotel in the city (at least from tripadvisor ranking).

RESTAURANTS: Since you've been to the main restaurants, I'd suggest Emeril's (since you're a foodie), K-Pauls (for authentic Cajun, and also you need to show support for him as he was cooking food right after Katrina), and Restaurant August (rated best restaurant in city per tripadvisor).

SIGHTSEEING: Since you don't want to do a swamp tour or plantation tour again, I'd recommend heading over to Cajun Country and touring Avery Island and the Jungle Gardens there. It would make a nice day trip but you'd need to rent a car.

Have you ever done the Paddlewheel tours on the Mississippi River? Those are fun and relaxing and those companies need the business as well.

Have you been to the Audubon Zoo, Aquarium, and IMAX? They are well worth a visit.

Have you toured a cemetary or done a Garden District Tour? Those are other ideas.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2007, 07:50 PM
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I don't know how it is now, the aquarium (it hadn't reopened on my last trip) but pre-Katrina, it was my favorite- and I try to hit every aquarium I can!
cocontom is offline  
Old Jan 28th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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cocontom, the aquarium is now open.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Old Jan 28th, 2007, 02:10 PM
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I love the Hotel Provincial. Very charming and close to everything but still in a fairly quiet area. Never felt unsafe at any time of day.

Have fun, Sharon
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 06:38 PM
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If they are still doing the cemetary tours, that was a lot of fun!

Is the casino still open? 8-)
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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The casino is open and the Cemetary Tours are running.
bkluvsNola is offline  
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