Author Topic: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy  (Read 8565 times)

Offline dpk4588

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(Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« on: December 13, 2016, 03:39:44 PM »
Intro - Pre-Trip
I donít remember how exactly I came up with the idea to go to New Orleans. If I recall correctly I was looking at the DDF Master Thread Of Master Threads: Links To 125+ Destination Threads! and I wanted to find somewhere different and more importantly not cold. I settled on NOLA (New Orleans -NO, Louisiana-LA) and then the research began.


I headed over to the NOLA thread and found a few small TRs but nothing big. I was planning on going Sunday-Thursday and the 2 TRs I saw were shorter than that so I headed to TripAdvisor to try and find other things to do.  I made a list and then the time came to start looking at flights and hotel options. I saw that AA doesnít fly direct from NYC to MSY so use of Avios was out of the question. I saw on UA they only fly out of EWR (a pain from Queens) and I looked at the ITA Matrix and saw that cash flights were relatively cheap. I found a DL flight in basic economy for only $177 R/T but with basic economy I wouldnít be able to upgrade to Delta Comfort or pick my seat in advance, which I planned on doing with my Ritz card. So I paid the extra $20 and booked a regular main cabin seat for $197 and use my Ritz card to upgrade to Delta Comfort.


This would be my first time sitting in Delta Comfort and let me tell you, for the extra $10 I paid, it was well worth it. The amount of legroom was huge. The entertainment system was a huge plus since I was having issues with my Kindle.


After booking and upgrading my flight it was time to look at hotels.  I looked at hotels, Hyatt, SPG, Marriott, Hilton and IHG, and nothing seemed to be really worth using points. The cash rates were either low enough or the points rates were way too high. I also figured that since I was going to be staying 4 nights I could use my Prestige and get the 4th night free. I was looking at the Citi ThankYou travel site (not realizing these werenít the same prices as the Prestige 4th night rates) and I saw the Hyatt Regency New Orleans for $411.85. Comparing that to the $204 a night pre-tax on Hyatt.com I figured it was a mistake and I should book it immediately. I called the Prestige # only to find out that the ThankYou travel rates werenít the same as the Prestige :(.  Figuring I wouldnít be able to beat a rate of $103/night I booked the ThankYou Travel room.


Once I got the confirmation I called Hyatt to add it to my HGP account so I could earn points and hopefully apply a DSU. Apparently, 3rd party bookings arenít considered ďeligible ratesĒ and therefore arenít eligible for point accrual or DSU. They wouldnít even let me add it to my HGP account so that I could receive my Diamond benefits such as best (non-suite) room upon check-in and free breakfast. I tweeted at Hyatt and they confirmed that I should have been eligible for the benefits. Not wanting to fight with them I decided to let it go for now and Iíd either live without Kosher breakfast and hopefully be able to get the best room at check-in or deal with it later.


As it got closer to the trip I kept checking the rates at both the Hyatt Regency and the Hyatt Centric French Quarter (formerly Hyatt French Quarter). I saw they had a special rate, which required a minimum two day stay (not a problem for me since Iíd be there for four nights) and a first night deposit. That second part was an issue for me. I saw the rate on Hyatt.com which means I should have been able to book it with the Prestige, but I didnít want to book it, pay for the first night and run into the 3rd party booking issues.  About a week before my trip, I saw that special rate drop to $129/night and I then remembered that I had the Hyatt Amex Offer which would save me $60 on every $200. Since with taxes the total would come out to just under $600 that meant that Iíd save $120 or about $30 less than Iíd save with the Prestige and I didnít have to worry about any 3rd party booking issues. I made the reservation, called Hyatt to apply the DSU and I was set with only a few days left until my trip. Thatís when I started to check the weather.  That made things interestingÖ.More on that later.

Don't worry, the rest of the TR is written, I just need to put the finishing touches on it. They'll be up soon.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2016, 03:43:36 PM »
Sunday - December 4, 2016
And so it begins...

I had an 8:05a flight out of JFK so I figured Iíd leave my house (15 mins from JFK) around 6:45. It took about 20 mins for a Lyft to finally show up after I had to cancel the first driver who was driving in the wrong direction for 5 mins. I finally got to JFK at around 7:10a. My flight was set to board at 7:25a so I was praying for no line at TSA Pre-Check. God answered my prayers as there was only one person ahead of me on the Pre-Check line and I was at the gate by 7:15a.


