NOLA - 5/22 - 5/27

Old Feb 9th, 2004, 02:13 AM
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NOLA - 5/22 - 5/27

Well, We've booked our flights and Lodging. My wife and I (early 50's) and my son and his wife (both 21). I'm looking for info from anyone who might have visited NO in late May. Weather?...Suggested clothing to bring?...We're departing from Burl. VT. The kids are interested in music and mysticism and we're mostly interested in good food, architecture, and the general sights and sounds of NO and surrounding area. We've booked the Drury Inn in CBD. Also, we would like info on the best tours to take to Plantations/Bayous and on the river.
Thanks.
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Old Feb 9th, 2004, 04:28 AM
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Late May will be hot but not unbearably so. Bring shorts and short sleeve shirts, with maybe a nicer change of clothes for a nice dinner or two.

Why Drury Inn? While it gets good reviews on tripadvisor.com (a big plus in my book!) it seems somewhat remote for a tourist. It's in a very business-oriented area. It is walkable to FQ during the day, though, and isn't far from the streetcar line.

Tours by Isabelle gets great reviews for plantation tours and Honey Island Swamptour is good for the swamps/bayous.
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Old Feb 9th, 2004, 06:41 AM
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Since it sounds like you will be splitting up, I too would stay in the FQ rather than CBD. That way you can each come and go more easier. You may want to consider renting a car for the day and doing the plantation drive?? I rented a cheap car from Dollar and greatly enjoyed touring Laura plantation and seeing Oak Alley and Evergreen. Allows so much more freedom. The resturant next to Laura is just supurb- very casual. For FQ history consider the free Park Service http://www.nps.gov/jela/index.htm

tours at 9:30am daily- be in line by 9am- everyone much present. Also some good programs run from the jazz National Park service- also free. http://www.nps.gov/jazz/index.htm

I like going with Save our Cemetery- for their tours because they are nonprofit and are active in restoration. http://www.saveourcemeteries.org/

Print out the coupons online from the Good times Guide- 2 for 1 on the boat tours- worthwhile at 2 for $18. For music- Preservation hall is a must.
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Old Feb 9th, 2004, 08:20 AM
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Another vote for staying in the FQ so that it will be easy for you to go your seperate ways, meet back later, and so on.

Also, by staying in the FQ you will be able to more easily take an early morning stroll through the streets. One of my favorite memories of our trip was walking through the streets about 8am after the streets had been cleaned and the shop owners were opening up their stores. The streets were cool and quiet, not many people around - wonderful.

We were there in mid May and we had a mix of weather. We had rain, humidity, warm temperatures, gloriously sunny days with low humidity. I'd bring warm weather clothing with a couple things for cooler weather and a rain jacket.
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Old Feb 10th, 2004, 01:51 AM
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We chose the Drury for these reasons: Good Reviews...Very Good Package thru Expedia (it's not inexpensive to fly out of Burl. VT.)...It seems close enough to the FQ but far enough away to allow us to be out of the "action" should we choose.(just a few short blocks to FQ, right?) My wife and I are early risers and I'm sure the kids will be out later and sleep 'til noon so we have booked separate rooms. Also, the Drury touts it's rooftop pool/hot tub and that appealed to us. Thanks to all for some great tips! We've kicked around a rental car for the Plantations Route. Is traffic a big problem in NO?
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Old Feb 10th, 2004, 05:42 AM
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I have to disagree, the FQ is superior for location and you are misinformed about the "action"- I'm assuming you mean the "party hardy Bourbon St crowd"?? It's a totally different world 1 block away. You're location is through some pretty "dead" areas that I would be concerned about when dark. With your "deal"- it'll be a wash adding cabs. I have driven NO several times and no problem for me. But I can drive anywhere. The plantations are on a 2 lane road that isn't bumper to bumper traffic.
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Old Feb 10th, 2004, 07:26 AM
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I don't know why all these folks are recommending some other location when you say clearly you have already booked your flights and lodging. To make the best of the Drury, you probably will have to take a taxi to most places.

The weather information you've gotten is about right. May is usually warm and can have some rain, but not any totally rainy or overcast days. Highs in May will probably be around 80-85, lows around 70. It's really a good time to go.

If you haven't finalized your food choices, you might consider one or more of these favorites of mine:
-Mulate's
-Redfish Grill
-Jacques-Imo's
-Gabriella's
-Maspero
-Acme Oyster House
-Marigny Brasserie
-Mandina's for lunch
-Old N'Awlins Cookery
But of course there are almost no bad places to eat in New Orleans. Some of the junkiest looking places put out the best food.

Renting a car to see the plantations is absolutely the only way to do it. As for swamp tours, take them only if you really like swamps and alligators. For me, I can do without it.

