Sunday, July 19, 2015

New Orleans 2015 Road Trip

A little jazz as you read if you please ...
After a night in Memphis (previous post), on Tuesday morning it was time for the family to head back into the van for another 400-mile trip further south to New Orleans. I made hotel reservations at a place that was highly rated at
I wanted the family to get a feel for what it would be like to really live in the French Quarter. The Inn on Ursulines did not disappoint. It was really more of a bed and breakfast type place without the breakfast. And best of all, it was located right near the quiet end of Bourbon Street. Time from the inn to Bourbon Street -- about 30 seconds!
We were there for three nights and focused most of our time in the French Quarter. None of us had been to New Orleans before, and now that we are home, I can truly say that we had an excellent time!
Some of the things we did included: Having beignets and coffee au lait at Café du Monde...
Visiting historic buildings like the Cathedral - Basilica of St. Louis King of France...
Sampling some of the night life on Bourbon Street, including (as suggested by PPP) the Hand Grenade -- "New Orleans' Most Powerful Drink..."

And taking a swap tour in nearby Slidell -- featuring alligators and feral hogs...

And of course, eating! Aside from Café du Monde, French Quarter restaurants we ate at included ...

Deanie's Seafood -- we loved everything there including Stuffed Flounder, Stuffed Crab, Barbecue Shrimp Pasta, Shrimp Po-Boy and Softshell Crab Po-Boy. Not exactly cheap, but excellent fresh seafood.

The Praline Connection -- great cajun-creole soul food including Fried Chicken Wings, Jambalaya, Shrimp Po-Boy, Aligator Po-Boy, Collard Greens and Cabbage Greens. Tasty!

Louisiana Pizza Kitchen -- pretty good pizza, salads and soup. My son ordered the special -- Lamb Meatballs -- which were supposed to be served on a "bed of cucumbers." His meal turned out to be three dinky meatballs, each on a slice of cucumber. Bed of cucumbers? This is the one place where I would not return. The food was okay, service was meh and we paid way too much for what we got.

Jimmy J's Café --  Excellent food including Eggplant Sandwich, Chicken & Andouille Gumbo, Philly Cheese Steak and Fried Shrimp and Oyster Po-Boy. Excellent value!

Central Grocery --  No way would I visit New Orleans without getting a Muffuletta, so I went to the place that is acknowledged as the creator of the sandwich. It was very good and reasonably priced (for the French Quarter, of course!).

The family (minus Mrs. lightning) decided to visit the Museum of Death. Based on Yelp ratings, which were all over the board, I was not sure if this place would be any good. The kids absolutely loved it and I thought it was pretty good. There were interesting things like a John Wayne Gacy painting and letters from several famous killers. Pictures of Sharon Tate and Nicole Simpson were unreal. This is not a place to go if gory stuff makes you squeamish. The best part was that we were the last visitors of the day and the guy running the museum spoke with us for about 20 minutes.

And of course, how could I possibly pass up playing poker at Harrah's New Orleans when I could walk to it from my room? This poker room doesn't seem to have much buzz, and I can understand why. A floor person wasn't sure of the rules of a promotion. There seemed to be a pervasive negative atmosphere, including some negative comments I heard from players and dealers. It seemed like several people were not afraid to voice their displeasure at how the room was run. I did get in three sessions here while my family was crashed, sleeping or doing other things. I made a profit in two of the three sessions and was headed for a winning third session when chasers and variance bit me in the butt, changing a nice win into a nominal loss. I did enjoy playing here, though, and certainly would again.

Outside of the swamp tour, we did not attempt to leave the French Quarter as there was so much to see and do. While my kids expressed a wish that we would be staying for longer than three nights, I was pretty sure that the long drives and being away from home for almost a week would take its toll on them. I do know, however, that we all loved New Orleans and would come back in a second if the opportunity presents itself. If (When) my wife and I return, we will fly instead and work on visiting other New Orleans restaurants and areas of interest.

We loved walking around New Orleans and were pleased with how polite everyone was. We only ran into one rude person just as we were leaving. Since neither my wife nor I are foodies, we were not concerned with eating at any of the high-end restaurants. However, even with going to moderately priced restaurants in the French Quarter, we did not have one bad meal. I am not a big drinker and did not consume a whole lot of alcohol on Bourbon Street, but the sleazy, party atmosphere was interesting and fun. The temperature was really hot, which we expected since we went in July, but as long as we stayed hydrated and occasionally stopped in air conditioned places, we were fine. All in all, it was a wonderful trip!

Next post: One more stop in Memphis on the way home.


Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

New Orleans has some nice bus day trips. One I enjoyed was the Katrina Tour where they show all the stuff related to the great hurricane. Glad to hear you had a good time.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Pete P. Peters said...

It's been a while since I've been to NO. My last trip followed a weekend in Baton Rouge for an LSU game at death valley. We rolled into Bourbon Street the Sunday after the game, and proceeded to keep the party going. We went to Tropical Aisle, of course (as any good tourist would). You'll note the Jaeger "Special" in the picture you posted. Well, the 5 of us, drunk idiots we were back then (and, arguably, still are), we bought thirty (30). Our plan was to use them to make "friends" with some of the female talent. Except, no one would accept our shots. So, the five of us ended up finishing them all. The night went down hill. We woke up next morning with out hotel door wide open. Like, as in, open to the street. Fun memories. Thanks!

3:26 PM  
Blogger thundering36 said...

Don't you feel ancient having two children old enough to take drinking on Bourbon Street?

Stopping at the cathedral does not grant you an indulgence for the drunken debauchery, u see.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Tino said...

Thanks for writing this review. NO is on my GF and I's list of places to visit. Problem is it is 14hrs drive from here and she does not like flying, nor long car drives. Maybe this will help me get her on a plane.

2:06 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

@Tino -- It was a 12-hour drive for us, so we stayed overnight halfway in Memphis on the way there and back. It is a long drive. My wife and I plan to return, but we'll fly next time. Convince your girlfriend to fly there with you and stay in the French Quarter. You are almost guaranteed to have a great time.

12:32 PM  

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