Boarding went smoothly, it was nice to be in an early boarding group, and I was lucky enough to have an empty seat next to me. I donít know why they boarded the flight 40 minutes before, but we were done boarding and the door was closed by 7:45a but for some reason we didnít pull back from the gate until almost 8:10a.  The flight was pretty uneventful, smooth, despite landing in NOLA during a thunderstorm. One thing I found interesting was that they served me my Jack and Coke with a cup of Coke and a little bottle of Jack, they didnít pour it in and mix it for me. Iím not sure if thatís normal or not, itís not how Iíve ever received it.


I landed, I was gonna take an Uber into the city for a flat rate of $33 but I saw a sign for an airport shuttle and it was $44 round trip. Being about a third less than Uber I decided to go for it. I was the second stop in the city so it wasnít too inconvenient.  While on the ride into the city I went onto the NFL ticket exchange and purchased my ticket for the Saints-Lions game at the Superdome.  $32 for a football game ainít too bad and despite the seat being in the corner of the upper bowl, it wasnít a bad view. The problem was printing my ticket. I got to the hotel, was able to check-in early, dropped off my stuff and headed to the business center to print my ticket. The unfortunate thing was that I didnít realize they charge $5 for 10 minutes of internet and another $1 to print a black and white page. Some of you may be thinking, why didnít I buy the ticket before and print it at home? I wasnít sure if Iíd make it, the weather called for severe thunderstorms and I wasnít sure if my flight would leave on time and not realizing that it would cost me another $6 to print the tickets, I figured it wasnít worth a ~$30 risk buying tickets I might not be able to use.


After printing out the ticket I hailed an Uber to take me to the Superdome and I only missed about half of the first quarter. Being a Jets fan (yes I know some of you are laughing at me now) I didnít really have any skin in the game so I was rooting for the home team. It was a rough one for them. The Saints D couldnít stop Stafford and Brees threw three picks. Either way I enjoyed the atmosphere and I got to see the inside of a famous arena.









Disrepair of the Superdome




After the game I walked in the rain (pretty big mistake) back to my hotel and eventually on to the Entergy Giant Screen Theater @ The Audubon Nature Institute to see an IMAX film Hurricane on the Bayou. It was an interesting documentary on the environmental causes and effects of Hurricane Katrina.





As with all of my trips, I dropped the ball in my planning a little. I had planned on going to Kosher Cajun for dinner Sunday night, only to see online (thankfully before I left) that they close at 3p on Sundays (I sometimes hate OOT restaurants). Being tired, still soaked from the rain, and not wanting to take a cab to and from Casablanca Restaurant, I ordered and paid their outrageous $23 delivery fee. What annoyed me was that it turns out the food was delivered by Uber and an actual Uber ride would only have cost ~$15. Anyway. Iím not a fan of spicy food so I decided to go with the Shwarama which was very good. Sorry I forgot to take a picture of it, I had skipped breakfast and lunch so when it finally came I didnít have much on my mind other than devouring it.  That was it for Sunday. Monday would teach me that sometimes it doesnít pay to plan in advance.


As for the room, I used my DSU and was booked into Petite Suite Two Queen. It was basically one extra large room, with a couch, a table and a desk like table on the side. It also opened up to a courtyard which I never went to. I did find the artwork interesting, one piece was basically a map of downtown NOLA without street names, and the other was an alligator split into two pieces. One problem I did have was that the outlets in the nightstand and the phone charger and USB ports attached to the phone didnít work. These were things Iíd never seen before and had no trouble living without but having them there and not working was kinda frustrating.









Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2016, 03:47:12 PM »
Monday - December 5, 2016
As I mentioned at the end of my intro in the middle of the week before my trip I decided to check the weather for NOLA, and much to my disappointment I saw that there supposed to be thunderstorms scattered throughout the day Monday. When I originally planned things I was scheduled to rent a car and drive out to a plantation and swamp tour on Monday, but that didnít seem to be the best idea in thunderstorms so I had to make some changes to my itinerary. The only problem with that, was that many of NOLAís attractions are closed on Monday, which was why I had originally planned the drive out for Monday.


I started looking at the list I made of things to do and seeing that many of my desired activities were closed on Monday. Luckily I was able to find enough to do by piecing other parts of the trip together for Monday.


