I did a lot of research before visiting NOLA for a long weekend. It all started with trying to find a deal on my plane ticket with less than three weeks until departure. You can read about that challenge and the lessons learned on my other post.
Next was the search for a decent hotel. Many of the reviews I read on Yelp and other sites suggested that most reasonably priced hotels were outdated and had thin walls which was problematic in this party city. I was worried that lots of partiers would still be around the weekend after Mardi Gras. It turns out most hotel sites did not have accurate information on hotel availability. Hotels.com and Hotwire did not show any decent hotel available in my price range. But when I searched www.NewOrleans.com, they had rooms available at some decent hotels, and I finally decided on the Country Inn and Suites on Magazine Street in the Central Business District (CBD). The hotel was clean, no reports on BedBugReports.com, was in a quite neighborhood, even during a weekday, had a tasty breakfast with little changes each day and make your own waffles, fresh cookies, and friendly staff. The walls weren’t too thin and the hotel seems recently updated (maybe after the hurricane?). I did not use the NewOleans website for any other services, but they also show tour and other visitor information.
Then I spent hours researching where to do, restaurants to visit, what to see, where to hear good music, etc. I marked everything on a map and made a list, both of which I accidentally left at home. Luckily, my seat neighbor on the flight into NOLA went to college there in the 60′s and rattled off a list of restaurant recommendations and most of the info I marked on the map stuck in my head (I always remember things better when I write them down). So all was not lost. I did remember my public transit map from the RTA website. You can take the E2 bus from the airport terminal to downtown CBD for $2.00. It’s about 40 minutes and you get to see the real people of NOLA. Shuttle rides might be 20-30 minutes, at least $20, and not an authentic experience.
- Fodor’s New Orleans website
- Why New Orleans Mattersby Tom Piazza
- Nine Lives by Dan Baum
- Treme HBO series about life in NOLA – I have not yet started watching the first season.
More to come on New Orleans after Mardi Gras and Visiting NOLA