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Recap of our trip to New Orleans in August 2008

Destin, Florida
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Recap of our trip to New Orleans in August 2008

We arrived on Monday, August 12, 2008, departed Friday, August 15, so we avoided the weekend crowds.

Hotel

- Stayed at Le Pavillon, 833 Poydras, corner of Poydras and Barrone. We booked our stay through Orbitz, actually went to TripAdvisor and used their search hotel process to compare rates between Orbitz, Expedia & Hotels.com. The price through the Le Pavillon web sight was $229 per night, Expedia $179, Hotels.com $129, Orbitz $97. With our reservation we got one free night of parking at the hotel, actually when we checked in they gave us free parking for our entire stay - usually cost $32 per night.

No doubt the BEST hotel we have ever stayed at; the employees fall over themselves making sure you enjoy your visit. The concierge ( Mark especially ) and Justin were extremely helpful in suggesting places to eat and things to do ( Lou, woman, was not that helpful ).

We rarely eat at hotels and did not eat at this one. We did enjoy evening drinks in the lounge talking to Grace, who was also helpful with suggestions on where to eat and what to do. www.lepavillon.com

Where we ate...

Breakfast -

-Petunias - ( got this recommendation from a person we met, not the hotel) quality was not great, potatoes and toast were cold, prices on the high side, portions HUGH - would not go back. www.petuniasrestaurant.com

-Stop 9, 1432 St Charles, - has it's own parking lot, food was very good, prices reasonable, atmosphere ok - would go back www.stop9nola.com

-Surrey's, 1415 Magazine, can park on street, no meters, food was excellent, prices very reasonable, atmosphere very good - the best place we found for breakfast www.surreyscafeandjuicebar.com

-Brennan's, 417 Royal in French Quarter, between Conti and St Louis, went here because I was there 25 years ago and remembered how good the eggs benedict were - big mistake. Their menu has as breakfast 3 course meal - starter, entree, dessert - we did not want that much food so we both ordered eggs benedict al-a-cart; they were not listed on the menu and we did not ask the price. Now we eat breakfast out about 5 days a week, and travel a lot in the US and outside the US, but we have never had a $100 breakfast before, until now - the eggs benedict were $28 each and consisted of regular eggs benedict and 1/2 baked tomato....no potato, no fruit. Those with 2 Bloody Mary's and tip was $98. It was nice but we would not go back. www.brennansneworleans.com

Lunch

Didn't eat lunch, usually had a late breakfast, couple of drinks as we walked around shopping and a fairly early dinner.

Dinner

-Leonardo's Trattoria, 709 St Charles, can park on street, this was our first night and since we had driven most of the day we just went for a pizza, but it was very good, price was reasonable, they do not have a web sight but good comments here chowhound.chow.com/topics/525305

-Emerils Delmonico, 1300 St Charles, valet parking, very / very good, atmosphere / service are excellent, prices reasonable emerils.com/restaurant/3/Emerils-Delmonico/

- Pelican Club, 312 Exchange Place in the French Quarter ( between Bienville & Conti ), also very / very good, atmosphere / service are excellent, prices reasonable - as good as Delmonico. www.pelicanclub.com

- Bourbon House, 144 Bourbon Street, we walked to it, really tough to park in the French Quarter, it was ok, had appetizer and salad since we had been munching / drinking our way around the French Quarter all day..probably would not go back. www.bourbonhouse.co

What did we do

- Walked a LOT, the hotel was only 4 blocks from the French Quarter and street parking in the Quarter is tough to find, you usually have to park in a public lot which is expensive and probably not close to where you are going. The French Quarter is 13 blocks by about 7 blocks, but only 1/2 of it is where shops / restaurants are located - from Canal Street to Dumaine and Bourbon to St Peters is where everything is located, the rest is apartments or deserted buildings.

- We used the street car service one day and that was fun...one runs down Canal street to the river, another down the riverfront from French Market to just past the convention center, another runs down St Charles through the Garden District. We bought a daily pass for $5 each, that allows you to get off and on as much as you want for the day / evening....otherwise it is $1.25 each time you get off and on.