Finally Monday arrives. I got to wake up a little late since my first activity wasnít scheduled until 10a.  I had heard that many movies and TV shows are filmed in NOLA, and I saw on TripAdvisor that there are movie tours that drive around and show you the locations of several famous scenes from TV/Film. I found New Orleans Movie Tours. They have two tours, the 10a tour which focuses mainly on the French Quarter and pre-2002 films, and a 2p tour which focuses on Uptown and post 2002 films. The tour was done in a 12 seat van but the crowd for this tour was very small at 4 people. This doesnít beat the time in LA when I had a double decker tour bus to myself, but still. The tour meets at the ferry terminal and I took the Canal St Streetcar down to the river. In terms of public transportation I decided to go with a 3 day Jazzy Pass ($9), which in retrospect was a mistake since Iíd be renting a car on Tuesday. I would have been better off buying a one day pass ($3) each day I planned on using the Streetcars or buses. Oh Well.


I headed down to the ferry terminal, met the tour guide Jonathan and we were soon on our way. Seeing that it was such a small group, he asked us if we wanted to do a mix of the two tours and we all said yes, which for me worked out well because I wouldnít have to take the second tour separately. It was pouring rain the entire tour which made me very happy it wasnít a walking or biking tour.  We drove around, Jonathan asked us some trivia, and we got to see the locations of many famous scenes. We also passed a few filming sets. They were filming NCIS New Orleans which often shoots in NOLA and some Gerard Butler that was doing reshoots (it was originally filmed almost 2 years ago which means that they decided it sucked and needed to redo it). One thing I found interesting is how sometimes things are filmed in NOLA that take place in NOLA and other times they film NOLA for things that take place in other cities such as Atlanta, Augusta, Washington DC, and Chicago. The funny part is that these cities look nothing alike and they are able to use generic areas to make it seem like theyíre really in the desired city. Another funny thing is when movies take liberties with the geography of NOLA. There were a few times in the tour where we saw scenes from movies where one person will walk out of a building in one place and when they show them on the street, they are across town.



Apparently the NCIS New Orleans Office


As we went through the garden district, we got to see the homes of a number of celebrities including Sandra Bullock and the only full-time celebrity John Goodman. Overall I enjoyed the tour, although the rain did make it hard to see and fully enjoy some of the locations (it was raining so hard you literally couldnít see a few feet away sometimes).



Sandra Bullockís Part-Time House



John Goodmanís Full-Time Home


After the movie tour, I headed via free shuttle to Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World. Mardi Gras World is the largest producer of Mardi Gras floats and props. The tour starts off with a short video about the history of Mardi Gras parades and Mardi Gras World, as well as how many of the floats and props are made. The tour of the facility only lasts about 15 minutes, the real enjoyable part is being able to walk around the warehouse and see all the different floats and props at different levels of production. The site I went to was one of 15 warehouses, and the only one used for production, the other 14 are for storage only, which makes you realize how much is actually made. They had an add-on to the tour where you can create your own Mardi Gras mask but that wasnít for me so after my tour I took the free shuttle back to Canal St and headed into the Riverwalk Outlet Mall to Cafe Du Monde for a lunch of coffee and beignets.



Blaine Kernís Mardi Gras World Logo



Building Props @ Blaine Kernís Mardi Gras World 



Sketch of a 2017 Mardi Gras Float @ Blaine Kernís Mardi Gras World



Flowers are the only props reused from year to year @ Blaine Kernís Mardi Gras World



He doesnít look orange to me @ Blaine Kernís Mardi Gras World



Wizard of Oz Props @ Blaine Kernís Mardi Gras World



Floats Mid-Construction @ Blaine Kernís Mardi Gras World




After lunch I made another scheduling error and headed to the Confederate Memorial Hall which I forgot was closed on Mondays :( Since the weather had finally cleared up and it got pretty nice out I decided to go for a ride on the St. Charles Streetcar, the oldest continuous streetcar in the world. I rode it from end to end, and it rides through some nice neighborhoods and past Loyola and Tulane colleges, but other than that there isnít much excitement after the first few minutes of the ride.



St Charles Streetcar



Beads on the Streetcar wires



St Charles Streetcar (Not named Desire, I didnít see 952)


I headed back to the hotel to decide on my dinner plans which ended up being Kosher Cajun NY Deli & Grocery. I figured that since I didnít have a car it would be a good time to pick up food for the rest of my trip.  After some convincing from the owner, I decided on the jambalaya, and it was very good. I picked up my take-out and ordered an uber. I didnít realize how cheap uber actually is here. Both my rides to and from Kosher Cajun were ~$15, and both were 15-20 mins. When I got back I thought about heading over to Frenchmen street for some live music, but it was pouring again and I was pretty tired and kinda wanted to watch the Jets game (big mistake, as it often is) so I called it a night.



