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December 26th...sickly hubby and Saints!!

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for New Orleans
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December 26th...sickly hubby and Saints!!

I woke up early, didn't sleep very well because of Gary's many trips to the bathroom and worrying about him. He was finally able to get some sleep, but when I volunteered to make a very early morning run to Walgreen's to get some medicine, he didn't argue! I hurriedly dressed and ran a comb thru my hair and headed to Walgreen's thru the light mist and very heavy fog, about 7 a.m. I love being in the Quarter so early, I probably only passed a handful of other early risers on my way to Walgreen's. Got Gary some anti-nausea and diarrhea meds and hurried back to get him medicated. He took the meds and laid down again for a while why I took my shower and began packing, since this is the day that we move to yet another hotel. Now, we do this every time we come to New Orleans (stay in several different locations), and this is the only time that I have ever had misgivings about doing this...and the only reason was because of Gary being sick. We had to check out of PDA by 11, and I had to do most of the packing myself because he was still laying on the bed trying to get rid of the queasiness. About 10 he finally got up and said he felt a little better, but we are feeling the time crunch because we have to check out by 11 and we still have to get our car from Harrah's parking garage. So I left him to get dressed and I went to get the car. I went across the street and tried to catch the Riverfront Streetcar, but it was nowhere in sight....I waited about ten minutes or so for it, and was able to help two other couples with directions about where they wanted to go (one couple wanted to see the 'beautiful houses' so I told them how to get to the St., Charles streetcar line), although if the fog doesn't rise they won't be able to see anything...the other couple just wanted to know if it was OK to just ride on the line with no particular destination, they just wanted to feel the motion of the streetcars. I told them that sure, it is fine, but if all they want to do is ride around a lot, they should probably by the all day pass. I finally gave up on waiting, and hurried thru the mist down to Harrah's. Got the car and was back to pick up Gary at PDA with about 15 minutes to spare! He is looking better....we have a lot of time to waste before we can check into the next hotel, and we drove to the Superdome and picked up a few souvenir items from their gift shop. We really didn't see anything more there than what you can buy just about anywhere in the city, but it was fun to actually be at the Superdome.

So far we have spent 3 nights at Hotel St. Marie, then two nights at Place dArmes, and our final night will be at.....the Westin. Now we normally stay at smaller, older hotels with New Orleans charm/ambiance (HSM, PDA, Hotel Provincial, Villa Convento, etc). We have only made reservations at the Westin (which is a much more modern hotel) because the rates at just about every other hotel in New Orleans have basically doubled for tonight, because of the Saints home game. When I was checking prices (on Kayak), I saw a very reasonable rate at the Westin, about half of what the other hotels were charging. So, with hesitation and doubt, I had reserved a non-refundable room at the Westin. I was sure I would hate it, but it would only be for one night and we wouldn't be spending much time at the hotel.

We couldn't check into the Westin until 3, so we parked in the JaxFest lot and walked around for a while. Gary is feeling a lot better, but says he isn't going to eat much today and definitely isn't going to drink any alcohol. He thinks he might have gotten some food poisoning, but we will never know. We basically ate the same food and I didn't get sick. He definitely didn't drink enough to get sick, he had 2 mimosas early in the day, then 2 beers at the Carousel Bar, then about 1/2 of a Hurricane at Pat O's before he started feeling bad. I'm surprised that he doesn't blame it on the Abita beer that I made him drink! Anyway, he is feeling better and I am starved (no breakfast since I was too busy buying medicine for him)...so we go to Napoleon House, one of my very favorite places. We got a seat inside the bar and Gary is feeling good enough to eat something, so he decided that a baked potato might not be too bad. Well, they are out of baked potatoes (an hour after they open they are out of potatoes?). So he orders a plain ham sandwich instead, and I get my usually Italian muffaletta. I would have loved to have a baked potato, but have to settle for Zapp's chips (which come in a beautiful black/gold bag with a fleur-de-lis!). About half way thru the ham sandwich, Gary starts looking greenish again, and it is too early for us to check into our hotel where he can lay down. We walk over to Jaxfest and to up to the food court where we do manage to find a baked potato!! Gary eats a few bites and then just puts his head in his hands, looking miserable. I took a picture of him and sent it to Tristan, saying Dad is really sick, etc....bad thing to do because immediately I get a response from Tristan who thinks Dad must be sick because Dad gave him (Tristan) a kidney almost a year ago.....calm down Tristan, it's just food poisoning or the flu bug...I suppose that if you receive an organ from a live donor, maybe you always live with the concern about the other person's health.

