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Splurged and got the room w/ a window at Place D'Armes. $99 is hard to beat in the the French Quarter. Also have the tickets for the train. Ordered a travel book from the library (I prefer paper) to peruse to come up w/ things to complement the WWII museum, possible Confederate/Civil War museum and swamp tour. There have been some suggestions that I will run by my son. I usually plan a couple extra things in case a place is closed or that fabulous museum was a 3 hr tour and not all day.

There is some excitement here about this trip. Plus my son wants to get off the train in Houston just to see how hot and miserable it can be there.

 

Thanks,

 

Dan

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I seem to remember that the bus at the airport did not stop was where it was said to stop... realisation dawned after an extra long wait, so double check the correct place to wait!

As to Coops, Jim... Gotta go there, never mind the gambling and the girls? Heck, that would be the main attraction!

 

Ed :cool:

 

ps I did stroll down Bourbon Street with my 13 year old son, he enjoyed it... ;)

Edited by caravanman

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Mardi Gras World just across the river in Algiers (get the ferry at the foot of Canal Street) is a fun way to go and see the floats without having to deal with the debauchery that is Mardi Gras. It was recommended to me by a couple of locals years ago and was well worth seeing.

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Mardi Gras world is not across the river. It is in New Orleans past the convention center. They have a shuttle, but when we were there it was extremely busy and we couldn't get the shuttle. It was a little touristy, but being our first time there was good.

 

WWII museum was just OK in my opinion. I was expecting something that was like the Smithsonian in DC and it wasn't even close.

 

We did a bus tour of the city by I think Lousianna Tour Company which was good.

 

Check out the French Market for some shopping.

 

Swamp tour was good even without seeing alligators in the cold.

 

Another thing to do is Plantation tours. I highly recommend Laura and would stay away from Drestehan.

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Thanks for the ideas. I was hoping to go on a paddle wheel boat ride. Looked like fun. But the most convenient one is in the evening and more expensive. Plus, it seems like it would be harder to see much at 9 PM. It would start in the daylight but end in the dark. Another ride is over to a War of 1812 battlefield site. Looks like a short ride so not so sure I want that either. I am going to look some more at the options there. If nothing looks good, I will consider a plantation tour. Those look good but also would eat a lot of time.

 

Re WWII museum--I have read very good reviews online and got a good one from someone who was there last year. She said she could have spent the whole day there.

 

French Market is on the list of places to see.

 

Biggest issue is we are only there on Monday and Tuesday. Many of the smaller museums, including the Confederate one, are only open on Tuesday. So it kind of restricts us a bit in what we can plan. Ideally, I'd like to do the swamp tour Monday AM and then spend the afternoon at the WWII museum. Then try to do a few small museums and, the paddle wheel boat or plantation tour on Tuesday. I am a bit worried though that the Sunset Limited may be many hours late and we might miss the swamp tour. It hasn't been that late recently but it's not like I am counting on Amtrak to get me there at any specific time.

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Mardi Gras world is not across the river. It is in New Orleans past the convention center. They have a shuttle, but when we were there it was extremely busy and we couldn't get the shuttle. It was a little touristy, but being our first time there was good.

 

When I went there it was on Newton Street in Algiers and required the ferry ride to get there. Glad to see it moved to a less remote location, saddened to hear it's now touristy. It was recommended to me by a number of locals and family who lives there as something off the beaten path to see.

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Even though "New Orleans" as a topic has diverted somewhat from the initial offering . . . I too have some thoughts about the place.

 

Over the decades my travels for business and pleasure have numbered close to two dozen -mainly business and most times in/out by air or ship.

 

I preferred staying at hotels pretty much on the periphery of the French Quarter - walking distance if you will. Although for the budget minded, there are bargains galore to be found if willing to pound the keys a bit.

 

In my experiences it was always warm to hot and with high humidity whilst below sea level. If not for air conditioning, there is no way I could survive there!

 

There are all sorts of things to do and see in the city and immediate vicinity. For example, taking the street car system just for the ride turned out to be quite a low-cost tour out to Lake Ponchartrain - however, I must admit that was eons ago. Still, some fascinating things to see - the antebellum type homes, above ground cemeteries and the southern style hustle & bustle was intriguing to me.

 

One of my favorite breakfast places was/is Cafe Du Monde, which has some interesting coffee's and pastry's plus an excellent place to observe - simply observe. A link: http://cafedumonde.com

 

Of late, I take the train from Chicago or fly down for a return north by train. My preference is to stay at the Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome (with the huge Saxophone on the side of the structure). Great place - good proximity to things I like to do and see, etc. One of those things is a visit to their National WWII museum - a must see for anyone who has served or appreciates those who have. A link: http://www.nationalww2museum.org

 

As for the train station itself, called a Union Passenger Terminal, it is well done for the times with a small but adequate lounge for bedroom passengers called the Magnoiia Lounge.