Kosher Cajun Jambalaya
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2016, 03:51:54 PM »
Tuesday - December 6, 2016
I started Tuesday off by walking around the French Quarter. This was really my first chance to walk around since it was the first time I had no real chance of rain for an extended period of time. I wandered around, walking down Bourbon Street, around the FQ past the St. Louis Cathedral, and through Jackson Square. I found it interesting that the inscription on the base of the statue references Jackson as a military leader and not as President, my guess is because of his role in the Battle of New Orleans.



A look down Bourbon Street



Famous Jazz Club on St. Louis Street



The Four Points by Sheraton is the site of the old French Quarter Opera House



Street names in the sidewalk



Marie Laveauís Famous House of Voodoo



St. Louis Cathedral



Jackson Statue in Jackson Square



Jackson Statue & St. Louis Cathedral


After the French Quarter I headed over to the Hertz office near the convention center to pick up my car for the day. I was in and out pretty fast and I was soon on my way to Waffles On Maple. I ordered a Brownie a La Mode and it was delicious!





After my quick stop for brunch (it was around 10:30a and I wasnít planning on lunch that day so I figure brunch is an appropriate description) I was off on the drive to the San Francisco Plantation. After about a 45 minute drive, through some very ďinterestingĒ neighborhoods, past a few oil refineries, I finally reached the plantation. They run guided tours every 20 minutes and I got there about 11:45a so I was set to go on the 12p tour. The tour guide rang the bell (which Iím assuming was used to call in slaves) and the tour was set to begin. I get up to the tour guide and it turns out, itís just me.


My tour guide Connie went through some of the history of the builders and other owners of the plantation, the changes that have been made to the size of the property and the restoration process. We then walked through the house seeing all 17 rooms, and she gave a description of the purpose and design of each room. The tour lasted about 45 minutes and after I went to look at the small recreation of some slave dwellings which were not from this plantation but were restored from another plantation that had similar living quarters.


Overall I was kinda disappointed with the plantation tour. I was expecting it to be more of life on the plantation, how the plantation worked, the transition from slave labor to non-slave labor, but it was really just about the main house and its inhabitants. Iím not sure if the other plantations have the same experience, but if so Iím not sure it was worth the trip.



San Francisco Plantation Main House



Slave ďLivingĒ Quarters



Slave Inventory from 1843


After leaving the plantation I headed over to Cajun Pride Swamp Tours for my 2:15p swamp tour. I got there kinda early so I had time to just sit around relax for a little while. There was a charter group that got to go on the ďnicerĒ swamp boat, the one with an on board restroom, which if Iím correct in my assumption as to what happens with the waste is another reason I didnít wanna fall out of the boat.  My boat had a few other individuals but was mainly made up of a Greyline tour. We headed out, and one thing that I liked was that our guide Captain Danny said that whenever we saw something on one side of the boat, heíd turn the boat around for the other side to see.


The tour started out, talking about the swamp and the history of the town. Once we got further into the swamp we were able to see some wildlife. We saw a bunch of raccoons, a few deer, some sea turtles, an osprey and of course alligators. Unfortunately because of the cold (at least for the NOLA area) weather the alligators werenít really out. Apparently when it gets cold many of them hibernate. In the middle of the tour, there was a little show and tell segment where Danny passed around furs of animals that frequent the area, and he passed around a 2 year old alligator! I got to hold a baby alligator! That was kinda cool. His mouth was taped shut so he couldnít bite anyone.





Cajun Pride Swamp Tours



ďLuxuryĒ Swamp Boat Complete with Restroom





Funny but scary warning signs



First of many ďRocky the RaccoonsĒ



Bayou



Our First Gator Sighting



Turtles (Not Teenage Mutant Ninjas)



Another Gator



White Tailed Deer



Town Cemetery After 1915 Hurricane



Old Hunter and Gatherer Cabin





Osprey



Some of Rockyís friends



Bruce - 2 year old aligator



Interesting to see how the tree roots grow in the water


On my way back to the city area I kept noticing that gas stations had signs for casinos, which I thought was a little odd, so I stopped at one to check out what these places were like. It turns out that theyíre actually smaller than my hotel room, and they only have slot machines.


