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Spend whole anniv. week in New Orleans?

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Sep 23rd, 2013, 07:25 PM
  #1
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Spend whole anniv. week in New Orleans?

Hi,

We'll be celebrating our 10th anniversary in early February and are leaning toward New Orleans for our destination. Neither of us have ever been. We're in our early 50's, from Philly area, and enjoy hearing live music, interesting architecture, delicious local food, outdoor cafes, parks/gardens/other forms of nature. Assuming my current bad knee will be fine by then, we're also big walkers when we travel.

We travel on the slow side, and will have one week. So we're mostly thinking we'd spend the whole week in NO, but are wondering a little about possibly adding a second destination. What would you do, and why?

Thanks,
Laura
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 08:38 PM
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Hi Laura, my husband and I actually spent a week honeymooning in NOLA (we were in our late 30's-early 40's at the time). There are so many things to do, see & eat in NOLA that you can easily spend a week.

There are great walking tours in organized around various themes. We did two: Courtyards in the French Quarter & The Garden District (after walking around the Garden District we had lunch at Commander's Palace, which I would highly recommend).
There is a paddleboat that goes to a battlefield where the last battle of the War of 1812 was fought.
We took a tour of two plantations: Oak Alley and The Laura Plantation. (we didn't have a car, so the tour was the perfect way to see the plantations).
We also went out on an airboat tour of the swamp to see alligators, etc.

And of course you'll want to spend time strolling, dining, etc.
Depending on what you like to see and do, it is quite possible to plan a whole week in New Orleans.
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Sep 23rd, 2013, 08:51 PM
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Hi Laura,
I'm from New Orleans so I know a little about the area. First early February is close to Mardi Gras anything past Feb 20 and you will have parades to contend with. You'll probably like them, most people do. If you like good food, drink, music and fun you will love it here, there are lots of each. I would use New Orleans as a hub for some day trips if you want to venture away from the city. Just upriver from the city are many great plantation's to visit. The Mississippi Gulf Coast (2 hours east) offers a lot. An drive to Natchez Ms (great antebellum houses also) for an overnight stay is nice too. In the city, for music there is House of Blues, Howling Wolf, several places on Frenchman Street. Food- everywhere, anything local. Ride the street car down St. Charles for architecture.
Hope you have fun.
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Sep 24th, 2013, 06:17 AM
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you might do the river road plantations and the Vicksburg battlefield.

http://www.louisianatravel.com/river-road-plantations
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Sep 24th, 2013, 07:25 AM
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If you wanted to travel on the slow side, you could take the Amtrak Crescent from Philadelphia. You could add a night in Atlanta if you wanted to.
Prices seem to increase in NO during Mardi Gras.
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Sep 24th, 2013, 01:14 PM
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We also spent our honeymoon in NOLA and we have returned for our 5th and 10th anniversaries. I am already thinking about our 15th, which was also plan to spend in NOLA. Anybody detecting a pattern?

Definitely consider the dates of Mardi Gras when planning your trip. Attending Mardi Gras would be a great way to celebrate an anniversary (IMO), but the city will be busy and expensive at that time. OTOH, you might be inclined to schedule your trip so as to avoid Mardi Gras.

I think that there is plenty to do in NOLA for a week. On our first trip, we took a couple guided half day trips out the city - we were there for a week also. We went on a swamp tour and a planation tour.

On our 2nd trip to NOLA, we had 9 days and we divided the time between NOLA and Cajun country - we rented a car and spend a few days in the Breaux Bridge/New Iberia area. That was really neat - little towns, bayous, Avery Island, etc.

On our 3rd trip we stayed in NOLA for almost a week for French Quarter Fest, which was phenomenal.

Next trip, I think we will spend some time in NOLA and then take off north on a music-themed road trip up to Memphis.
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Sep 24th, 2013, 02:16 PM
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Mardi Gras isn't until March 4 so early Feb should be good. Visiting NOLA for the first time, I'd avoid Mardi Gras anyway because you can't really see the city.

I've lived here 40 years and always find new things to do. It's not a boring place. However, a week may be a little long though. Maybe a ride up to Natchez, MS beautiful antebellum town on the river, would be a good second stop.
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Sep 25th, 2013, 05:37 AM
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Thanks, everyone, for the helpful advice. I'm not a big crowd person, so we're definitely avoiding Mardi Gras, tho' other people's pics are always fun to look at! Sounds like planning a week would be fine, knowing that if we feel the need/desire we could rent a car (not planning to, originally) to do a side trip or two.

I have another question that might sound a little silly, but it's on our minds while still in process of deciding if this will definitely be our destination, so will ask it anyway. We're not big drinkers. I tend to have one glass of wine or beer for an evening, dh might have a little more but lately not as he's been successfully losing weight (no illusions that we'll lose weight on vacation, but wouldn't want to gain a lot, either!). Also, while not minding slight drunkenness of others, over the top is something we dislike being around.

So many people emphasize the drinking when talking about NO vacations...will sitting at a club to enjoy music without much drinking, be acceptable enough not to cause overly negative looks or comments that would be a downer on vacation? Is the drunkenness of others a constant issue in the French Quarter at night, even not during any festivals?

