48 Hours in the Big Easy: Easy Life, Easy Fun, Easy Food
Flying from Miami to New Orleans is rather quick; it’s less than 2 hours. This makes for a great forty-eight hour getaway.
The Marriott New Orleans is billed as a 4 star hotel- it gets four dots on TripAdvisor, and I would give it 4 dots as well. But that might be a bit generous for some. You see, it’s nice, yet it has a funny smell in the hallway (on the 6th floor at least). It also had a bit of mold in the caulking around the tub. For me, that wasn’t enough to ding the hotel for. It is a clean, lively, centrally located, higher end hotel and they do charge for that. The staff is friendly, there’s a Starbucks in the lobby, and they have the most unusual elevator security scheme I’ve ever seen.
Once we arrived, we went out to search for a place to get lunch. As it so happens, there’s places to eat everywhere around the hotel, as well as everywhere else you walk. The difficult task is actually selecting a place.
We went on TripAdvisor and selected Daisy Dukes. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and are open, according to TripAdvisor, 23 hours and 59 minutes a day. Our server, Pamela gave us true southern hospitality. The food and service was so good for lunch, we can back the next morning for their $2.99 breakfast (extra with meat and coffee). And once again, welcomed and treated very well
The first day we spent just strolling around, taking in the atmosphere. At every turn, there was something new to explore. And then there’s the music. Music fills the air no matter where you are in the French Quarter district. Restaurants on every corner and in between serving up their own billed “famous Cajun inspired” or “authentic Cajun” foods. The aromas from all directions delight the senses.
Even when not Mardi Gras, this area is “festive”- beads being handed out, tossed from balconies, double-fisted containers of alcohol concoctions, and smiles on every face. Even if you’re not imbibing, you can’t help but absorb the energy and you realize after your face begins to ache, you’ve joined in on the fun without even knowing it with a grin from ear to ear.
To be fair, our visit is during St. Patrick’s Day and there were multiple parades over the weekend. On our 48 hour excursion, we didn’t have time to stand around for those festivities.
The best way I feel to see this area is to just start walking, walk down streets and just admire the architecture, iron working skills, and the history and flavor. You may stumble upon Louis Armstrong Park or Jackson Square.
After our seven mile stroll, we made our way to Eat. It gets good reviews for the most part on TripAdvisor and I would give it 3.5 to 4 dots myself. The food was good, not outstanding. I found their take on macaroni and cheese to be interesting- using small spaghetti noodles instead of traditional macaroni. The service was excellent, atmosphere trendy, prices reasonable.
After another stroll down Bourbon Street, our bed was calling loudly.
As stated earlier, we at breakfast at Daisy Dukes- the food is good, reasonable prices, close to the hotel, and service outstanding. We then went on a historic walking tour with Friends of the Cabildo. This very reasonably priced ($20 ea) two hour walking tour was a great way to understand the history of this area. It is always interesting to find out more about an area’s culture, architecture, foods- and licensed tour guides such as this is the way to go if you’re a history buff, especially.
Once the tour was complete we made our way over to dock to board The Steamboat Natchez. This is a relaxing ride along the Mississippi River with the option for brunch. On board, there’s live music, a bar, panoramic views of the city- a very relaxing trip indeed.
According to the website, “She’s the ninth steamer to bear the name Natchez” and “is one of only six true steam powered sternwheelers plying the Mississippi”. And now, as of 2013, “only two remain”.
With our bellies full and our round-trip made, we docked and disembarked the bright-red paddle wheeled steamer to continuing exploring the area.
We walked along the river through the park to the aquarium and then back to our hotel. It was a lovely day coming to a close and with the weather so nice this day, it seemed the entire city was taking advantage of it. It probably helped that it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend as well.
A quick rest and freshen up at the hotel, we set out for our last dinner and chose The Original Pierre Maspero’s. This restaurant gets great ratings on TripAdvisor and although there was a line of hungry patrons waiting, it moved fast and we were quickly seated. You’ll get an authentic Cajun experience and the food was delicious; the crab cake maspero especially. “Three house special crab cakes served on a bed of sautéed spinach, heirloom tomato, mushrooms and onions, topped with our tangy house-made sauce”.
With the evening drawing to a close, one more stroll down Bourbon St. had to be made. It had provided a plethora of amusement so far and one final time the debauchery continued to please. Back at the hotel, we fell into bed and quickly drifted to sleep and awoke early for the flight back to reality- the reality of going back to work to pay for this wonderful experience.
The Big Easy was everything and more than I expected. The food, the scenery, the scene, but especially the hospitality and friendliness.
As always, Thanks for tripping with me.