I headed back into the city, on my way I stopped at an Office Depot I had passed twice to print out the Gift Card I had ordered from Great Kosher Deals for Kosher Cajun (thanks SBS!). Apparently it costs 15 cents to print one black and white page, and when I pulled out my credit card, she looked at me and said ďyou know what, weíve got 15 cents in the change thing.Ē Iíll take free over points any day of the week.


I headed over to Kosher Cajun for an early dinner (because it didnít pay to drive back to the city, park maybe do something and then go back for dinner). This time I dared to try the Kosher Shrimp, but since I was worried about whether Iíd like it or not, I only got it as an appetizer. It was okay. I didnít hate it, although I do have to say the cocktail sauce was delicious, but Iím not sure Iíd get it again. It was worth a try.  I also got Red Beans & Rice with Sausage and an order of fries. The Red Beans & Rice with Sausage, another ďNew Orleans FavoriteĒ was very good. In terms of the restaurant itself, when I went Monday night it was pretty crowded because there was some kind of group, other than them, there were only a few people there and when I went on Tuesday I was the only one there. Its entirely possible that the place was empty because it was 5p and most of the people arenít in their 70s.



Kosher Shrimp with Red Beans & Rice with Sausage and fries


Once I was done with dinner I headed back downtown to return the car. The after hours Hertz return was as easy as can be. I decided since I was already in the area Iíd head to Harrahís and play some Blackjack. I spent about 3 hours there and after being down, then up, then down, then even, then up, then down, then even, then down I finally walked away down some money but I had a good time so it was worth it. (For those of you reading this that are thinking ďGambling is Assur! How could you go there and do that?!Ē you can take your condemnation and you know what to do with it.) That was it for Tuesday.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline dpk4588

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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2016, 03:53:37 PM »
Wednesday - December 7, 2016
Another late start to the day began with a trip to Cafe Du Monde for breakfast. I donít think thereís a clean way to eat a beignet. After breakfast I headed over (via Uber) to the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum which I thought would really be a museum about the Civil War from the southern perspective. Itís actually just a collection of Civil War artifacts from Louisiana. The museum is kinda small, just two rooms (one of which is more like a hallway with artifacts on both sides), but despite its size there are some interesting artifacts. One interesting thing I found out was that the Louisiana infantry men were called the Tigers and Iím wondering if thatís where the LSU Tigers got their name.



Louisiana 10th Infantry Division Flag



Cannon



Rare Confederate Rifles

Confederate Soldier's Jacket - He Wrote his information to identify him if he dies


After the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum I headed across the street to the National World War II Museum. I had heard great things about this place so I was really excited for it. I had specifically planned this for today as it is the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. There are 4 buildings to the museum. The first building is the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion which is the entrance which has a few military vehicles and a plane, and a rotating exhibits, the one I saw was about Tom Lea a WWII correspondent and muralist. The second building is the Solomon Victory Theater Complex, which houses the 4D presentation of ďBeyond All Boundaries,Ē which film describes the battles of WWII narrated by Tom Hanks (with additional voices done by several famous actors including Gary Sinise, John Goodman, and Brad Pitt). This building also houses an exhibit about Merchant Marines and the restaurant.  The third building is Campaigns Of Courage: European And Pacific Theaters. This building has two exhibits, one focusing on the Road to Berlin and the war in Europe, and the other focusing on Road to Toyko, and the war in the Pacific. The fourth and final building is US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. This building houses a few planes and a small exhibit on the different branches of the military.


Since it was Pearl Harbor day they had a number of programs going on in the Boeing Center and I caught the end of panel discussion with Pearl Harbor survivors and members of an organization called Sons and Daughters Pearl Harbor Survivors which focuses on retelling and preserving the stories of the events on December 7, 1941.  It might not have been a bad idea buy the 2 day ticket which costs an extra $6 to attend the various Pearl Harbor Day events today and explore the museum the other day, but oh well.  In terms of ďBeyond All Boundaries,Ē I thought it was fantastic, both good in terms of its content and the 4D aspects. I also thought the Campaigns of Courage were also well put together exhibits which had a good combination of information, videos, and artifacts. Overall a very solid museum which did a great job of getting across the message of what happened, how it happened, and how it affected the US and the world.



Higgans Boats Used in D-Day Invasion



Howitzer from WWII



Flag Captured from Italians



German Militia Armband





Growth of the US Navy During WWII



Ensign Austin Merrill's Flight Jacket



Naval Uniforms


The problem with days like this, when I spend all day walking through museums, is that I end up really exhausted at the end of the day. If I had planned it better, I would have gone to Frenchmen St for some live music after returning my rental car on Tuesday, but I didnít and after spending 6 hours walking through museums I was pretty tapped. I had picked up some sandwiches from Kosher Cajun on Monday and I got back to the hotel and crashed and had a tongue sandwich for a late lunch/early dinner. I often find that while many restaurants have tongue on the menu, many of them donít actually have it, so I was excited to see that they actually had some and I was unable to turn it down and it did not disappoint. That was it for Wednesday. Next up was my final day in NOLA.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

Offline tageed-lee

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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2016, 03:58:16 PM »
Cool TR! Enjoying all the pics! Thanks for sharing!

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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2016, 03:58:51 PM »
Thursday - December 8, 2016


This would be my final day in NOLA and I decided it would be a good day to learn some of the history of the city.  I started my day with The Historic New Orleans Collection. This is a museum that focuses on presenting artifacts from New Orleans history.  The first floor has rotating exhibits, and the one I saw was about shopping from the 1820s to the 1920s, and it focused on the different types of stores that were popular in the area in that time. The second floor houses a collection of different New Orleans artifacts such as old maps, letters, documents, and portraits. There were lots of interesting maps among other interesting artifacts.



Map of the Territory of Louisiana



Oath of Allegiance to King George II signed by John Winslow, Miles Whitworth, Ephraim Jones, & John Johnson



M1795 Type III Harpers Ferry Rifle Marked to the 1st Regiment Louisiana Militia



New Orleans Political Sign



Desire from A Streetcar Named Desire






After The Historic New Orleans Collection, I headed over to The Cabildo. This is more of a history museum, going through the history from the Natives (which they interestingly call Indians) through the French, then Spanish rule, through the Louisiana Purchase, and through the war of 1812 with a focus on the Battle of New Orleans.



Playing cards used as currency



Travel Chess Set



Upright Piano



Billiards Ball c. 1790



Napoleon's Death Mask



Report Card from 1842



Melodeon c. 1850



Sugar Lab Equipment



Money



Surgeonís Chest with Post-Mortem Kit



Printing Press c.1870


After The Cabildo I headed next door to The Presbytere. The Presbytere is a museum with 2 exhibits, one on the effects of hurricanes on the NOLA area and one on Mardi Gras. The museum is also the location where the Louisiana Purchase was signed. The hurricane exhibit had some interactive parts but some of them didnít work, so that was a little disappointing. Other than that I found both sections of the museum enjoyable and informative.



Piano from Fats Domino



Man Who Chronicled His Hurricane Katrina Experience on the walls of an abandoned building



Remnants of Highway Signs after Katrina



Garage Door of home destroyed by Katrina



Artifacts Recovered from a NOLA area Shul after Katrina



T-Shirt Mocking the Army Corp of Engineers for the failure of the Levees



Krewe du Vieux Carre



Krewe of NOR



Witch Doctor Costume from Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club



Parade Invitations



Music of Mardi Gras



Mardi Gras Signs



Mardi Gras Beads



Yeah, because that sign worked




After The Presbytere I headed over to the The New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint.  Just as a side note, walking from The Presbytere to the Old US Mint, I walked through a filming of NCIS New Orleans, I had to be stopped while crossing the street to make sure I didnít end up in a scene (itís too bad, that could have been my big break!). To be honest this was kind of a bust. There is a small room which focuses on the Old Mint, which had some old coins and some of the machinery used in the old mint, but not much else.  Upstairs there were a few exhibits, (which I believe rotate), one on Satchmo (aka Louis Armstrong), one on ďConservation of Musical Instruments,Ē one on ďSoul of the SouthĒ which displayed contemporary Southern art, and one on ďVisions of ExcellenceĒ which was about 2016 photojournalism.


I found the little exhibit on the old mint nice, but small, same with the exhibits on Satchmo, and conservation of musical instruments. Because Iím really not into art, I didnít bother with the other two exhibits, but they were also relatively small (based on the size of the rooms they were in).  Iíd say the best part of the Old US Mint was what I experienced at the end. Everyday at (I believe) 2p, they have live jazz sessions on the 3rd floor. I donít particularly have any interest in jazz music, but it was nice to sit down and experience some authentic NOLA jazz as the end to my trip.