A link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Orleans_Union_Passenger_Terminal

 

Arrival and departure times for the City of New Orleans are convenient enough to where I prefer them to the train. Of course being in the St. Louis area means an extra link-up for more trains! Nothing wrong with that, eh?

 

 

 

 

 

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I have not, but it's right up near the top of my list of places to visit. :) I want to see the old cemeteries and architecture, and I love jazz. Creole cooking is probably too spicy for me, and I don't dig seafood, but I'm sure I can find something yummy.

I've only been to New Orleans once. We stayed for about three days.

 

I was absolutely awed by everything I saw. Words cannot do justice to this city, which has so much character in all its parts and down to the smallest details. I didn't do much research before going and in hindsight I see that I've totally missed some of the must-do attractions so don't know if that's good or bad. I also didn't fully appreciate the significance of some of the things I did see because I hadn't read up on them. So next time I'll definitely come better prepared. But even totally unprepared and missing some of the highlights, I had a wonderful time.

 

We went into some of the jazz clubs. I later read up on these on the Internet and it turned out the ones we picked were not the best, but even so we liked them and to us they felt like the best. We sampled lots of food and some of that was good and some wasn't (must learn to avoid tourist traps). Cafe du Monde, for example, we found to be hugely overrated - it was dirty and the staff were useless. We did all the streetcar lines (enjoyed every minute of that - we were surprised that most of the folks there were locals and not tourists so it was a real immersion into local culture and humor). We went on the Nachez steamboat (on the expensive side, but worth it). We visited various antique shops in the French Quarter (really stunning to see some of the stuff they have) and yeah, even did Bourbon Street (which actually turned out to be more restrained than we thought it would be, but er "instructive" nevertheless). On the whole, we felt safe wherever we went, even at night. Some of the shops on canal Street were obviously making a quick buck selling wortless junk to unsuspecting tourists. I needed to get a replacement camera there and then and went into three different camera shops there and not only were their prices quite high (which you can maybe justify with it being a small shop and the cost of opportunity being what it is, so nothing wrong with that in itself) but they all told us massive stories about this being extremely discounted stuff actually worth much more or some cheap run of the mill camera actually being the latest high end professional model that hasn't been officially announced yet. All of it lies.

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Excellent description of New Orleans, it's a world unto itself! Anyone who hasn't experienced it is deprived! ( and once they go they may be depraved! LOL)

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BUSTITUTION ALERT: The St Charles Streetcar line is undergoing extensive track upgrade. If you are visiting New Orleans during the next several weeks and intend to ride the St Charles line through the beautiful “Garden District”, expect a bustitution along the route. During our visit in late June, the streetcar passengers loaded, as usual, at the stops in the Canal Street area with no indication of the track work ahead. We had done some planning for the trip and were actually taking this ride to figure out exactly where the bustitution would occur because we were planning on taking this route to dinner one evening, but most of the other NOLA visitors who were aboard were unaware of the interruption until the streetcar rattled to a stop at Washington Ave and the motorwoman yelled out for everyone to get off of the streetcar and go catch the bus.

 

There was no bus readily available so everyone wandered around until a bus rolled up on a side street. We all boarded and rode the bus several blocks on the neighborhood streets until we again intersected St Charles Ave. We were told to step off of the bus (that would be debus, in conductor talk) and wait for a streetcar to arrive from Uptown. The wandering around was a little more concentrated at this stop because most of us figured out that the streetcar was going to arrive on the rails (duh!). Besides, we could see a couple of streetcars sitting a couple of blocks west of our position...at least I think it was west, this is the Crescent City after all. At Canal, this streetcar is headed south, swings to the west as it follows the bend in the river, and ends up going northeast when it makes the turn onto Carrolton. So, Boy Scouts--bring your compass.

 

We rode the second streetcar as far as the turn at S. Carrolton. One of our favorite dives, Cooter Brown's, is in this Uptown neighborhood...very cold beer (a necessity after a bustitution in June in NOLA) and very good snacks. Rather than run the gauntlet on the St Charles line for our return to the Canal St area, we took the #11 bus thru a very nice neighborhood along Magazine St. There are literally dozens of small shops and restaurants along Magazine...I assume this area is considered part of the Garden District since the street runs parallel to St Charles Ave and is about four blocks closer to the river. In any case, this neighborhood offers some interesting exploring that is not nearly as “visitor oriented” as the Quarter and Warehouse areas...first clue--no hotels along this route.