Finally it is time that we can check into the Westin, and checking in is a bit complicated. The lobby is on the 4th floor of the Canal Place Shops building. Although we usually park at Harrah's, because of Gary being sick we were looking for the most convenient place, so we just parked at the Canal Street Shops parking garage....it is only $18 for hotel guests, so not bad at all. We had a bit of difficulty with orientation, our elevator from the parking garage took us down to the main floor of the shopping area, so we were wheeling our luggage thru the mall area (although we were only staying here one night and packed very lightly). Someone saw us and pointed us in the right direction for the elevators that will take us to the hotel's lobby on the 4th floor. Now, I was all prepared to hate this 'modern' hotel since it is so opposite of our typical NO accommodations...but I couldn't have been more wrong. The lobby area was gorgeous, very modern and somewhat minimalistic. They had a floor to ceiling bank of windows, with couches and chairs spread around the area, with a fabulous view of the French Quarter and the river! They had red fleur-de-lis images on the walls, and a beautiful Christmas tree. My hope of not liking this hotel is not starting off well! So we got our room key card, and I am happy to find out we are on the 27th floor! When I had made the reservation on-line, there was a box for special requests, and I requested either a view of the Quarter or the river. When we got to our room, we were delighted to find out that we had a view of both, just an unbelievable view of the Quarter and the river, we could see the barges coming downriver. The room was very modern, with a flat screen tv, a king bed, and what appears to be very comfortable bedding. The bathroom was spotless and bright. No matter how much I want to dislike this hotel, I just can't...it is amazing. Gary immediately plops down on the bed and I know that he needs to rest, he hardly slept the night before and he's still not up to par. But....it is our last day in New Orleans....I'm going out while he gets some rest! He is fine with that and I head out and explore the shop area for a while. I'm not much of a shopper and I didn't even go into a store, but it was fun to window shop at some of the elegant places, and I rode up in the glass elevator for a nice view (although no better than the view from our beautiful room!). I got bored with that quickly, and decided I hadn't spent enough time on the streetcars on this trip, so I hopped on the Canal Street line, right outside of the Canal Street Shops entrance. I had been on the Canal Street line once before, but didn't ride it all the way to the end, so I decided I would do that now. I can't get over the enthusiasm of the city about the upcoming Saints game, and that Drew could break Dan Marino's record, etc. Even the streetcar drivers are wearing their Saints jerseys. So it is still light when I got on the streetcar, but starting to get darker, and I ride and ride and realize I don't have a clue of where this line eventually ends. Eventually the streetcar goes around a bend in the road, and wow, we are at City Park!! That is the end of the line and we all have to get off while the conductor rearranges the seats, and we have to just wait 15 minutes or so before he starts back. I'm getting a bit impatient because I have to check on Gary and we need to be at Pat O'Brien's in time to get a seat for the game!! Finally we head back, and on the trip back we pick up so many Saints fans that finally there is standing room only (and very crowded standing room!) on the streetcar, but it was so much fun, with everyon speculating about the game, and wearing their black and gold. We pass one block with no buildings and that gives me a great view of the Superdome, all lit up and just waiting for Drew Brees to come in their and do his magic!

