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-   -   Road Trip Around (But Avoiding) New Orleans 2/15 - 2/18 (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/road-trip-around-but-avoiding-new-orleans-2-15-2-18-a-1005396/)

TotheMoonAlice Feb 10th, 2014 12:43 PM

Road Trip Around (But Avoiding) New Orleans 2/15 - 2/18
 
I hope there's no offense in my saying my boyfriend and I recently booked a trip to New Orleans, having no idea the dates coincided with Mardi Gras -- we'd already booked the flights before noticing how highly the hotel priced and full were the hotels, then we figured it out.

After discovering the flight change fees, we decided to take the flights and rent a car in New Orleans and drive around nearby areas for a few days. He'd like Baton Rouge to be on the list -- I'm not sure if it's better to stay there all three nights, but perhaps using Baton Rouge as a base would be better than going to 2 - 3 different hotels.

We thought a riverboat trip or swamp tour might be great -- suggestions?

I have a kind of dumb notion that back-road jazz or blues houses might still exist somewhere (like the far from town locations) -- but maybe I'm dreaming. Does such a thing exist in the area (or anywhere--just out of curiosity)?

WE LOVE

Cajun/Creole food
Barbecue
live jazz, blues (not zydeco so much)
interesting downtown areas
vintage-y cocktail bars
atmospheric restaurants
scenic drives or water travel
smaller or mid-sized, classy or historical hotels (though B&Bs tend to seem expensive for not having a television)
wildlife, aquariums
natural history/ science museums

NOT SO MUCH

crowded places
parades
art museums
historical home tours
hunting
shopping destinations
big, flashy hotels
cheap hotels

I would love any suggestions anyone would have for places to stay, where to drive to -- or just a rundown of what you'd do.

Thanks so much!

suewoo Feb 10th, 2014 02:02 PM

I stayed in Thibodeau with a nice couple at their B&B:

http://www.naquinsbb.com/home.php

They feed you good and know all kinds of stuff about the area. There's a much smaller Mardi Gras parade there. Riding out through the bayou is fun.

WorldGallery Feb 10th, 2014 02:28 PM

I think BR as a base could work well, depending on exactly what you would like to do. BR is an hour east of Lafayette. There you can go to the Acadian Cultural Center, which is excellent and well done (focuses on the story of the Cajuns). They also have a nice downtown and a science museum (don't know much about the science museum). Then you are an hour away from Global Wildlife Center (to the East of BR). I highly recommended their private Pinz tour or you can go on their reg. wagon tour. This is an amazing place where you will see the animals up close and can feed them. The highlight for our family was being in the private jeep (pinz) having 4 giraffes come up to our jeep. We fed them directly from our hands and they stayed around us for about 20 minutes. Amazing! You feel like you can be in Africa.
BR is also about an hour away from Covington and Abita Springs. They both have amazing history and very unique little bars and restaurants. Covington has a a downtown and does have a much smaller Mardi Gras day with a small parade, small crowds with a local friendly atmosphere.

november_moon Feb 10th, 2014 05:33 PM

I think I would choose Lafayette over Baton Rouge - it is a smaller city and I think it will be a better experience for what you want to do.

If you find yourself in the town of Breaux Bridge, be sure to check out Café des Amis - wonderful food, neat atmosphere. They have music sometimes too - I know that the big draw is the zydeco brunch, which of course isn't high on your list of musical choices, but they might have (non-zydeco) music other days too - check out their web site.

WorldGallery Feb 10th, 2014 06:58 PM

I agree with choosing a smaller city but again, it depends on what you are interested in the most and how central you would like to be. Do keep in mind that most of the smaller cities will have some type of Mardi Gras celebration and a parade of some kind, though it won't be anything like New Orleans with the crowds and traffic.
There are many Bed and Breakfast options in the Abita Springs area. You can check some out at:
http://www.louisiananorthshore.com/cms/d/lodging.php


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