 

It appears this track work is going to continue for several weeks. If this is your only chance to visit New Orleans, I encourage you to tolerate the bustitution and ride this streetcar through one of the classic neighborhoods of this city. Otherwise, take the Canal St cars out to the cemeteries and the art museum, botanical garden, and, last but not least the thoroughbred track and save the St Charles ride for a later date.

 

Some restaurant considerations: This trip was supposed to be a quick overnight and catch a northbound train the next day but a delay allowed us to eat at several New Orleans joints and a couple of really nice restaurants. These stops don't even scratch the surface of the great food in this city. Even people who live here don't get around to all of the wonderful eating choices.

 

Our plan for the first evening was dinner at Vacherie's Restaurant. Mother Nature altered this plan but I would still recommend this as a place to try for any meal...many people prefer their beignets at breakfast to Cafe du Monde, maybe that's because you don't have to wait in line for half an hour to get a plate full. Anyway, JoeG needed a martini with pickled merlatons from K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, so we trekked over there for a quick cocktail. While we enjoyed our time at the bar, a huge downpour occurred outside...we were stranded!!! So, we opted for dinner at this superb little restaurant where Paul Prudhomme oversaw the kitchen as one of the original Creole master chefs. Any seafood or rice based dish you try here is guaranteed to satisfy!! BTW, I had blackened Louisiana drum smothered in petite shrimp and JoeG ordered the flounder in a delicate sauce and topped with four large oysters.

 

The next morning Mother's was the first stop...their specialty is ham served in a variety of ways, eggs, and grits. Plan for a bit of a wait to get in this joint. It is very popular with locals and tourists alike. Be careful not to drip any eggs on your shirt like I did.

 

For lunch we opted for a place I have been haunting for many years...Coop's Place on Decatur St. On the walk down Decatur, we passed Central Grocery and Deli. They claim to be the originators of the Muffuletta sandwich. If you are driving, or riding coach, on the train from NOLA this sandwich will hit the spot as you travel. This thing is made on a whole loaf of round bread the size of medium pizza. JoeG has taken a couple of these with him when riding coach. You can cut them into 6 or 8 pieces and be very popular with your fellow travelers. You might as well take enough to share, otherwise when you unwrap this sandwich and the pungent olive based tapenade fills the coach, there COULD be a riot!!

 

Now on to Coop's Place: “where the not so elite meet to eat”. I think that is code for a dive...our kind of place and really good Cajun food to boot. I'm in a rut at this place, I always have the Chicken Tchoupitoulas (they told me it is pronounced chop-a-tool-us). However you say it, it's good eatin'...chicken breast on a bed of rice topped with garlicky olive oil sauce filled with onions, olives, crushed red pepper, and rosemary. JoeG tried the daily special--shrimp and crayfish gumbo. He was carrying on about how good it was so I reached over for a fork full. Not a good idea to sample gumbo with a fork...I ended up with a nice dribble down the clean shirt I had changed to after breakfast.

 

This evening we are back in the Garden District at the Commander's Palace. This restaurant has been on JoeG's bucket list for years but this was his first opportunity to be in town with a suit jacket (a wardrobe suggestion for the Pullman Experience the next day). I was afraid the joint would be awfully snooty but the atmosphere was very cordial and relaxed. That's a good thing for us because we had a couple of huge laughs during the 2 1/2 hour meal that would have gotten us escorted out of a less tolerant foo-foo joint. Speaking of escorted, upon arrival, the route to our dining room was right through the kitchen. JoeG said he felt like Duncan Hines-- for you younger folks, he was a famous restaurant critic who always insisted on a tour of the kitchen before trying the food. Now on to the main event...the wine list was extensive and the meal choices sounded wonderful and elaborate. When our waiter arrived I'm sure we looked like two deer staring in the headlights. She suggested that the best bet for two old country boys was the Chefs Playground...a 7 course dinner with 6 wine (very generous pours) pairings. That suited us just fine...no more decisions to make! If you care to read about this dinner and accompanying pics, check the menu on 2Joes-JoeH on flickr. One point of order...during course #3, the bang-bang crawfish, along with the wonderful hot, spicy fried morsels, there was a boiled crawfish on the plate. When I bit the head off of that sucker, there was an explosion of liquids all over the front of my shirt. For those keeping count, that's 3 shirts in 3 meals today! You know how when you laugh so hard you can't get your breath and then your face hurts afterward...that was us. This was a special dinner at a special place and will be marked off of the bucket list with fond memories.

 

The next morning we were scouting the area for breakfast food. Hard to believe, after a 7 course meal that eating would even be a suggestion. We found Huck Finn's cafe, an excellent breakfast with a Cajun flare. I enjoyed the Bayou Lafitte Skillet- crawfish scrambled eggs topped with an etouffee sauce served in a cast iron skillet. JoeG's choice was the Rajin Cajun Omelet filled with Boudin and Monterey Jack cheese. Both dishes were accompanied with fluffy southern style biscuits.

