What you’ll need:
1) A decent place to stay for around $30/night.
3) A crock pot.
4) $5/day for lunch.
5) $6/day for dinner.
6) $15/day for bloody marys.
7) $9/day to tip street musicians.
8) $5/day for beignets.
“I’m a little skeptical, Chelle. Let’s start with an explanation of number 1.”
The best and cheapest way to stay in New Orleans is in a timeshare.
“I don’t have a timeshare, Chelle, and I’m not buying one. Everything I’ve read says that they’re a bad investment.”
They are, actually, but you don’t need to own one. I’m sure you have a good friend or relative who owns a timeshare. Call them up.
Then find out if they belong to RCI (the timeshare exchange club).
If they do they can sign you up for a 5 year “Partial Guest Pass” for a one time fee of $149.
RCI will then create an account for you and you’ll have full access to “Extra Vacations” and “Last Call Vacations.”
Your friend doesn’t ever have to do another thing— other than sign you back up again in 5 years.
You get the benefits of owning a timeshare without having to pay any maintenance or mortgage payments.
“That’s awesome, Chelle! I just talked to my second cousin’s next door neighbor’s niece and she got me all set up. Did you know that some of those weeks are as little as $199?”
I did. That’s why I suggested it.
Now go find a place.
Remember that if you stay in the French Quarter you’ll most likely be in a building that was built in the 1800’s.
Don’t expect the Ritz.
Instead, it will be more like staying in someone’s flat or apartment. It will be old but clean.
Be reasonable with your expectations.
“Do you have any recommendations?”
You read my mind.
I really like “The Courtyards” on Royal St. It’s convenient to everywhere you’d want to be and it’s an RCI property.
“Thanks Chelle! This might be the most useful piece of information I'll ever get from you.”
“Just a second there, Chelle. I hate to butt in on y’all’s conversation,but I don’t know anyone with a timeshare. I DO have a camper, though. Are there any good camping facilities there?”
Yes, there are.
We really like Jude Travel Park.
It’s one of those “line ‘em up in a row on gravel” RV parks, but it’s only $30/night with full hook-ups, they have a cute pool and Jacuzzi, spotless restrooms and showers, a laundry facility— and they’re only 5 miles from the French Quarter.
If you don’t feel like driving, the city bus picks up and drops off right outside the gate. You can put your bikes on the bike rack at the front.
“Any tips if we decide to stay there?”
The sites in the middle of the campground are the quietest. They’re not as close to the road or the railroad tracks.
“Alright, I’m convinced. I can stay in New Orleans for $30/night. I’m still kind of shocked, but I’m definitely glad. What about number 2? Why are bicycles so important?”
If you’re in good shape you can walk all over the French Quarter with no problem.
If you’re not then I’m afraid that driving isn’t really going to be an option. The streets are congested and parking is a nightmare.
(If you ever DO drive into the French Quarter, though, touch base with me and I’ll give you great insider parking info that only the locals know about.)
If you bring bicycles you will OWN the French Quarter. You can zip past all the traffic and the pedestrians and get, literally, anywhere in 5 minutes.
Be sure that you don’t ride your bike in any pedestrian-only areas or you’ll get stuck with a $150 fine. Walk them through those areas.
(When you lock up be sure to run the cable through both wheels, too.)
“Can’t I rent bikes when I get there?”
You could,but they’re the most expensive bikes on earth— $25 for 4 hours. It’s outrageous.
“Good to know. Thanks,Chelle. I’ll skip number 3 since I figure you’ll get to that. How about number 4? How do I eat lunch for $5/day?”
Go to Subway on Royal Street— almost to Canal Street. Get a $5 footlong. Lunch done.
“I don’t want to go to New Orleans and eat Subway!”
Then pretend this post is entitled “New Orleans on $90/day” and spend $25 for a nice lunch at a local restaurant.
“Oh, okay. Thanks. I really had my heart set on the $70/day, though…”
Subway. Get over it. Can we move on, please?
“Fine, fine, whatever. Let’s talk about dinner.”
Before you leave, in the morning, put a whole chicken in the crock pot. Set it on top of an upside down bowl to keep it up out of the drippings.
A 4 pound chicken should only cost you around $4.
Generously season it with Cajun seasoning so that you won’t feel cheated by having to eat “in.”
If you’ll be gone for half a day then set it to “high.” For all day, set it to “low.”
When you get back, dump a $1.50 bag of frozen corn into the crock pot and give it about 30-45 minutes to get tender. Then eat!
“Not to be picky, but won’t the chicken drippings add a bunch of calories to the corn?”
You’ve been pedaling your bicycle all day. You don’t need to worry about calories. Live a little.
“How about $15 for bloody marys. Last time I was there they cost $10/each— or more.”
Look for a gay bar. They have rainbow flags, out front, are friendly to straight people— and you can get a fantastic bloody mary for $5.
“That’s cool! Now how about the next one? Do I really need to tip the street musicians?”
Absolutely! They work hard on their acts and that’s how they make their living. If you want them to still be there the next time you come then you’d better go ahead and pitch a buck into the jar.
NOLA wouldn’t be NOLA without them.
“You’re kind of a pain, sometimes. I’ll do it, though, if you’ll just quit talking about it. So how about the beignets?”
Get them at Cafe du Monde on Decatur. There will be a long line out front because no one thinks to use the other entrance in back.
Go to the back and walk right in.
“Alright. We finished the list. So where does all the fun take place?”
There’s far too much to list, here, and to be honest there’s always lots of stuff going on EVERYWHERE.
That said, I think you should spend your days on Royal and Decatur streets (including the outdoor Marketplace and the Riverwalk) and your evenings on Bourbon and Frenchmen streets.
After you’ve “done” them you should work your way down Canal St. and then all the side streets that connect Decatur to Bourbon.
If you want to cook something special you should go to Rouse’s Market on Royal Street—a great little grocery store.
Buy some alligator tail filets ($10.99/lbs) and peeled crawfish tails ($8.99/12oz) in the frozen case and some fresh catfish filets and shrimp.
Shoot me a note and I’ll tell you how to turn it into the most delicious meal you ever ate.
I hope you found the information useful!
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What you’ll need: