New Orleans ~ More Than Mardi Gras
Posted on 09/17/2020
"We originally made plans to go to the Saints home opener this year in New Orleans, but unfortunately, no fans were allowed in the Dome. We went anyway, and had a great mini-vacation". ~ Kathryn R., Ambassador Travel
Is it safe? New Orleans is in Phase 2 of reopening. You can get more detailed information by visiting: https://ready.nola.gov/incident/coronavirus/safe-reopening/ There was 50% capacity at pretty much all businesses, restaurants, bars, etc. No indoor live entertainment is allowed, etc. No parades, second lines, etc. Masks are required before entering any establishment and it is strictly enforced.
First time flying into New Orleans: We flew Southwest from Nashville. They boarded in groups of 10 and asked that
aisle seats remain open.The airport was really nice. However, our flight arrived around 7pm, and most stores and restaurants were closed. There were limited options for the morning flights as well... NO Starbucks hurt the most.
Accommodations: Obviously there are a lot of options for accommodations, but when you are in New Orleans, you stay on Bourbon Street, right?! We stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter. The room was very clean and nice, and bathrooms were small but they are in a historic building, so it was to be expected. We had a balcony overlooking the courtyard and pool. The hotel had hand sanitizer stations at the elevators on each floor and in the lobby. They also give you small package of wipes, which I’m sure is becoming a popular new “amenity” at hotels. No daily maid service unless requested and if you needed more towels or even a coffee maker you could request those as well. Staff were very friendly and helpful. Their bar and cafe were both closed but they had a 24/hr stand where you could buy a beverage or snack.
Bourbon Street: Wow! This was the most quiet I have ever seen Bourbon Street! It was also just darker at night as a lot of bars/restaurants have permanently closed, or are not allowed to open unless they also serve food. You also are not allowed to get To-Go drinks, they have to be consumed inside the establishment, and the bars do close early. While there was no live indoor entertainment there were still street performers and musicians throughout the quarter.
Restaurants: The restaurants we went to we had no issue getting a table and never had to wait. I would advise anyone going to make sure they check to see if a particular place they want to go to is open, as we ran into this once where the place we had been wanting to try out was closed.
Activities: We went to the National WWII Museum. Highly recommend this place and expect to either spend a full day or take 2 days to explore. You receive a "Dog Tag" where you can follow a particular soldier through his experience of the war and I got a soldier from Owensboro, KY!. You use this "Dog Tag" card at small kiosks throughout the museum where you can add interesting artifacts or stories to it so you can access it online at home after your visit.
St. Louis Cathedral: We attended Mass at the St. Louis Cathedral. Everyone was seated every other row and socially distanced by the ushers. While walking around the French Quarter on our last night, we did see two different walking tour groups, so those are still operating and they did not look to be more than 12 ppl per group. We ended up taking our own little walking tour to see a couple of locations we wanted to see like the JM Recording Studio building as well as the LaLaurie Mansion.
Some final thoughts: If you are wanting to visit New Orleans without the normal crowds, NOW is a good time to do it! Other things to do which we have done on past visits include: Mardi Gras World, Cemetery Tour, Oak Alley Plantation, Klieberts Alligator Farm, Street Car ride down St. Charles Ave.
Interested in New Orleans? Talk with Kathryn about her experiences, and she can help you start planning your adventure.
812-479-8687 Ext. 209