New Orleans February 2007

Jan 4th, 2007, 11:54 AM
  #1  
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New Orleans February 2007

My wife and I just booked a flight to and a hotel in New Orleans, which is exciting in it's self. Now we are in the planning stages, with less than a month to come to an agenda. Normally I start planning trips well in advance, this one came is being planned quickly because we need a get away. We arive on Feb. 2 and are flying home to Vancouver on Feb. 9th.

We're staying at Hotel de la Monnaie on Esplanade Ave (timeshare). What's the area like and are we going to be happy with the location, just want a more or less central location, which this sort of sounded like it is, anyway too late to change this; would like to know what to expect if anyone has any feedback on the area. Any recommendations for a restaurant in the immediate area, we arrive around 6:00pm and would like not to have to go too far from the hotel, just looking for good simple New Orleans type food, nothing fancy.

What should we be prepared for weather wise, rain? sun? this will help us decide what to bring clothing wise (we're lite travelers, less packing is better).

We want to see some of the plantations in the area, are we better off to book a tour, or should we rent a car? If we do rent a car,should we rent the car for the week, or will that be unnecessary? Haven't decided about the "swamp tours," sounds like it may be the wrong time of year, feedback anyone?

Another interest would be a Cajun/Creole cooking course. I've been trying to find a web site for the New Orleans School of Cooking, however I can't see to access the addresses that have shown on this website. Any other suggestions.

Walking tours are another interest, recommendations of companies and specific tours would be most welcome. Any other suggestions are welcome and greatly appreciated to help us plan our trip.
Darryll1 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2007, 12:10 PM
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I visited New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina, so I am not sure of the current state of things. I am not familiar with your hotel as we stayed at a Holiday Inn in the French Quarter. We were there at the end of January and we had sunny but cool and crisp weather. I think early Feb should be great unless you get rain. The temps should be favorable probably highs in the 50's or 60's. The tour we took we booked through the hotel,maybe Blue Line Bus Tours or something like that. We chose the tour of the Garden District and found it to be very enjoyable. I was there with girlfriends and we all liked the tour;fun and very educational. As far as the plantations, my mom has visited Oak Alley and she also did a tour. It may be the easiest way to go, but if you are up for driving it probably isn't too far from NOLA. My mom always wanted to visit a plantation and thought it was well worth the visit. Hope this helps.
ilovetulips is offline  
Jan 4th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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I hope you'll read through the many other recent threads about trips to New Orleans here on Fodors. You'll find far more ideas than I could list.

It will help to know whether or not you'll have a rental car.

I am not certain of your hotel's exact location, but I know it's near the Farmers and French Markets, the old Mint, and a few blocks from the river, FQ, Riverfront streetcar, etc. Should be a pretty convenient location for you. You may want to check into a visitor pass for the Riverfront streetcar line:
http://www.norta.com/.

Be prepared for rain or shine, warm or cooler weather. That's typically our winter so prepare for possible rain.
BayouGal is offline  
Jan 4th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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Try this link for information on cooking schools in New Orleans:

http://www.frenchquarter.com/dining/CookingSchools.php

Also, nola.com has a nice visitors section.
BayouGal is offline  
Jan 4th, 2007, 12:16 PM
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I just googled bus tours in New Orleans and I found Grayline Bus Tours. They offer the Garden District tour for $20 and it lasts 2 hours. They also offer other city tours and they have the Oak Alley Plantation tour 4.5 hours for $36. I also remember that my mom found a free tour offered by the city with some of the highlights of the French Quarter area. She liked it and found the guide to be very good. I think she found this tour in a Frommer's travel guide.
ilovetulips is offline  
Jan 4th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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Esplanade Ave is on the edge of the French Quarter, so it is reasonably close to things, but not in the thick of it. One benefit is that you will also be close to the Fauburg Marigny neighborhood, which has come cool places to see. As mentioned, if your place is close to the river, you can pick up the street car that runs along the river if you don't want to walk (blocks are short in this area of town, so walking 10 blocks is like walking 4 regular blocks, so walking is definitely an option). I think there is also a fairly regular bus that runs up and down Esplanade if you are further from the river.

For restaurants in the area of your hotel, one block down river is Frenchman Street, which has a lot going on. I've eaten at the Marigny Brassiere, I think it is called, which was very good. It may be a little more upscale than you are looking for on the first night - it isn't jacket and tie or anything, but it is a white table cloth type of place. Maybe someone else has some other recommendations right in your area. That said, you are on the edge of the French Quarter, and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from there.