- We drove through the Garden District and looked at the old homes and shopping. They have a Garden District Walking Tour map that the hotel gave us, and are we glad we didn't walk it. The tour covers about 30 blocks with about 17 homes to see; you cannot go in any of them, you just walk past and look at them. They are pretty but walking it would have been too much; driving past worked well and since there was very little traffic we could stop and look as long as we wanted, so like walking it but a lot easier.

- Went to the French Market and were disappointed, like a big flea market, lot of tables selling the same stuff - jewelry, tee shirts, hats, trinkets, etc - although the prices there are cheaper than in the shops.

- Were going to take a "Swamp Tour" but some of the locals we met said don't do it this time of the year, to hot, to many bugs, would be very uncomfortable..said best time to do that is November - February, when it is a lot cooler.

Houston, Texas
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1. Re: Recap of our trip to New Orleans in August 2008

Taking a swamp tour during the winter months is a two-edged sword. Granted, it's much cooler, but you won't see nearly as many critters as you will in the summer months. Since alligators are usually in hibernation at that time, they're rarely seen.

Moncton, Canada
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2. Re: Recap of our trip to New Orleans in August 2008

Great report, thank you. Very informative with the web links and evrything. I love the long ones. :)

Cliff Island, Maine
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3. Re: Recap of our trip to New Orleans in August 2008

Thanks for the report.

Boston, MA
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for Bequia, St. Vincent
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4. Re: Recap of our trip to New Orleans in August 2008

How did you find walking home from the French Quarter to the hotel? Did you feel safe? Wondering about that area and coming home late at night from the FQ.

Mitchell, South...
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5. Re: Recap of our trip to New Orleans in August 2008

Why risk it? Take a cab home to that hotel late at nite.

Stuck in North Texas
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6. Re: Recap of our trip to New Orleans in August 2008

Thanks for the long, detailed Trip Report. It had lots of interesting information and so much better than guidebooks that are out of date. I love to read where actual people stay, go, do and eat - especially the visitors - so it's factual. We're going to have to try Surrey's for breakfast!

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Recap of our trip to New Orleans in August 2008

Deserted buildings? In the French Quarter? Sorry, but no. Any vacant building in the FQ is usually in the process of being rehabbed. Now some buildings make LOOK deserted but rest assured they are occupied.

Rents in the FQ are still the highest in the city. So much so that realtors tend to leave their signs hanging on apartments long after they rent them. It makes the area look like it has a lot of vacant units but the reality is a 98%+ occupancy rate.

New York City, New...
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8. Re: Recap of our trip to New Orleans in August 2008

I'd also add that the residential side of the Quarter (from St. Ann to Esplanade) has quite a few small restaurants, shops, bars, etc sprinkled in with residential units. In fact, I think this area along with the nearby Faubourg Marigny is the "hip" place to stay for those want to avoid the more touristy areas.

You're right, though, that Canal to St. Ann is the primary commercial part of the French Quarter.

Calgary
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9. Re: Recap of our trip to New Orleans in August 2008

Swamp Tour - I have been on the Honey Island Tour twice during August. Last year was very hot but you are in a boat with a cover and a breeze. This year not so hot. I really recommend it. Take lots of water. There were no bugs either time, it is not stagnant water so no mosquitoes.

Garden Tour - We did the self guided tour last year. As we were walking past a beautiful home, the door opened and a lovely older gentlemen asked us if we wanted a tour of his home. Of course we said yes, and in we went.It was so generous and kind. He also gave my daughter some dubloons left over from his Krewe.

Cliff Island, Maine
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10. Re: Recap of our trip to New Orleans in August 2008

I was going to mention that about the deserted buildings comment but I didn't want to seem overly critical. I find it hard to believe that there are deserted buildings there. That is some of the most sought after real estate in the area. There are many rehabs going on but empty deserted buildings? Not even in this tough economy. Now come up to Ohio here and we'll show you deserted buildings.