It’s been a long time, Big Easy.

New Orleans was our fantastic twelve-year anniversary vacation destination!  What a wonderful twelve years it’s been, an adventure that continues, living life to it’s fullest… and the Big Easy is a great spot to celebrate.

We hit all the top spots.  We stayed at a wonderful condo/co-op: The Saint Philip Hotel. No, it was not a bed and breakfast. There was an office where you check in.  There was no food served.  The service was surprisingly attentive, room clean, not-to-beat location. They seem to be individually owned condo units, so they’re like an apartment complete with kitchen. June, the nice lady who checked us in, actually called us personally a few days before to confirm our arrival time. And St. Philip Hotel was centrally located within the French Quarter, easy stroll to both the street car line on Central or live music on Frenchmen Street.

  

Only a few days in town, our first stop was to acquire a hot café au lait and some freshly fried beignets at the Cafe Du Monde Original French Market Coffee Stand.  Cafe Du Monde: hot coffee, fresh beignets fresh, quick friendly service.  We also stopped by another local coffee shop and enjoyed coffee and beignets… and live jazz band, during the day in the morning (impressive!)… at Cafe Beignet on Bourbon Street.  We stopped at all three locations over the time we were in town, but enjoyed the Cafe Beignet at Musical Legends Park the best.

   

Another notable restaurant, for breakfast, was Café Fleur-De-Lis and their Seafood Benedict, and Bourbon Street Breakfast… the very best banana pecan pancakes… with a shot of Bourbon!

  

An outstanding history tour carriage ride with Jonathan and Queenie over at Royal Carriages took us through the French Quarter streets and then a foot-tour through Saint Louis #1 Graveyard.  (Sometimes we think city tours can be self-led, just read some books or self-guided fliers. But Jonathan’s tour is really worth it, if you go to New Orleans, book a tour with him as your guide.)  Being a history buff, and veteran (reservist during the kinder, gentler Clinton era), we also spent a few hours at the National WWII Museum.  I learned a lot, but it was a very heavy place to visit. We also made it to the Museum of Death (which was gory and we could’ve perhaps lived without, but nice to say we did it… I guess), the Pharmacy Museum (did you know it was the first licensed pharmacy in the United States?) and the Museum of Art (we rode the famous New Orleans Canal Street Car to get there, perfect spot to stop on the way to the airport.)

    

Creole food is what comes to mind when we think New Orleans. Creatures of habit, although we did try several restaurants for lunch and dinner, but Coops Place kept us coming back. Delicious food and reasonably priced, we sampled just about everything on their menu.  Lamb ribs like we’ve never had before, fantastic rabbit & sausage jambalaya, amazing cajun fried chicken, scrumptious southern rice and beans, silly good shrimp creole, Coops Place restaurant is a place not to miss when in New Orleans. Coops Place definitely earned our double delicious rating. (They are known for a ‘Dicks last resort’-style service, perhaps that’s what we enjoyed. Haha)  Throughout our visit, everywhere we went seemed to carry Abita beer, andy we figure out why. Andygator.

  Josh Benitez Band - NOLA  

If you want to see live jazz, blues, maybe some ‘creole rock’, New Orleans is the place to go.  Frenchmen Street in New Orleans is the Las Vegas of live blues and jazz, do not miss this either!  During our stay, film crews were busy working day and night; it was suggested by locals they’re filming NCIS New Orleans TV show.  We were fortunate enough to catch several nights of live music on Frenchmen, in places like the Spotted Cat Music ClubApple Barrel Bar (Josh Benitez Band), and Cafe Negril. There are literally dozens of clubs, each with their own flair, in the Big Easy that you can stroll in and out of, we didn’t have any that had a cover charge!

   

We missed a few things due to in-climate weather (locals said they hadn’t seen rain in months, but we were blessed with bitter cold all-day rain for 2 out of 3 days!), like our plantation and swamp tour.  But the main reason we came to New Orleans was the food and music.

We’re excited our 12th Anniversary was spent in New Orleans, Food and music is why we’ll be back.

Crowded standing room only at Delta gate, over booked flight from ATL to AVL – Delta bumping passengers

P.S. A note to mention here about our travel plans.  We have booked on Expedia for years, but this time air travel was a bumpy ride.  It was unusual when we booked we weren’t able to get seat assignments. We had a stop-over, and we were only able to get seat assignments after we checked in… and only for the first of our two flight segments in each direction. We were unable to get seat assignments for the flight from our layover to the final destination, our boarding pass said SEAT ASSIGNMENT AT GATE. Upon arrival early to the over-crowded, standing-room only gate at Atlanta airport, we learned Delta over-booked the flight.  Gate agent informed us they were legally allowed to overbook flights.  Yes, they offered to compensate passengers – but a snowstorm (which ended up canceling many flights the next day) was bearing down on the region.  If not on this flight, we wouldn’t get home for days.  We were prospects for being bumped, and thankfully were not – but there were certainly some other unhappy passengers who did get bumped.  We’re grateful the gate agents were very friendly and kind – they even gave us a stack of drink vouchers that could only be used on this flight (even though no drink service available) and expired in a few weeks.  Delta should understand it’s not nice to purposely overbook flights without notice, then leaving gate personnel to deal with unhappy customers. (This is not our first negative experience with Delta, they once bumped us without compensation, then made us reservations in a bed-bug infested motel near the airport, but that’s another post…) Expedia should recognize their involvement in over bookings, without notice, and simply be more clear about telling customers. Next time we’ll think twice about Expedia, and always double check our Delta reservations to see if they’re confirmed.  Maybe this is just how things roll these days, but a little more notification or option to upgrade to a confirmed seat would have been appreciated.

Phil

Grown up in Cleveland, Ohio, USA., and recently co-located to Asheville, North Carolina area. Trained as Army MP, but bit of a renegade career wise. Phil has owned businesses in insurance, private investigations industries, and has experience in computer network engineering, asset recovery and repossession, and commercial over the road truck driving. Career long entrepreneur, property investor and rental manager. Phil loves sharing his experiences of great food, travel, experiences and products.