Coin Press



Seals



Confederate Issued Coins



Automatic Weighing Machine (aka Scale)



Coinage Strip Cart



The Millionaire Counter



Painted Piano



Louis Armstrongís First Cornet



Louis Armstrongís Final Trumpet & Mouthpiece



Fats Dominoís Piano



Old US Mint Building


After leaving the little jazz concert, I headed (which was on my way back to the hotel) to the original Cafť Du Monde in the French Market. I had been to the stand in the Riverwalk a few times but this was my first time going to the original location.  The place was insane. For a place that only serves coffee and beignets, I would never have imagined that there would be so many people there, especially in the middle of the afternoon. The only thing I didnít like about it was that they donít take credit cards :(. I picked up some beignets for those at home (although they sadly donít really last). They must move fast because despite the place being packed, I didnít have to wait in line to place my order and I received it fairly quickly as well.



Original Cafe Du Monde


I headed back to the hotel to eat my actual lunch (this time it wasnít just coffee and beignets), pack up and check out. Twice in the 45 minutes, that it took me to eat lunch and pack up, members of the hotel cleaning staff knocked on my door to see if I was checking out. I told both of them that I was checking out at 4p, which I would have assumed that theyíd be able to see since it was confirmed when I checked in. After lunch and packing, I headed down to check out. Unfortunately, the woman checking me out was new and didnít know the system well enough to figure out how to split my payment onto two cards (since I wanted to use the Hyatt amex offer on two cards). She had to call over another agent, who did it with ease.


Shortly after check-out I boarded my airport shuttle, and after two other quick ups we were on our way to MSY.  I was able to fly through security (thanks TSA Pre-Check!), although not as fast as at JFK where there was only one person ahead of me.  After the quick trip through security, I went straight for the Delta Sky Club. Iím not someone who canít stand sitting at a gate, but since I used the airport shuttle, and they decided when to pick me up, I got to the airport (and through security) by 4:40p meaning I had 1:40 until my flight, so I got myself a seat and a beer and started to relax in the lounge. I had to say, this was by far the smallest airport lounge Iíve ever been in. There were signs that said that they would be opening a new Delta Sky Club in 2018, so maybe this one was a temp lounge while the ďrealĒ lounge is under construction, but if it wasnít then it was just plain tiny. Since there was a delayed flight to LGA the place was packed when I first got there. It took about 25 minutes, until after the LGA and other flight were called that the place emptied out.


The incoming flight was a little delayed so we didnít start boarding until around 6:10p, which meant there was no way we were getting out on-time. Thankfully we made up time in the air and landed on time. When I wrote the first part of this TR, I was still on my trip, and I hadnít experienced a non-front row of Delta Comfort. When I took my outbound flight there was a crazy amount of legroom. On the way back, I didnít feel that I had much more space than I have in regular economy. It was nice to get the priority boarding and an in-flight alcoholic beverage, but for the limited extra legroom alone, I donít think Iíd pay for Delta Comfort. Then again I didnít really pay for it so, it guess I got what I ďpaid forĒ so to speak.


That was my trip. Thanks to those on DDF who wrote NOLA TRs before me which helped me plan my trip. I hope you enjoyed the read and I hope it is helpful to anyone planning a trip to NOLA. Thanks for reading!

P.S. I will be adding a link to all the pictures I took not just the ones Iím including in the TR.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein

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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2016, 10:14:39 PM »
Thanks for writing that all up, must have taken a while.

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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2016, 10:16:42 PM »
Thanks for writing that all up, must have taken a while.
NP. I enjoyed writing it. I feel like I get enough from DDF I can give something back for the next person going to NOLA. Glad you enjoyed.
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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2016, 11:42:01 AM »
Thank you- the TR was great, very thorough. I'm going next week, also for 4 days, and I got a lot of good ideas from you!

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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2016, 11:48:31 AM »
Thank you- the TR was great, very thorough. I'm going next week, also for 4 days, and I got a lot of good ideas from you!
Glad I could help. Enjoy!
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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2016, 02:30:54 PM »
Intro - Pre-Trip
I donít remember how exactly I came up with the idea to go to New Orleans. If I recall correctly I was looking at the DDF Master Thread Of Master Threads: Links To 125+ Destination Threads! and I wanted to find somewhere different and more importantly not cold. I settled on NOLA (New Orleans -NO, Louisiana-LA) and then the research began.