The NO Museum of Art is nice for an hour or two break for culture. The stroll along the river from the FQ down to the River Walk area and its shops is enjoyable. Of course, the main architecture is either the style of the old buildings in the FQ or the grand mansions in the Garden District.

You'll have to search a bit for genuine Dixieland jazz, and Preservation Hall is one of the few spots left. In most places that used to have Dixieland music 40 years, ago, it has now been replaced with raucous and discordant modern junk, including rap. (Guess that shows my age) Good luck.



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Old Feb 10th, 2004, 08:06 AM
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We have stayed at the Drury Inn many times. They have a very good breakfast (complimentary). While it is a good walk to the riverwalk and french quarter, it it is raining you will definitely want a cab. We have walked back from the riverwalk/french quarter at night but we were in a large group. If you're down there after dark and only 2 of you, I would definitely take a cab. It isn't that hard to drive in NO if you rent a car. There is a place about 2 blocks from drury on the other side of Poydras called Mothers. Great fried shrimp and oysters. Don't let the outside of it scare you. There is usually a line outside. Mulates is another good place for food and cajun music. Also try the gumbo shop several blocks over from Jackson Square. Don't miss the beignets at Cafe Du Monde across from Jackson Square.
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Old Feb 11th, 2004, 04:37 AM
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I don't know- and maybe it's totally me, but Mother's has taken a dive compared to my first visits several years ago. The Ferdi- now made with cold meat and the no more real "debris" it looked more like shredded beef??? With so many wonderful places- I think I'll be skipping Mother's in the future. Am I off the mark- did I hit an off week???
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Old Feb 11th, 2004, 05:40 AM
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Dear cruss99
The recommendations to rent a car for plantations and to visit the Laura and Oak Alley are excellent. These 2 plantations are near one another and are different types of plantations. The Laura is where the Brer Rabbit stories originated. Outside of Preservation Hall, some of the best jazz will be found in the form of street muscians. Some very good ones play in front of the St. Louis Cathederal, also along the riverwalk of the Mississippi. Your kids might like one of the cemetary tours (do take a tour, the cemetaries are not safe to go on your own, sadly, due to muggers.)
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 02:01 AM
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ttt
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Old Feb 21st, 2004, 05:48 AM
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You should have a great time. If the kids like mysticism then do have them go to Bottom of the Cup tearoom on Royal St (600 or 700 block)for a tarot card reading.When I went it was so accurate it was spooky. Same for my young sister-in-law. I was sure to give no hints & it went way beyond the typical sort of mumbo jumbo. They will do a short read & it is very close in price to what the "psychics" around Jackson Square charge. I took my daughter & 2 friends for a reading & they picked a reader near St Louis Cathedral. They were in hysterics over how wrong the reading was.

For a different source of music try Louisiana Music Factory. It's across from the House of Blues & usually has local musicians play on the weekend. They have a website where you can check it out. Also a good source for buying music.

Go to these sites for info on local happenings.
http://www.bestofneworleans.com/
http://www.nola.com
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 07:06 AM
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benj: thanks for the great tips!
We'll be sure to check out the sights and sites you mentioned.
csr
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 12:06 PM
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The location of the Drury isn't bad at all...as you said, just a few short blocks from Poydras to Canal. You shouldn't need cabs to get to the FQ or to the riverfront, unless it is pouring rain. It's not even that dicey at night.

It will definitely be warm here compared to Vermont...that is shorts weather here. Be prepared for the humidity. However, it won't be miserably hot yet either... probably not any higher than 90, if it even gets that high. It's a great time of year to be here. The Greek Festival is probably that weekend.,..worth looking into!

Enjoy your trip!

Anne
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Old Mar 1st, 2004, 02:55 AM
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Thanks, Anne.
Your response was greatly appreciated!
csr
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Old Mar 1st, 2004, 05:39 AM
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The March National Geographic Traveler has a nice article on NO . .

Rich
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Old Apr 2nd, 2004, 02:29 AM
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topping
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Old Apr 4th, 2004, 12:15 PM
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cruss....going back to your original post to try to answer some questions.

Try the free walking tour of the FQ given by the National Park service. Great history lessons. I would recommend renting a car and driving yourself to plantations rather than taking a tour (much more bang for the buck, and you can get a guided tour at the plantations themselves). However, if you want a tour, GrayLine and NO Tours are both reputable companies. I've only done the Grayline city tour (when some friends were visiting), and it was a good overview of the city.

There are also some walking tours in the Garden District, which has some beautiful homes. Definitely stick with a tour in that area ... you want to be with someone who knows where they are and where you shouldn't wander off too.

There are several swamp tour companies .. I've been on the one in Jean Lafitte park several times, and I've heard that Honey Island Tours does a nice job.

