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Trip report 04/02 - 04/08 Long, long.

Grand Rapids...
Level Contributor
80 posts
21 reviews
Trip report 04/02 - 04/08 Long, long.

Thank you to everyone who answered my questions and to all those who regularly contribute to the forum, as I've been reading it for months before our trip.

We loved the Big Easy and we had a great time.

We arrived 04/02 flight came in early. Cab to Drury Inn and Suites on Poydras only for one night. I wrote a separate review for that.

Off to FQ just to get acquainted. Walked around for about three hours and we were tired, up early. Back to hotel to sleep.

SUNDAY: 04/03

Checked out early to transfer to Dauphine Orleans for rest of stay. They held our bags and we waited for our ride for Celebration Tours.

Celebration Tours: Our tour guide was Huey and he picked us up on time. We next picked up someone at the Royal Sonesta. Sitting there, I heard the name Malcolm and said "Is that the famous Malcolm that I heard about." (Malcolm did not know he was famous.) I told my husband tip him just because. Anyway he says come out Miss and we'll get a picture. So out husband and I go and get a picture wtih Malcolm. He proceeds to give me his card with his name on it from the Royal Sonesta. Everyone in the van is wondering how I knew his name. Needless to say it's going in my scrapbook.

There were only 5 of us in the van and we really enjoyed our tour. It was the City/Katrina Tour. I'm going to write a separate review. I had cut out a coupon for $10.00 and so he gave us $10.00 off on each ticket. Down from $100.00 to $80.00. It was well worth it. We got so much history.

After we got back more walking around FQ and went into St. Louis Cathedral and went into Gift Shop. I bought a picture I wanted in the Square. After dinner we headed down Royal Street and bumped into Phyllis who was on our tour. Her husband was one of the 30,000 cardiologists who were in town for the convention. Talked for a while .

On to Pat O'Briens. Had a drink in the courtyard to see fountain. Went inside for dueling pianos. Husband enjoyed that. Tired back to Hotel.

Monday 04/04

Walking tour Garden District. Tour was very good. It was supposed to be 2 hours but ended up more like 3. It was a lot of walking and there was only 1 rest. Enjoyed Lafayette Cemetery.

We were walking and saw a truck carrying away trees. They looked strange and we asked a gentleman working what they were. Turned out they were filming a movie and they were fake trees. It was some company from Hollywood. Some kind of Vampire move about Abraham Lincoln. The tour was $20.00 a piece and well worth it. Caught streetcar back to FQ.

Some more shopping and back to room. They were calling for a big storm and there were tornado warnings.

Mahalia Jackson Theater for Harry Connick Jr. Benefit concert. Someone else on the board reviewed this. Great jam session at the end. Ellis Marsalis played the piano and Harry's father sang.

After concert out to Basin Street to get cab. Long line was forming. One gentleman jumped into a 7-seat van by himself. The two women in front of me had the same idea. They asked driver if he could drop them off and then I asked and he said yes too. So the four of us just jumped into the cab. I don't know if this gentleman knew what hit him. We found out that he was a cardiologist from Canada and we all thanked him for letting us share his cab. I use that word "share" loosely.

Back to FQ to eat and watch Championship basketball game and Bed.

Tuesday 04/05. Plantation Day.

We chose to rent a car. Rented from Enterprise on Canal. Kept calling for pickup and they were not answering. Found out that they had no lights and their calls were being transferred to another Enterrpise. We did get picked out and headed out.

Laura Plantation: Creole plantation. Highly recommend. Very good tour. A lot of history. We bought her book in the gift shop. We ate our lunch in the car, I know but we were on a time schedule.

Oak Alley: Drove up on the levee across the street. Trees were beautiful. We took our pictures. Did not tour this house.

Houmas House: Since we had to get on the other side of the river, took some time to get there but I wanted to see the gardens, which did not disappoint they were beautiful. Tour guide was in costume. I enjoyed the history of the house, but the only thing that bothered me was that there was no mention of this being a slave plantation. After the guide was questioned about this, said do not talk about it as they do not want to offend anyone, which puzzled me because it is part of the history of the house. They must have a lot of weddings there as they have separate banquet halls. The owner actually lives on the property.