I headed over to the NOLA thread and found a few small TRs but nothing big. I was planning on going Sunday-Thursday and the 2 TRs I saw were shorter than that so I headed to TripAdvisor to try and find other things to do.  I made a list and then the time came to start looking at flights and hotel options. I saw that AA doesnít fly direct from NYC to MSY so use of Avios was out of the question. I saw on UA they only fly out of EWR (a pain from Queens) and I looked at the ITA Matrix and saw that cash flights were relatively cheap. I found a DL flight in basic economy for only $177 R/T but with basic economy I wouldnít be able to upgrade to Delta Comfort or pick my seat in advance, which I planned on doing with my Ritz card. So I paid the extra $20 and booked a regular main cabin seat for $197 and use my Ritz card to upgrade to Delta Comfort.


This would be my first time sitting in Delta Comfort and let me tell you, for the extra $10 I paid, it was well worth it. The amount of legroom was huge. The entertainment system was a huge plus since I was having issues with my Kindle.


After booking and upgrading my flight it was time to look at hotels.  I looked at hotels, Hyatt, SPG, Marriott, Hilton and IHG, and nothing seemed to be really worth using points. The cash rates were either low enough or the points rates were way too high. I also figured that since I was going to be staying 4 nights I could use my Prestige and get the 4th night free. I was looking at the Citi ThankYou travel site (not realizing these werenít the same prices as the Prestige 4th night rates) and I saw the Hyatt Regency New Orleans for $411.85. Comparing that to the $204 a night pre-tax on Hyatt.com I figured it was a mistake and I should book it immediately. I called the Prestige # only to find out that the ThankYou travel rates werenít the same as the Prestige :(.  Figuring I wouldnít be able to beat a rate of $103/night I booked the ThankYou Travel room.


Once I got the confirmation I called Hyatt to add it to my HGP account so I could earn points and hopefully apply a DSU. Apparently, 3rd party bookings arenít considered ďeligible ratesĒ and therefore arenít eligible for point accrual or DSU. They wouldnít even let me add it to my HGP account so that I could receive my Diamond benefits such as best (non-suite) room upon check-in and free breakfast. I tweeted at Hyatt and they confirmed that I should have been eligible for the benefits. Not wanting to fight with them I decided to let it go for now and Iíd either live without Kosher breakfast and hopefully be able to get the best room at check-in or deal with it later.


As it got closer to the trip I kept checking the rates at both the Hyatt Regency and the Hyatt Centric French Quarter (formerly Hyatt French Quarter). I saw they had a special rate, which required a minimum two day stay (not a problem for me since Iíd be there for four nights) and a first night deposit. That second part was an issue for me. I saw the rate on Hyatt.com which means I should have been able to book it with the Prestige, but I didnít want to book it, pay for the first night and run into the 3rd party booking issues.  About a week before my trip, I saw that special rate drop to $129/night and I then remembered that I had the Hyatt Amex Offer which would save me $60 on every $200. Since with taxes the total would come out to just under $600 that meant that Iíd save $120 or about $30 less than Iíd save with the Prestige and I didnít have to worry about any 3rd party booking issues. I made the reservation, called Hyatt to apply the DSU and I was set with only a few days left until my trip. Thatís when I started to check the weather.  That made things interestingÖ.More on that later.

Don't worry, the rest of the TR is written, I just need to put the finishing touches on it. They'll be up soon.
Really well done.
-DMC
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it ~Ferris Bueller"

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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2016, 02:38:27 PM »
Very awesome job!
See my 5 step program to your left <--

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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2017, 09:48:03 PM »
This is perfect, Im planning a trip to NOLA next month and the couple we are going with only eats kosher so i have been trying to figure out the logistics for them. Any other time and I would have thought you writing how long the uber is to get kosher food to be a little too much detail. I realize now that you never know what detail people could use.
thank you!!!

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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2017, 10:16:12 PM »
Heading to NOLA in late June for two days...really appreciate your TR. Thanks!

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Re: (Not) Born on the Bayou: Big Apple Meets the Big Easy
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2017, 10:48:41 PM »
Heading to NOLA in late June for two days...really appreciate your TR. Thanks!
Glad I could help. Enjoy.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-Albert Einstein