I get back to the room and by now it is dark and Gary is still asleep, but he hears me and gets up, saying that he is feeling better and that these are the best beds he has ever slept in (they are called Heavenly Beds). He freshens up quickly and we are off to Pat O's for the game! I realize that I haven't eaten much at all, just the muffaletta sandwich earlier, but we need to get a seat and can't be bothered with eating, and besides, Gary isn't taking any chances. So we get to Pat O's, and we get the last two seats available at the bar. We are at the farthest point away from the screen, but it is a pretty freakin' big screen, so no problem seeing it. It is still about an hour before game time, and we pass time talking to a couple from Florida. The woman tells me that this is only her second time to New Orleans, but she loves it and she thinks she has some connection to it that she can't describe....she obviously 'gets it', as we sometimes talk about on this forum. His boyfriend is having fun and enjoying NO, but doesn't seem to have the same feeling as girlfriend. Anyway, we talked about what they had done while they were visiting, and what we had done, comparing notes, etc. We mentioned the Rum Distillery tour, and the guy (Dean) said they had wanted to do that, and had taken a cab out to the place, then decided not to go in because they were afraid they wouldn't be able to get a cab to come and get them after the tour...hmmm....if a cab will take you out there, why wouldn't one come and pick you up? Then we mentioned Algiers, and Dean said that they had thought about taking the ferry over, but someone told them that Algiers is too dangerous and they shouldn't go....I don't know what to say except I wonder why people become so afraid of everything. Finally the game started and I was hoping they would be quiet because I wanted to actually watch the game, not chitchat all night. Gary was drinking 7 up and I thought, it's our last night, I need some Hurricanes!! as in more than one! So I apparently ordered one, then another one, then another one, and finally another one (Gary is telling me this the next day). Although I didn't really drink four because I knocked one of them over into Gary's lap, so he had to sit there all night with wet pants on. Anyway,Gary said that at one point I told him 'don't let me order any more Hurricanes!', but when he got up to go to the bathroom, I, of course, ordered myself another Hurricane! I have vague memories of the game and the walk back to the hotel...the next morning, I woke up with a headache, but I knew that the Saints had won and that Drew had indeed broken Dan Marino's record....that was somehow imbedded into my brain. But, when I was talking to Gary (who was feeling fine by this time), I told him that I felt bad that 'they' didn't make a big deal out of Drew breaking the record. Gary looked at me as if I was crazy, and said 'what are you talking about?'...I said, well, no one really celebrated, etc. Gary said 'well, they were carrying Drew all around the field, and all of the waiters from the piano bar at Pat's and a bunch of customers had all rushed over into the main bar area where we were, and everyone was screaming and jumping up and down (including me, apparently).....note to myself....next time we are there and Drew Brees might break a record of some kind, do not drink so many Hurricanes!!!

My headache was not made any better by the fact that the Westin has ridiculously bright white lights in the bathroom, and I couldn't find any way to adjust them...ugh, that doesn't help a headache. But thankfully, I did not get sick and after a while I was feeling good enough to help Gary pack, so we can head home. Before we left, I remembered seeing that the elevator goes to the 29th floor (highest floor) where this a pool area, and I wanted to see that, so we went up there. What an absolutely gorgeous area! The pool area was spotlessly clean (not so much as a leaf in the pool), and they had outdoor green carpeting around the pool which made it look grassy. The view was simply awesome....we stood up there for a while and watched some traffic on the river, and then could no longer postpone leaving.

Our trip home was uneventful and we arrived home about 9 that night. We had another amazing trip to New Orleans, and every time that we are here, I fall even more in love with this city, if that's possible. Apparently at some point during the previous evening at Pat's, I had texted my son and said "I love it here...we are going to live here some day"....and his response was "I expect that to happen". Maybe after the grandkids are grown....

A few notes about things I forgot to mention - we did see a lot of pedicabs and they look like so much fun! We didn't make it to Frenchmen Street this time, but I think that the pedicabs might be just the ticket for getting back from Frenchmen late at night when your feet are killing you. We also saw a couple of groups of Segway tours, something we thought about doing, but the weather was just too unpredictable this time around. Maybe we will try it in May, maybe not. The people we saw seemed to be really enjoying it. We never did make it to Frenchmen Street, but we are on the fence about Frenchmen. We love the Praline Connection Restaurant over there, but the few times we have been in that area, we have been there too early in the evening and it hasn't been hopping yet.

Just one final thought - we always seem to spend our last evening in New Orleans at Pat's, where I usually drink too much and then begin crying because I don't know when I will be back to my beloved New Orleans. Gary is very thankful for the upcoming May flok trip because since I knew I'd be coming back in May, I didn't have to cry this time! Every time I am in New Orleans, though, I know that it is just a matter of time before I just won't be able to make myself leave, and this will become my real home, not just where I live in my mind!!

Mississippi
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1. Re: December 26th...sickly hubby and Saints!!