Back to town to drop off car. Hotel. Drink in May Bailey's at hotel used to be a bordello. Dinner. Walk on Bourbon Street.

Cafe Beignet: Steamboat Willie was playing so stopped in there and listened to music. There was a couple there from LA, swing dancers so they went up and danced for us. Another long day.

Hotel and bed.

Wednesday 04/06

Cajun Encounters: We were picked up at 10:30. I had cut out another coupon for this. I'm going to write a separate review for this. The swamp going way back was so quiet and peaceful. Highlight our guide caught a 4 foot alligator and brought onto the boat. Snake in tree I crawled over my husband and another person trying to move away and hurt my knee.

Back to FQ light lunch. Husband took off on his own to go shopping. I headed back to hotel to get ready.

House of Blues: Kickoff party FQ Festival.

Since we had to leave Friday afternoon I thought this would be fun. Great food. Great music. I really enjoyed Rockin Dopsie and then the NOLA jitterbuggers came out and danced.

Over at ten. Back to hotel. It was 64 out and beautiful stuck feet in pool and had a glass of wine. Tired and Bed.

Thursday 04/07 - Last full day. Could not sleep up early to try to get some more shopping done.

Mardi Gras World:

We got picked up at Ritz Carlton. We really enjoyed this. Got to see how the floats are made. Saw all the floats from Orpheus krewe from Mardi Gas this year theme was flowers. They were beautiful. Saw movie and had King Cake and tried on some hats. Lots of kid groups and school groups were there.

After we got back to FQ We stopped by the Jackson Square for a while to listen to some music. Then head down to French Market, lots and lots of shopping. I think everything caught up with me. Really tired today. Headed back to hotel to rest.

The rest of the day basically dinner and some walking down Bourbon sleep and bed.

Friday 04/08 - Last day.

Headed to Cafe Beignet for some coffee and Beignets and to wait for parade. Got a spot on the street. What fun. I can just image what Mardi Gras must be like. Caught beads, flowers, potatoe chips.

Off to hotel and to airport.

Restaurants we ate at::

Yo Mama's - We just had the baked potatoes and they were huge.

Mr. B's - BBQ shrimp, Gumbo Ya Ya, breast pudding. Husband had veal, a salad and pecan pie.

Johnny Po Boys - Split a Roast Beef with cheese very good and french fries.

Napoleon House: Half a muffaleta. Very good. Pimm's cup. Cold and refreshing. Jumbalaya.

Deja Vu: Don't be afraid to go in here. Good food. Very friendly. I have to say interesting things to see. They are open 24/7 and I got our cold sandwiches here for our plantation day. I went there at 6:30 a.m. and it was like the night never ended. A girl at the bar was hitting a guy with a rope or something. By the time I left, I was thinking they should just get a room.

Acme: Waited about 25 minutes to get. in. Chargrilled oysters, yummy. Chowder soup. Husband had a beef debris sandwich and dessert.

Oceana: No complaints good food. I had a shrimp po-boy. Can't remember what husband had.

Cafe DuMonde: Went there 3 times.

Cafe Beignet: I have to say I liked their Beignet more. They were puffier.

El Gato Negro - Husband went crazy over steak fajitas. Told waitress this was the best meal that he had all week. Did not even eat tortillas. House margarita was good. Never had one like that. I had chicken. I had a coupon from Living Social. What a deal.

Louisiana Pizza: I know but we had a craving. Pizza was good. This was the only time the service was not good. Did not come back for any refills and we waited a long time for our bill.

Erin Rose on Conti - did not get a drink there, but they have a cut out window and on our way back to hotel we would sometimes stop and ask about a score. They were so friendly there and wanted us to come in and have a drink, but by this time we were always too tired. I'm sorry we did not get in there.

We had wonderful service everywhere and everyone was so friendly. Sorry this is so long but I could go on on. What a great vacation.

