A Travellerspoint blog

The Meanderings of the Mississippi

Arriving in New Orleans (Before Katrina)

semi-overcast 14 °C
View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

My first visit to New Orleans was in 1950 when I was 12 and in the 7th grade. We drove down on Easter vacation (photos are my dad's).
Levee's along the Mississippi

Levee's along the Mississippi


Spanish Moss

Spanish Moss


The chief things I remember were eating in a fancy restaurant on Bourbon Street and at the Courtyard of the Two Sisters, pralines, the streetcars on Canal Street,
Canal Street at night

Canal Street at night


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the above ground tombs in the cemeteries

the above ground tombs in the cemeteries


the fancy iron grillwork on the balconies of the French quarter (and the Garden District), and horse-drawn carriages.
My sister and me

My sister and me


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Even though we lived in Louisiana in the Bayou country from June to November in 1960 as a young marrieds, we did not visit New Orleans. So on this visit I wanted to show Bob the places I'd been to so long ago and then go to some more places that I'd missed the first time.

December 10, 2004 - Continued
The Mississippi Down at the Gulf of Mexico

The Mississippi Down at the Gulf of Mexico


This time, since we were flying in, we could see many of the Meanderings of the Mississippi
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Coming up the Mississippi Delta

Coming up the Mississippi Delta

Golf course from the air

Golf course from the air

Industry on the river bank

Industry on the river bank


Cemetery from the airplane

Cemetery from the airplane


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Tug pushing barges around a corner

Tug pushing barges around a corner


A Bridge

A Bridge


Mississippi at New Orleans

Mississippi at New Orleans


Coming down

Coming down

Lake Ponchartrain from the air

Lake Ponchartrain from the air

After we arrived, Bob wanted to stop at the bathroom, so I did too. I had to wait in line a few minutes, and when I came out Bob was already there. He said there was too much of a wait for him. So after we got to the main terminal, I sat with the bags and he went.

We claimed our luggage. I knew that other than renting a car (which would not be a frugal thing to do as parking is expensive) there were 4 ways to get into town (21 miles)
Airport directions sign

Airport directions sign


1) Taxi ($28 for two)
2) Limo ($35 for two)
3) Shuttle
4) regular bus ($1.50 each). We ruled out the regular bus because of too much luggage.
Airport shuttle van

Airport shuttle van


On the internet the shuttle was $13 one way for one person or $24 each round trip for two people. So we went to the shuttle booth and they charged us $22.50 round trip - at least that's what the ticket said.
Coming in from the Airport

Coming in from the Airport

Hospital

Hospital

Entering under the expressway

Entering under the expressway


Sidewalk in front of the hotel next door

Sidewalk in front of the hotel next door


They brought us right to the door, and Bob tipped the driver $3. He almost left one bag on the van until I reminded him. Our condo this week is the Hotel Maison Pierre Lafitte. This is a small (21 unit) resort condominium hotel. One unit that is for rent for two people is $1100 per week, which works out to about $80 per person per day. (Of course we are only paying $349/week). It is a great location - just around the corner on Canal Street is a McDonalds and the Golden Wall (Chinese), and across the street is the Half Shell which is a good local restaurant. There is also Tandoori Chicken upstairs across the street (Indian), and the much fancier restaurant at the Fairmont (formerly the Roosevelt) is next door.

We checked in and paid the $3.50 'bed tax' to the city for 7 days, and dropped our luggage in the room, and at the recommendation of the girl at the desk went across the street to the Half Shell to have lunch.
Half Shell menu

Half Shell menu


Inside of the restaurant

Inside of the restaurant


We each had a po'boy - I had shrimp and Bob had oyster.
Bob's Oyster Po'boy for lunch

Bob's Oyster Po'boy for lunch


Since we had a refrigerator and microwave in the room, we never availed ourselves of breakfast, but they were recommended for breakfast too. They have everything from dry cereal with toast and juice to cornmeal covered fried catfish with grits, steak and eggs, french toast, pancakes and omelets including one filled with crawfish.

Then we came back to the room and tried to get organized.

You enter the hotel through the front doors which were carved wood.
Carved front doors

Carved front doors


You have to use the combination lock to get in after hours. To the right of the front desk there's a section that has a window seat looking out on the street where they can meet with you to discuss buying a condo week,
Sidewalk between Fairchild/Roosevelt and Pierre Maison Laffitte

Sidewalk between Fairchild/Roosevelt and Pierre Maison Laffitte


and next to that is a section which says it is the Roosevelt Hotel bar and restaurant. That's where we had the welcome party on Saturday. The elevator is to the left of the lobby as you come in, and is actually in another building. The hotel has 4 floors. Our room is on the third floor. The elevator is very quick. Bob pushed the floor button as he entered, and the doors just about closed on me as I was walking in behind him. So now we don't push that button until we are both in. The elevator is mirrored, but it has no indicator to tell you what floor you are on.

There are four other rooms on this floor - Our room is the only one to the west of the two windows with 'railings' which are hall windows.
Hall windows on the left - our window on the right

Hall windows on the left - our window on the right


There is a chair in the hall by the windows (in front of the stairs) which I think should go in our room.