Thanks again for your help!
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Sep 25th, 2013, 05:44 AM
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<<...will sitting at a club to enjoy music without much drinking, be acceptable enough not to cause overly negative looks or comments that would be a downer on vacation?>>

There are plenty of people who don't drink, or don't drink much. It won't be a problem.

Now, will there be drunk people in the FQ? Probably.
Will everyone be drunk? Of course not.
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Sep 25th, 2013, 07:37 AM
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You certainly don't have to drink a lot to go to the nightclubs. There is plenty of drinking that goes on here. That being said the majority of the obnoxious drinkers are tourists who hang out on Bourbon St. Locals don't hang out on Bourbon St. and while drinking may be a part of the culture, people here drink to enhance a social situation not to get dead drunk. That's no fun.

Do not get a hotel with a balcony on Bourbon St. Go to Bourbon St. once and that's enough (Galatoire's Restaurant is the only reason we ever go on Bourbon). There's an entire city out there beyond that one street and it doesn't in any way define New Orleans.
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Sep 25th, 2013, 12:50 PM
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As long as you stay away from Bourbon Street you shouldn't have to contend with too many drunks. We usually at Le Richelieu hotel on the other end of the French Quarter. It's old, funky and quiet, close to Frenchmen Street where there are a lot of music clubs, a few blocks walk from Jackson Square, and fairly convenient to the Streetcar.

There is plenty to do in and around NO for a week.
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Sep 25th, 2013, 12:51 PM
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No one cares if you are drinking alcohol or not - people are too busy having a good time to even notice what other people are drinking. Some clubs have drink minimums, but even then it is rare for the employees of the club to pay much attention to that and the drinks you order need not be alcoholic anyway.
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Sep 25th, 2013, 12:53 PM
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"As long as you stay away from Bourbon Street..."

And it isn't even all of Bourbon St - just a few blocks near Canal St are where the clubs are. The rest is basically just a mix of residential and commercial.
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Sep 25th, 2013, 05:58 PM
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Ah, thank you all, I feel relieved, and able to look forward to beginning to plan our trip in earnest!

The swamp tour sounds interesting but dh who in general is not a very fearful person, has a bit of a phobia about snakes. But it sounds like there is plenty else to do!

Am excited, as I've been told it's the closest thing to a European feel that the U.S. has, and also the weather early Feb. sounds likely to be mid 60s or so, which is what it was today in Phila. and it was beautiful. Plus, I love all kinds of seafood.

I'll be reading up on past threads and trip reports now, and on other sites too, but if anyone wants to chime in with additional favorite hotels, things to do, favorite restaurants both casual and for one splurge, etc., I'm all ears.
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Sep 26th, 2013, 12:59 AM
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We spent four days in New Orleans last November, we are not big drinkers but love music. We spent each night on Frenchmen St. We usually had a meal and a glass of wine and just sat and listened to the bands. We did walk down Bourbon St on the way back to our hotel one night and that was enough for me. Liked it in the day-time though.
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Sep 26th, 2013, 01:02 AM
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During the day we did a Free Tours by Foot Walking tour of the Garden District. There is also one of the French Quarter which would have been interesting but ran out of time.

We also rode the St Charles Streetcar to the end and back to the city just for fun. Loved the art at Jackson Square. Took a ride on the Paddle Steamer, we loved our time in New Orleans.
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Sep 26th, 2013, 05:23 AM
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I agree that no one will care one bit if you are drinking. You will see a lot of drinking and drunken behavior, not always confined to Bourbon Street. For us, smoking as become a bigger detriment as it's only prohibited in restaurants and it seems like every other person on the street is smoking as New Orleans is one of the few places that still allows smoking in bars/clubs that don't serve food (thus attracting a higher share of vacationing smokers).

We are fans of the Dauphine Orleans (hotel) for its central but relatively quiet location, charm and reasonable price.
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Sep 26th, 2013, 06:26 AM
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Laura, may I suggest the W in the French Quarter? It's very European in fact when you're in the courtyard admiring the architecture you will have no idea you're in the states. It's in a busy part of the Quarter but amazingly quiet. Good restaurant there, SoBou for small plates, which is run by the same Brennans that own Commander's Palace. Probably my favorite hotel for its ambiance. Also like the Soniat House and of course the Windsor Court. If you want a more traditional hotel the Westin in Canal Place has great views of the city.
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Sep 26th, 2013, 09:40 AM
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I have a huge phobia of snakes too, but I have been on a few swamp tours and they were great. I haven't seen any snakes in the bayou, actually. I've seen lots of alligators, turtles, various types of birds, dragon flies, spiders, etc. but no snakes. I know they are out there, but I haven't seen them.
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Sep 26th, 2013, 05:08 PM
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Thanks for so many ideas, all, I'll be following up on them. Walking tours sound great. I read on someone else's thread about a cooking class with lunch after, and that sounded fun, too. November_moon, too many people in the reviews mention the snakes, for dh to be willing. So I'll just have to decide whether I care enough about it to do it on my own one morning.

Anyone have any idea what would be considered a good flight price Phila. - NO? I'm seeing $250 rt per ticket which seems pretty good to me but there's certainly time to wait if even better deals are common.
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