Moncton, Canada
Level Contributor
6,479 posts
48 reviews
1. Re: Trip report 04/02 - 04/08 Long, long.

Sounds like a great trip. I went to the FQF kick-off party last year, and it was great fun. But I bet this year would have been even better. Glad you had a good time.

Blenheim, Canada
Level Contributor
11,142 posts
7 reviews
2. Re: Trip report 04/02 - 04/08 Long, long.

Betty, SO GLAD to hear you had a great trip and loved it so much! After our miserable weather here, I'm sure that was a welcome change too! So happy to hear you met Malcolm! Isn't he the sweetest? IMHO, he MAKES the Royal Sonesta! True Southern hospitality!! So your hubby's fave meal was El Gato! Lots of people say that! It's one of the reasons we LOVE it so much (not to mention those AMAZING Margaritas!) People don't think to eat there coz it's not Cajun/Creole...but it's some of the BEST food in NOLA!

Are you planning on returning? Have you fallen in love with our beloved city as much as the rest of us? Good to get all the tours "out of the way" so when you return, there's more time to just relax and enjoy!

No mention of slavery so as not to offend anyone? Odd...

P.S. Your report was NOT too long! It was fantastic!!!

Edited: 14 April 2011, 22:10
Andover, NJ
Level Contributor
26 posts
107 reviews
3. Re: Trip report 04/02 - 04/08 Long, long.

What company did you take the garden tour with?

Kansas City
Level Contributor
5,990 posts
7 reviews
4. Re: Trip report 04/02 - 04/08 Long, long.

Wonderful trip report, thanks so much for taking the time to share.

Level Contributor
12,999 posts
7 reviews
5. Re: Trip report 04/02 - 04/08 Long, long.

Great TR Betty. Come back again soon. Good luck.

Grand Rapids...
Level Contributor
80 posts
21 reviews
6. Re: Trip report 04/02 - 04/08 Long, long.


Would like to come back again. Thinking Mardi Gras or FQ Festival to really enjoy, cut short this time. There are still so many things and places I would like to tour. So much history there. My husband is a beach bum and baseball person, so I compromise. He did enjoy everything that we did though.

Our tour in the garden district was Historic New Orleans Tour. TourNewOrleans.com/garden. They meet at Garden District Book Store. Ann Rice used to sign books there. On Prytania. I would not really recommend this for kids though. We had kids on our tour and they like the cemetary but grew bored with the history and architecture part of the tour. A lot of walking. Ends at Commander's Palace and the street car is about 3-4 blocks away from there. We were really tired after all that walking and were pressured for time, so we were not able to make it to Magazine Street.

Blenheim, Canada
Level Contributor
10,657 posts
77 reviews
7. Re: Trip report 04/02 - 04/08 Long, long.

Betty--What an awesomely fun trip report! Glad you had such a good time and plan to go back! Malcolm is THE ultimate greatness about the Royal Sonesta. It's a nice hotel but Malcolm makes it twice as nice! El Gato rocks, doesn't it! I can hardly wait to be sipping on my margarita in 26 days! Thanks for sharing your fun!

Blenheim, Canada
Level Contributor
11,142 posts
7 reviews
8. Re: Trip report 04/02 - 04/08 Long, long.

Mardi Gras is a GREAT time (esp. if you avoid Bourbon Street) We're contemplating 2014, coz that's the next one in March! We already have 2012 spoken for in May, 2013 is Feb 12 (TOO COLD!) so March 2014 is looking like the next possibility!

Mystic, Connecticut
Level Contributor
1,210 posts
6 reviews
9. Re: Trip report 04/02 - 04/08 Long, long.

Very nice trip report, Betty!

I will have to try that pudding at Mr. B's....

Is it called that because of the ingredients, or perhaps how it is served?

Grand Rapids...
Level Contributor
80 posts
21 reviews
10. Re: Trip report 04/02 - 04/08 Long, long.

The bread pudding is actually made with French bread. If you get on their website, they actually have the recipe there if you want to make it.