As you enter our apartment, the first room is the living room-kitchen. I think the red couch on the back wall (which matches the carpet) is a sleep sofa. There are posters and photos of Pete Fountain on the walls.

On the your right, the window looks out on the street (dark red tieback curtains with a lace curtain underneath). There is a fake fireplace of brick, and a big round mahogany table with 2 chairs, which is covered with white towels (for the bathroom). In front of the sofa is a matching mahogany coffee table and an end table with a phone, a clock radio and a lamp. There is a standing Tiffany style lamp at the other side of the couch.
Bob on the couch in the living room

Bob on the couch in the living room


The room has dark green wallpaper with a white chair rail, and a wallpaper border at the top just below the cove molding on the very high ceilings.

On the 3rd wall are the the hall door, and then the kitchenette (microwave, two burner stove, sink, coffee pot, and refrigerator that doesn't work). On the 4th wall (to the left as you come in) is the TV, a stand alone dorm size refrigerator and the bedroom door.

In the bedroom, there is a closet with mirrored bifold doors. The only furniture in the bedroom are one dining chair and the bed, which has enormous tall headboard posts (I can't reach the top of them). The bedspread is ecru brocade (very stiff).
Bedspread reflected in the closet doors

Bedspread reflected in the closet doors


The bed and the headboard are not attached to each other so that every time I move, the headboard knocks on the wall.
Headboard

Headboard


The wallpaper is a dark maroon red - again with a border at the top.
Pictures on the wall, wallpaper with a border next to the bathroom door

Pictures on the wall, wallpaper with a border next to the bathroom door


There's nothing else in the bedroom because there's no room for anything but the bed. The wall next to the bathroom door has a chimney sticking out about 18" deep and 2' wide right in the middle which keeps there from being room to put the bed on the living room wall.

The bathroom has a pedestal sink (with the bowl shaped like a shell), a toilet, and a tub which has a jacuzzi attachment and a shower. The shower curtain is dark red and there is a very ornate mirror over the sink.
Bathroom mirror

Bathroom mirror


There's a phone on the wall over the toilet paper roll next to the bathtub. What there is not is any place to put anything. Shaving stuff, tooth brushes etc. have to go on the back of the toilet or on the very narrow edge to the sink.

Although we did not know it at the time, of course, this visit was made prior to Hurricane Katrina. Now a hotel room at this hotel (which says it has traditional lodging in a converted piano warehouse, offering suites with kitchenettes & free Wi-Fi) is $175/day and the rooms, particularly the bathrooms, appear to have been remodeled. The Fairmont Hotel next door has closed and been reincarnated under the old name as the Roosevelt Hotel. The Orpheum Theater is still across the street
Orpheum from Maison Pierre Lafitte

Orpheum from Maison Pierre Lafitte


and the Golden Wall restaurant is still there, but McDonalds has moved down the street, the Tandori Chicken does not appear to be there anymore, and I am not sure about the Half Shell.

There's a 10 o'clock breakfast meeting tomorrow for orientation. After we unpacked and tried to figure out a way to set up the computer so that I could get email, we went down to the lobby and got a recommendation for a place to go for dinner.

There are a bunch of warnings about street crime in New Orleans. People advise you not to look like a tourist. I think they mean don't wear flashy jewelry, have a bulging wallet in your back pocket, or carry a big expensive camera and don't go around reading a map. But that's crazy. There's no way I would ever be mistaken for a local, and if I don't carry a camera, I won't have any photos. And I do carry and look at a map in order to know where I am and where I'm going.
Looking Like a Tourist in the elevator

Looking Like a Tourist in the elevator


But I don't wear any jewelry except a plain gold wedding ring and a Timex watch, and I don't even carry a wallet when I go out. I put a couple of dollars in a calculator, and a credit card in my camera case (or sometimes in my bra) and leave all my precious ID (drivers license etc) back in my hotel. My husband has a tiny wallet with a bunch of rubber bands on it.

Police Department Tip "Use credit cards instead of cash whenever possible. Carry the fewest items possible to reduce your burden and thief's targets. Keep your wallet or purse under your direct control at all times. When using bathrooms, don't put valuables on the floor. When at restaurants or other public places don't hang your purse on the back of a chair. Particularly when traveling out of town, keep a major credit card and a picture ID separate from your wallet or purse. If you should lose your wallet or purse you will not be stranded..Avoid wearing valuable, loose fitting jewelry..If you need information or become lost do not talk to anyone on the street... Report suspicious behavior to the police immediately."

I think though that the best hint to avoid crime is to ask what areas to stay out of and stay out of them (you might need the map for this), trust your instincts, and don't go to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. If you avoid getting falling down drunk, you will not have nearly as much trouble avoiding crime.