There are lots of threads here about food, with lots of different opinions. Really depends on budget and your tastes about casual vs. formal. My very favorite thing to do for special occasions is lunch at Commanders... same great food and service as at dinner for wayyyy less $$ (not to mention quarter martinis at lunch on Friday... hey..you only turn 40 once!) I also like Jacques-Imos (in the Carrollton/Riverbend area) ... very casual, great food, reasonable prices, but long waits.

Your kids won't have any trouble finding places to party in the FQ. I don't go to bars much, but when I do (again, when people are visiting!), we go to the piano bar at Pat O's. Preservation Hall (next door to Pat O's) is great for jazz.

There are probably several festivals that weekend, which are always fun. Check out the Times-Pic on the Friday before you come (Lagniappe section) or pick up a Gambit when you get here.

Hope this helps...enjoy your trip.

Anne
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Old Apr 4th, 2004, 07:01 PM
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Brigsten's at the far end of St. Charles is our favorite and dependalbe restaurant. Must have reservations though. Dressy casual.
The street cars are great to get the
real feel of the different areas and to
rest your weary feet. At the end of Canal by Riverwalk is a free Ferry that is free for pedestrians and runs frequently for another interesting view
while resting tired feet. Can not stress "cool clothes" enough. Wonderful city.
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Old Apr 5th, 2004, 07:42 AM
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I think that the Drury Inn's location is not that much of a liability, except possibly after dark. Actually the Quarter and CBD have about the lowest crime stats in our city.
You will be on a trolley line called the Vieux Carre shuttle. It is a rubber- tired vintage trolley that will take you by the convention center, riverwalk, downtown via St. Peter/Decatur street into the Marigny neighborhood. Traveling on it uptown takes you right up Dauphine street and back to Poydras and Corondolette. The shuttle stops running around 8pm though. I used to ride it in conjunction with the St. Charles streetcar when traveling from uptown to the Marigny triangle. It's an interesting and local way to get around.Sort of like taking the electric trolleys in Rome.
I wear shorts in New Orleans starting in March. We are in a sub-tropical zone so it rarely gets cool in May. Summer is the wettest time of year here, but you can never count out rain in a city that gets 60 inches a year. I agree that some more formal attire should be brought along for many of our finer restaurants.
New Orleans is a very spiritual city. I was told by a tour guide that we have 70,000 or so voodoo practitioners. I don't know if I believe that number,but I guarantee you that I no longer belittle their religion and I advise the same. The French Quarter ghost tours are very popular. I did not believe in ghost until I moved to this city. Seems like everyone has more than one ghost story to tell. It's odd. It is also unusual in that it is a heavily Catholic city in the middle of the deep south. We have beautiful old Catholic churches here. I think that St. Alphonse in Uptown is almost as lovely (inside) as Sacre Coure. The Irish, German, and French immigrants did build lovely churches. Bourbon is full of music as is Decatur street. Preservation hall is for pure, classical jazz.Not my cup of tea, but there is usually a long line to get into it. Pat O'Brien's in the quarter is popular with locals and tourist for it's beautiful courtyard and famous hurricane drinks. The Court of Two Sisters (Royal st.) is one of my favorite quarter restaurants as is Baccos (Chartres st.)and Petunias( St. Louis.)Irene's on Chartres (and Ursuline?) is very good and popular. I love Brigsten's uptown at Riverbend for an early and inexpensive 3 course dinner (5-6pm?) will cost you under $20 for great food. Commander's Palace , in the Garden District has some of the best service and food anywhere. I have always felt like a VIP there. We have so many great restaurants here that it is really hard to narrow them down. Some of the already mentioned eateries have good food and reputations:
Mulate's -I found it pricey and touristy
-Redfish Grill-Owned by the great Brennon family.
-Jacques-Imo's-great reputation.
-Gabriella's- well respected
-Maspero- I didn't like it
-Acme Oyster House-Over rated in my opinion
-Marigny Brasserie- I like it.
-Mandina's for lunch - Old New Orleans feel. Interesting place, but food fair.
Old N'Awlins Cookery -?
Mothers- packed with tourist
Cafe Du Monde - seems like a must.
I agree with the writer who said to walk in the quarter early before the crowds arrive. The downriver side of the quarter is more residential and less touristy. Walking the Garden district uptown is a lovely way to view the grand old homes and gardens. New Orleans has an abundance of flora. Jackson Square, Waldenberg park (along the river), our zoo, Pirates alley in the quarter are all interesting and beautiful places.
Lastly I agree with renting a car and driving up river road to see plantations. I have enjoyed Houmas house, Nottaway,and Oak Alley plantations. I have wanted to see the "working " plantation called Laura. Nottaway is the furthest away and it is only 80 miles. Have fun and I advise that you walk to rid yourself of the extra pounds that this town will put on you. Tim
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