Thanks for another great TR JLR. I'm happy you had a great trip and I hope Gary is well now. Take some Imodium with you next trip. A week in NOLA and I would need a stomach pump.

Pat O's will be giving you and the FLOK free drinks if you keep visiting. Good luck.

Who Dat. Go Saints.

Moncton, Canada
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2. Re: December 26th...sickly hubby and Saints!!

LOL!!! I can't believe you drank all those hurricanes, especially on an empty stomach. You da woman! I'm sure Herm and Deny will be proud of ya.

I'm so glad you and Gary had a great time (minus the lttle issue of getting sick). Can't wait to see you again in May. I'll be happy to sit and drink all those hurricanes with ya.

Destination Expert
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3. Re: December 26th...sickly hubby and Saints!!

porelly - I might not drink that many again!! Unless I dump one on Gary....usually my absolute limit is about 1 1/2, but the Hurricanes in the main bar seemed kind of smaller than the ones in the piano bar, but apparently they were just as potent! And yes, I'm sure part of the problem was that I didn't take time to eat before we went there. I actually even thought about eating at Pat's, and apparently you can eat in the bar area, but you have to go over to the restaurant area and order the food and wait for it, and I couldn't be bothered with that when the game was on!

Blenheim, Canada
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4. Re: December 26th...sickly hubby and Saints!!

OMG, jlr...what a trip!!! What a trooper to wander out and get Gary some meds...so glad he EVENTUALLY started feeling better! HOW can a place run out of potatoes??? Poor Tristan...worry him for nothing!

One of our cousins works for the Westin (in Pittsburgh) and she stayed at the Westin when she went to NOLA (no doubt--as they get GREAT deals!) Her room was actually a suite and had the same views of the FQ and Mississippi. The beds sound heavenly--just like they say!

Oh yeah! Den and I are very proud of you! FOUR Hurricanes (well 3 since Gary "got one"!) Still 3 have 12 ounces of rum...like drinking a full soda can of rum! You've done us proud! TOO funny how you didn't remember the celebration for Drew! At least you just got a headache and not sick. The ride home probably wasn't a lot of fun!

So glad you didn't have to cry, knowing May is just around the corner!

Schulenburg, Texas
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5. Re: December 26th...sickly hubby and Saints!!

Loved your reports, jlr! Sorry about Gary's illness but we can identify....years ago, my DH had something similar (his actually was food poisoning) during the night/early morning of a mid-A.M. departure...got dehydrated and literally passed out when our plane took off. It caused quite a stir and luckily, a health convention had just finished in New Orleans and several attendees were on board. He was tended to and ASAP after landing, we had him refueled with Gatorade and all was okay. A week or so later, Southwest Airlines sent him a key chain and nice note.

I loved your description of the mass at St. Augustine's....I am Catholic (and Loop...if you're reading this, I think I may have one of those Catholic school girl skirts that you described in the Mardi Gras post....no colorful wigs, though:) and would love to participate in that experience sometime in the future. Thanks for sharing your trip with us and I certainly hope we get to meet in May!

Arlington, TX
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6. Re: December 26th...sickly hubby and Saints!!

Other than ur hubs illness, it sounds like a simply wonderful trip! I hope I get to meet yall in May!!

Orange, Texas
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7. Re: December 26th...sickly hubby and Saints!!

Oh, how much I enjoyed reading your trip reports! Sounds wonderful (except for your husband getting sick).......Seeing a Saints game (or at least being in NO to watch it) and being in NO during the Christmas season are on our list for 2012. Love, love New Orleans..........

Thanks for sharing!

maryland
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8. Re: December 26th...sickly hubby and Saints!!

LOL - what a fun time ( except for Gary feeling sick) and what a good sport he was! Great TR!

I can see we are going to have to do some practice drinking before we get there in May!

Blenheim, Canada
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9. Re: December 26th...sickly hubby and Saints!!

cate...we like to think of it as "training"! :)

Bossier City, LA
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10. Re: December 26th...sickly hubby and Saints!!

Jlr, what great reports. So glad Gary bounced back (just in time to take care of you. lol). I felt your misery with the Hurricane hangover. I did that one time with the Lafitte's hurricanes-empty stomach & three hurricanes. Don't remember getting back to the hotel and stayed in bed till 2 p.m. Never did it again.