First we stopped at Walgreens to get some first aid cream for my nose, and I also got a folding hairbrush to replace the old one that I have that is falling apart.
Walgreens

Walgreens


This is an ordinary Walgreens drug store.right on Canal Street. It has a pharmacy, but is not a 24 hour store. Then we walked across Canal Street and into the French Quarter.
Walking across Canal Street -The Ritz-Carleton was opposite the Canal Street streetcar stop and the architecture fascinated me. In addition to formerly being part of the turn of the century Maison Blanche department store, it appears that the entrance is through the old Kress 5 -10 and 25 cent store

Walking across Canal Street -The Ritz-Carleton was opposite the Canal Street streetcar stop and the architecture fascinated me. In addition to formerly being part of the turn of the century Maison Blanche department store, it appears that the entrance is through the old Kress 5 -10 and 25 cent store


French Quarter

French Quarter


We passed the Harold Clarke Couturier Atelier on the way to dinner the first day. I thought the gowns in the window looked really beautiful, but all I did was window shop. The dress with the roses on it (on the right side) is a bridal gown, but he also does other special occasion gowns.
Shop window in the French Quarter

Shop window in the French Quarter


Wandering in the French Quarter I took this picture. I thought it looked interesting but it turned out to be Cafe Bienville the restaurant for the Holiday Inn New Orleans Hotel Chateau Lemoyne
Corner in the French Quarter

Corner in the French Quarter


We saw the restaurant (Deanies) that had been recommended, but it was still a bit early to eat, so we continued on and lo and behold, there we were on Bourbon Street.
Bourbon Street in the evening Street in front of Old Absinthe House

Bourbon Street in the evening Street in front of Old Absinthe House


There was a street party, with music and everyone outside drinking (maybe this is normal for Bourbon Street). We continued on past the Hustler club, and then walked back to Deanies and this time went in to eat.

Deanies is a big place - their original location was Metaire. They give you a lot of food at very reasonable prices.
Deanies

Deanies

Deanies

Deanies


In the corner there were apparently slot machines. The Louisiana laws prohibit gambling and slot machines. So the politicians redefined and renamed gambling. In Louisiana, gambling is now called gaming. In 1992 a provision was added for one land-based casino in New Orleans - Harrahs. (The state also has three land-based Indian casinos.) But slot machines are not restricted to Harrahs. Throughout Louisiana, video poker is permitted at Louisiana truck stops, racetracks/OTB's and bars/taverns in 31 of the state's 64 parishes (counties). There is no limit to the number of machines permitted at racetracks and off-track betting locations, however, truck stops are allowed no more than 50, while bars and taverns are permitted a maximum of three.

So you will often see this little rooms in restaurants.
Signs on the Slot Machine Room Door

Signs on the Slot Machine Room Door


The papers posted on the doors say:

DOORS MUST
REMAIN CLOSED
AT ALL TIMES

The blue sign says:

GAMING DEVICES INSIDE
_________________
NO PERSON UNDER THE
AGE OF 18 ALLOWED
INSIDE (BY LAC TITLE 42)
___________________
NO PERSON UNDER THE
AGE OF 21 ALLOWED TO
PLAY GAMING DEVICES

Apparently children under 18 will be contaminated by the very sight of a slot machine, but they can look but not touch if they are between 18 and 21.

At the beginning of the meal they brought us a dish of boiled new potatoes and butter instead of rolls. Bob had a dozen
12 raw Oysters $8.95

12 raw Oysters $8.95


and a house salad ($3.95), and I had the .
Crawfish quartet ($14.95) which was crawfish fixed 4 ways - au gratin, fried tails, etouffee and crawfish dressing balls

Crawfish quartet ($14.95) which was crawfish fixed 4 ways - au gratin, fried tails, etouffee and crawfish dressing balls


I couldn't eat it all and brought it home, along with the bread pudding ($4.25) that I got for dessert. Our bill before tip was $40.15
Bill from Deanies

Bill from Deanies

McDonalds at night- our hotel is above and to the right of it

McDonalds at night- our hotel is above and to the right of it


Lenny's (part of the Half Shell)

Lenny's (part of the Half Shell)

Half Shell from our room at night

Half Shell from our room at night

Posted by greatgrandmaR 17:30 Archived in USA Tagged new_orleans louisiana

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Comments

Great to see your old family photos, and flying in over the Mississippi looks wonderful :) I find the decor in your room very heavy and sombre though - did you? New Orleans is on our radar for a future US trip for sure. The food sounds good too, though I steer clear of raw oysters these days after an unfortunate encounter a few years ago ;)

by ToonSarah

The decor was very Victorian. I thought it was somehow appropriate, but I admit I posted all of the because it was very dark (hard to get enough light to take a photo of it). I wasn't depressed or intimidated, but it wasn't really homey. The bed headboard was huge. I'm not a short person and I had to stand on the bed to reach the top of it. I'd never had a phone in the bathroom before. Current photos show the rooms much lighter and more modern. I really liked the view out of our window. Bob loves oysters if they are what he thinks of as an appropriate price. When I was pregnant and anemic, he fed me raw oysters and fried chicken livers for the iron. And he also likes shrimp. I have not really even gotten to the best food yet.

by greatgrandmaR

Ooh, I look forward to more delicious food soon then!

by ToonSarah

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