 

Our lunch plans are for the Pullman Club car departing NOLA for Chicago...but, that's another story!!!

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Too bad about the Garden District bustitution but this system is really old and since Katrina New Orleans seems to be making a real effort to maintain and improve these jewels!,As you said, still worth it!

 

As for the eating joints, brilliant minds think alike! I'm a big Coops fan , an old time SCA on the Sunset told me about it and lots of Amtrak OBS go there! My favorite is the Rabbit Jambalaya! Cold beer too! ( are the working girls and the gambling still around? ) And Commanders Palace is Outstanding, best fine dineing in New Orleans! Yuuuuuum!!!

 

You created a new rating system for restaurants, 0,1.2 or 3 Shirts Joint! LOL

Edited by jimhudson

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You created a new rating system for restaurants, 0,1.2 or 3 Shirts Joint! LOL

That's funny. I just may have to develop a convoluted Stained Shirt Rating System. No doubt, we run the gamut of the ratings !!!

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Check out Plas D'Armes Hotel! this one is my favorite! wub.gif

 

How far from the Amtrak Station?

Thanx

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Got back from NOLA about 2 weeks ago, and a couple of comments:

 

1) This is the first trip that my wife and I have taken, alone, in decades. Last time was to DC in the 1990s. We thought we'd splurge a bit, and so we stayed at the Ritz Carlton on Canal St. It was pricey, but oh, goodness, was it worth it. The attention to detail, the friendliness and service were without par.

 

2) Cafe du Monde. Yes. VERY overrated. The begniets (did I spell that right?) were very good. The coffee was so so. The service was non-existent. I really don't understand the hype about the place. Loud, crowded, noisy. Meh.

 

3) I'm not a fan of seafood (don't ask - it has to do with my upbringing). So I was looking for someplace to eat where The Management could get lobster, and I could get something else. We ended up at the Star Steak and Lobster House on Decatur St.

 

https://sites.google.com/site/starsteaklobsterhouse/home

 

The decor was, well, 19th century brothel. But the service was great, and the food was quite good. Couple of lobster tails, strip steak, a couple of cocktails and we got out for about $110 including tip. Nothing fancy, but good food and live music. Easy to get to off the streetcar.

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I stayed at the Canal Street Inn a few years ago. It's a bit pricey now but a nice place for a splurge.

You can reach it by streetcar from NOUPT (train station) using the Rampart-St. Claude line from the station and connecting with the Canal St. line.

www.canalstreetinn.com/

 

The secret with enjoying the Café Du Monde is bypassing the lines in the outside open-air seating area and head directly inside to the enclosed A/C area. Service is quicker and usually tables are available without a wait. Morning Call moved out of the Quarter to Metairie in the early 70s unless they have reopened in the Quarter in recent years.

 

I spent the early Amtrak years in New Orleans while attending college. It's a second home!

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There are some newer hotels that have opened recently that are within a street car ride from the Union Passenger Terminal. The B on Canal is a boutique style hotel that is one block north of the Rampart/St Claude line. A few blocks further on in the same direction is the Jung Hotel and Residences, also a new place. Street car fare is $1.25 in both directions. They do not give change. They give a little voucher instead. If you put in $2, the machine will spit out a voucher worth $.75. When you get on another car, you use the $.75 voucher and pay the difference. I was told recently that tourists don't seem to get that concept. I dunno. :P

 

Any time you need info about the city and suggestions, hit me up. I'm more than happy to help you out.

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We stayed at the Hilton on the riverside (points) because we love the bbq oysters at their restaurant and bar. They are super!

 

Spent a whole day at the WWII Museum. It was very good and they are still adding buildings. IMO it is a must see.

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Has anyone stayed at the Roosevelt Waldorf?

 

My trips have included stays at The Ritz, Le Pavillon, and Windsor Court (twice).

 

Looking for something upscale and a bit different.

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The Old ( and Completely Rennovated) Roosevelt was the NOL Home of the Infamous Late Gov/Senator Huey "Kingfish" Long.It was "The Place"to be back in the day, (30s/40s) but fell on hard times and became sort of dowdy, but the rehab makes it really sparkle again.

 

It's known for its excellent Bar and Food and for Good Service by the staff. It's really very nice, but is Expensive as are all Upper Tier Hotels.

 

I've not stayed there since the rennovation, but I've had drinks in the Bar and the Dinner I had,was as good as what I ate @ "Comnanders Palace", which is one of the Best in the Big Easy.

 

Dressing up is part of the package, and the crowd tends to be older and wealthy compared to the newer "Nice" Hotels in NOL.

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