Monday, October 10, 2011
First off - and being a Piedmont Airlines girl until the very day it merged into the cargo-carrying-mindset behemoth that is USAirways - go Delta! On the leg from Charlotte to Memphis, we had a FANTASTIC captain who reminded us all to "take a look at that safety brochure, won't you? Many people don't want to, but really - a picture's worth a thousand words." He also reminded us that we ought to pay attention because "when a gentleman's speaking to you, the polite thing to do is to pay attention." Add to that a crewmember who offered me peanuts, pretzels, or cookies and then gave me all three when I asked if I absolutely HAD to chose and perhaps you begin to see the appeal.
Next, the fine and venerable city of New Orleans is a treasure of the highest order. I thought I knew a thing or two about Southern hospitality (and I do), but this city is just made for tourists. Maps remind you that "if it's illegal when you're from, it's probably illegal in New Orleans, too" but they want you to have a really good time. More on this during my discussion of the French Quarter.
The hotel was the JW Marriott on Canal Street, which is a boundary of the French Quarter (or "Vieux Carre"), the oldest part of the city. (By the way, the Quarter is laid out in a grid, but it's not quite as north/south as the map indicates - the bend of the Mississippi isn't that linear.) The hotel was one of those luxury hotels that makes you feel as if you're truly on a vacation. A most excellent tour guide disguised as a bellman whisked our bags upstairs, showed us the view of the Quarter, and pointed out a few of the bigger sites, including making sure we knew where Bourbon Street was (hint - turn right at the Foot Locker). Two thick, lush robes hung in the closet for us and yes, we could even hear jazz music coming up from the streets. Streetcars ran up and down Canal Street and downright quaint mule-drawn wagons took tourists around to map out their visit.
We might not have had the laptop, but we were there!
NEXT: Beignets, Crawfish the mule, and a little history . . .