I want to thank everyone on the board who provided information and shared their experiences. I think our trip was enhanced by the time I spent reading this forum. My husband and I really enjoyed New Orleans and I hope we are lucky enough to visit again.
I’m not used to writing trip reports so I thought I would just list some of my observations / opinions of the trip. These are in no particular order.
We stayed at the Hotel Monteleone. It was not original choice but I was able to get it for less than $200 a night and felt was a great bargain. We booked a Traditional King and ended up interior room without a window. We could have waited for a room with a window to be ready later in the day but we were anxious to get settle in a room so we could go out and explore. Also we knew since we booked the least expensive room the view would probably not be that great. I would highly recommend this hotel.
The Carousel Bar was always full when we went by so we never got a change to sit at the bar but we did sit in the lounge by a window and have drinks one afternoon. I tried a Pimms Cup not expecting to like it and loved it. I expected it to be like a gin drink but it wasn’t at all.
We went to Domenica for Happy Hour. We sat in the bar but the restaurant was not busy. This was another awesome bit of advice this forum provided. It was great and very inexpensive. We share a pizza – half Margherita / half Carrot. My husband had 3 Peroni Beers and I had a glass of wine – all for less than $26 before tip. It would have been worth full price.
Tried and loved the Pineapple Cilantro Margarita from El Gato Negro.
Waited in the “to go” line for a beignet and café au lait for about 30 minutes. Once was enough. Not a fan of the beignets. The may have been better if they weren’t put in a bag but still too greasy for my taste. We each ate part of one and toss the rest. I did notice if you don’t want to wait you can make a deal with the waiters hanging around and they will get your beignets for you to go.
We liked walking up and down Bourbon Street just for the interesting people watching. We don’t stay out very late so I sure it was pretty tame when we were there but exciting enough for us. We spent some time in some of the bars listening to music and I really enjoyed it.
We walked over to Frenchmen Street one night (early just after dark). We walked up Decatur as I have seen recommended. We didn’t care for the walk or the vibe of the street. Too many “gutter punks” on the way and when we arrived. We didn’t stay long.
We rode the streetcars a couple of times – St. Charles and Riverfront. Not a real good way to get around or to see anything.
Bus #11 on Magazine St. doesn’t come every 20 minutes as advertise at this time. Tried to ride it one day – waited about 40 minutes gave up. Saw 2 buses in a row after we gave up. A different day rode the St. Charles street car (and bus where construction forces you off the street car) to Washington – walked to Magazine St. (This is a lovely and safe walk) then walk down Magazine street close to the zoo. The plan was to ride the bus back. Should have known better. Didn’t see many buses on the way. Waited at the bus stop at least 40 minutes. When we finally saw a bus then we saw another about a minute behind. The construction is probably messing up the schedules. Magazine St was a one and done experience for us.
We found trying to find somewhere to eat dinner challenging. We didn’t make reservations and didn’t t want to spend a lot (>$75) so it seemed the places were limited. Either big lines or questionable cleanliness. I wasn’t really surprised because I had researched restaurants in the area close to the hotel pretty well.
We ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant – Criollo. I would not recommend it. The food was fine but overpriced as expected at a hotel restaurant. We also ate breakfast a Jimmy J’s Café and the Ruby Slipper Café both were very good. I really liked the openness and unique menu at the Ruby Slipper.
Once back home I missed the music that you hear on the streets in New Orleans. It makes it a very special place.
The only time I really felt uneasy about safely was the night we went to Frenchman St. We walked around all over the French Quarter and CBD.
Ernst Café makes a great Dark and Stormy. I had one at a place on Bourbon St. I wish I would have gotten the name of the place. The sign said they make their own ginger beer. I would avoid this place if you like a “standard’ Dark and Stormy. I ended up tossing it. It’s hard to get a decent drink on Bourbon if you’re picky about your liquor.
The Burgundy Bar at the Saint Hotel makes a decent Moscow Mule.
We enjoyed W.I.N.O. for trying different wines and a great cheese plate.
We also enjoyed the 3 Easter parades and ended up with plenty of beads.
We lucked out with the weather – no rain and comfortable temperatures but the afternoons were really warm. We realized we would not want to visit in the summer because it would be too hot for us (and we’re from FL).
We enjoyed the burgers at Yo-Mamas but I wasn’t brave enough to try the Peanut Butter burger. I love any place that serves a baked potato with a burger.