Posted by: mckenzie68 | June 13, 2010

New Orleans, LA…you just have to go! June 8/9/10 or Days 51/52/53

We were up later than normal as Rae wanted me to sleep in to feel better (I ended up sleeping almost 12 hours!) and, our trip to New Orleans was only about 2 hours – max.   We chose the south route out of Lafayette, and on to New Orleans.  In short order we were entering the ‘Big Easy’!  There was still signs of Katrina (lots of rebuilding and face lifts still going on) even though much time has passed.  It’s sad really.

The Garmin took us right to our hotel without a hitch, and we pulled up into the courtyard valet area.  We unpacked our bikes and the head valet named Russell (Rae nick named him Rancid Russell…that should give you a clue to his stellar personality and awesome customer service skill) would not let me park the bikes in a stall.  He insisted that I park them along a wall leading down into the parkade, as our “bikes would never fit into a car stall”…what??  I asked him if I was paying parking ($32/day/bike) for both bikes and he said, “yes”…so I asked why when one spot was all I need to fit both bikes.  He refused and became rude, so I just parked both bikes and turned Rae loose on the hotel manager.  Really, Rae just spoke to the gal, who promptly fixed the issue and we paid for just one spot rather than two.  It was really interesting to see how rude Russell was to his boss in front of clients.  I think Rae was really surprised to see him at work the next morning.  She did speak with the manger again (by happenstance) and found out the gal’s name was Dedrie.  The staff at the Maison Dupuy are really stellar..well…all but one.  LOL.

The hotel was located in the original French Quarter made from 7 old townhouses.  There can’t be new building in the area where this hotel was, so the Maison took these town houses and gutted them, making the inside a modern hotel while leaving the outside looking like the original townhouses.  It was really cool.  The Maison Dupuy, had this beautiful courtyard in its centre, with a saltwater pool, hot tub, and a wedding cake marble water fountain – it was romantic in almost every way.

We got to our room which was nice, decorated in a French motif, but a bit dated.  We loved it!  We showered up and headed out for some food and exploration right away!  We literally had the whole afternoon and evening, which was awesome!  We walked down to the Mississippi riverfront, and watched a riverboat (named the Natchez) which was coming in to dock.  It let out a big whine from it’s steam whistle and I could not help but feel nostalgic!  I took a couple of pictures then we stopped at a cafe that was refered to us as a local eatery by one of the hotel staff.  She was spot on – the food was good and plentiful, the price right and the atmosphere exactly what we wanted.

We walked Bourbon St, and came across a Voodoo shop way at the end.  Well, of course had to check it out!  Once inside a lady that literally could have come from a movie, came out of nowhere and asked Rae if she wanted her palm and cards read!  There were lots of other people there but she only approached Rae.  Rae refused, but it was obvious that she wanted to do it (she had been talking about it earlier) and I encouraged her to go and do it.  She decided to do it and I was left alone, on Bourbon St, looking completely out of place.  Of course a homeless guy came up, asked for money, and then said he had HIV, AND he kept touching me.  I brushed him off but he kept coming back.  Eventually he moved on and now everyone seemed to want to talk to me…which creeped me out.  Rae eventually came out and was so excited, it was worth it.  I was impressed with how much she was able to remember from her reading and it was pretty cool.

We walked around lots, learning the area and people watching!  The people watching is really something, there are every type of people and nut represented – plus there was some awesome jazz music!  We ended up stopping at a couple of places to listen to the bands, and had an absolutely amazing night.  Rae and I loved it…what an amazing first night!

We let ourselves sleep in then spent the day walking around the area, and lazing by the pool for a while to cool off.  Our supper was seafood at Deanes, where we had all types of crab, oysters, and spicy taters!  It was awesome, except maybe the softshell crab…LOL.  Something is just not right about taking a big old bite of a crab body…Rae almost lost it.  LOL.  Our night ended early due to some communications issues but, that is sometimes going to happen.  Too bad it had to happen in NOLA though!

Rae was up early to take a Voodoo/Graveyard tour, while I slept in.  I ended up showering and heading out around 1230 and sure enough I ran right into Rae, who was super-duper excited about the tour.  Apparently her tour guide was this excentric older southern belle who acts as a consultant on films that deal with NOLA history.  She was a really good story-teller too, from what I understand…that and she was a Catholic that practices Voodoo.  Leave it to Rae to find the wildest tour guide!  What I thought was really funny is that Rae, through the tour, had found a new patron saint.  His name is St Expiditus…he is the patron saint for procrastinators!  LOL  A total match!  She was so excited about him that after her tour she went back to the church’s tiny gift shop to get his prayer card and metal.  So funny. It all sounded pretty cool and thankfully she took some pictures to remember it by.

We headed to Subway for lunch, then ended up walking to the WWII Memorial Museum, which was amazing.  There were some exhibits that I have not seen before, and Rae was completely captivated.  I wish more people would experience stuff like this.  If you are ever in New Orleans, you should take it in if you can, it’s well worth the entrance fee.

The day was hot and sticky so we walked back to our room, played in the pool to cool down then headed back out, stopping to listen to ‘Steamboat Willie’.  We ended our last night with a bottle of Yellowtail and headed to dreamland around midnight…we will be back to New Orleans!

Ray

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