We went on a plantation tour with Spinato Tours, which was great. It was a toss up whether to rent a car or go with a tour. We decided on a tour just because it was easy We were relaxing and were in the mood to be taken rather than drive ourselves. And our guide was great, so it worked out well. If you rent a car, I would just rent for the day rather than the week. We found walking and taking the street car and the occasional cab to be more than sufficient.

For walking tours, we took a tour with the Historic New Orleans Walking Tour Co and really enjoyed it. We have a trip planned in May and are going to take another walking tour with them. Our guide was great - funny, knowlegable, and a great story teller.

J_Correa is offline  
Jan 4th, 2007, 09:17 PM
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I'll comment on the other items a bit later, but as to the weather... Since you're from Vancouver, you'll probably find the weather balmy here, but you can pretty much expect a few things at the time of year you're visiting (early Feb):

(a) it will rain at least one or more days while you are here, sometimes with a torrential downpour of many inches of rain (I'm not joking)

(b) the weather will be unpredictable - it could be rainy, cold, and raw one day and sunny, warm and humid the next,

(c) there will probably be at least a few days that will be sunny and nice while you are here,

(d) temperatures could vary from 70 degrees one day to 40 the next day and from 20 degrees one morning to 60 degrees that afternoon.

My advice is to pack mostly long-sleeved shirts, a few sweaters, a rain-proof jacket/coat, and a few short-sleeved shirts if the weather happens to turn warm.

Also note that 50 degrees in New Orleans can be quite cold due to the moisture... but you already know that living in Vancouver...
bkluvsNola is offline  
Jan 4th, 2007, 09:21 PM
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I just spent Christmas in NOLA with my family, and it was absolutely amazing.

You are doing an amazing thing by going and spending money there...they are starving for tourists.

It's back and fabulous...have an incredible time!
txlonghrn is offline  
Jan 5th, 2007, 08:20 PM
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I would recommend on your first night walking over to Marigny Brasserie on Frenchman Street and having dinner there. It is very close and convenient to your hotel and the food is good.

As far as plantations - if you are only planning to see a couple of plantations, then I'd recommend you getting a tour package and taking a bus. If you plan to spend a night along River Road then you'll need to get a car.

Swamp tours might be a good idea if the weather is nice. However, if you are looking to see the alligators, then you'll be disappointed as they won't be out in the winter. Also, you'll miss out on the greenery of the swamps - the Cypress trees and marsh grass will be brown. However, if you've never seen a swamp, it might be interesting. Just note that you'll want to visit again when it's warmer to see some gators!

For walking tours of the French Quarter, why not trying the National Park Service's walking tour, which is informative and as a plus - free...

I'd also recommend a walking tour of the Garden District and the Cemeteries. Try this web site for a list of cooking schools:

http://www.frenchquarter.com/dining/CookingSchools.php








bkluvsNola is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 05:26 PM
  #10  
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Thanks to everyone for your help and suggestions. The trip still doesn't feel real to us yet. We aren't in the habit of making fairly short notice travel arrangements, it may be something we change.

This forum is a great source of help an information
Darryll1 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2007, 07:40 PM
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You can't go to NOLA without visiting the plantations. They have tour vans that will pick you up at your hotel and take you out and back and include lunch. BOTH Oak Alley and Laura Plantations are a must - Oak Alley for it's grounds (to die for) and Laura for all the generations of history found on the plantation. We toured them three years ago and still think about them constantly. We are taking my parents back (to support NOLA tourism) in March because they have never been there and I have talked to BOTH plantations and they are open and running.

Also, something we did that was the BEST night EVER was taking the Haunted History Tour. It's all documented history around the French Quarter and we thought it was going to be some dumb ghost boogie man thing, but it was AWESOME and we learned so much about the weird history that has happened. It's a walking tour around the old hotels and mansions and if you can, ask for Midian Van Thorne for your guide. He was great.

Have fun!!

emh
eholden123 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Eholden, Who operates the Haunted tour you spoke of? How do we find out about it ahead of time?
LilyLace is offline  
Jan 27th, 2007, 03:42 PM
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Hi, I found it on yahoo about five years ago. We actually just reserved our tickets again the other night. The Company is http://www.hauntedhistorytours.com/

They we very impressive.

Have fun!!

emh
eholden123 is offline  

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