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Jan 12, 2002 12:33 PM

help! - first trip to New Orleans

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Six of us (no kids) are planning a short stay (2-3 nights) in New Orleans over the weekend of 4-5th May (during Jazzfest). It's a sightseeing trip, so we're not really there for the Jazzfest - just a coincidence. Anyway, we're trying to find a room for less than $100 a night. We've found two so far...
BestWestern/Travelodge on West Bank OR La Salle on Canal Street. Is the West Bank too far out to see the sights? Does anyone know La Salle or can you recommend somewhere else to stay that's relatively cheap, central and not too rough. Thanks a lot. Also, is there anywhere we MUST we eat before we leave?

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  1. Oh, don't make a reservation!!!! First, go to the visitor's bureau on Jackson Square and look for the hotel coupons. You'll find them offering a room for $49, $59 a night. Then you call (using the visitors bureau phone) and find a hotel that has room at the coupon price. We stayed at one for $39 weekday, $49 weekend on Conti St.

    Then for the best meal we had was at Irene's. You'll have to call for reservations and directions. It is only a block or two from French Quarter. It was the one place we returned to with anticipation. She doesn't do any advertisements, for the locals hate to let anyone know about their special place. Have a grrreat time and enjoy!!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: mamabear

      Irene's is a good suggestion -- Creole-Italian food with lots of atmosphere -- but it's actually located in the heart of the French Quarter, and they don't accept reservations as far as I've experienced. On most nights, you can expect at least an hour and a half wait.

    2. i
      Isabella Maja

      Hi Ester,

      Well, make the most of it & catch some of the Jazz Fest! Great Music & great food!

      Ok, I live here & have all my life. Grab the Best Western on the Westbank. It is not too far, if you have a rental car. Do not stay at the LaSalle. I used to be in the hotel biz, and $100 a night during Jazz fest is dirt cheap. Don't expect anything fancy for $100, you are going to get very basic motel. Everything sells out. Of course, with the events of 9/11, we will have to see how that affects our hotel occupancy rate this year. You could keep looking. Hotels will expect you to put down a deposit of at least one night or prepay the whole thing. However, tourism is down right now & they might be lenient.

      You also could contact 2 ladies I know who have B & B's. One is Bonne Chance and is on the westbank, but in Old Algiers which is just a ferry ride to downtown N.O. The ferry ride is actually fun & a great way to ride across the Mighty Mississippi. Bonne Chance has a website,

      The other B & B.... I don't know the name of it. They do have a website, so you can see the place. However, I know the owner's mother. Her mother's name is Helen Morgan. She owns "the Fine Arts Gallery" which is where my favorite musician plays every Friday night! His name is James Rivers and he is multi talented. He plays flute, jazz bagpipes, sax (tenor & soprano), harmonica & sings! Get one of his CD's as a souvenier to take home. Fine Arts Center is 504-269-3922. The B & B's number is 899-2120. It is just off of St Charles Ave & there is the famous St Charles Ave Streetcar that runs from downtown to uptown.

      there are many places you should go & eat. I'll answer those questions later. Tell me a little more about yourselves & what kind of food you are looking for, any restrictions & how much you want to spend. The city will be packed with tourists during this last weekend of Jazz Fest & it is not the optimum time for a grand dining experience, but with a little help, things should work out ok. I am wondering if you don't want to go to the Jazz Fest. You can experience alot of our local cuisine there & it's a lot of fun if you can handle the crowds!

      Ok, there you have it, from a local. Staying in the French Quarter would be fun, but also very crowded because of Jazz Fest & you would pay top dollar. Let me know if I can help you any further. Tell me what you are looking for in your experience. Are you coming from the U.K.?

      All the best,

      1. The hotels on the West Bank have shuttles that will take you to the free ferry, which will take you across the Mississippi to the French Quarter, and you will be within walking distance of most of the sights.

        In a way it's too bad that your first visit will be during Jazz Fest, because the hotel prices will be higher and restaurants will be harder to get into. Make your room reservations while you can! The city sells out.

        1. go to you will get descriptions on hotels as well as prices.
          Good luck

          1. DEFINITELY make reservations before hitting the city during JazzFest. The first reply to your request with the website of a hotel locator is probably a great idea. Having lived in NOLA and having only stayed with friends when I don't live there, I cannot say much more about affordable accommodations BUT I can tell you about food! My favorites are:

            Mandina's - it's located on Canal Street in Mid-City. I always hit there for my first oyster po-boy of the trip. They also have outstanding turtle soup - don't forget the sherry! A half-loaf (no way one person can eat a whole loaf!) with fries and a glass of wine runs ya something like $15.

            Jacques Imo's - this is my favorite place for dinner. You can make a reservation for parties of five or more. If you don't have a reservation, you could wait up to two hours if you don't hit when it opens at 6pm. Anyway, they have an amazing selection of fresh fish, wonderful sauces, awesome side dishes, and decadent desserts. Entrees are usually about $15 and include corn muffins, a salad with a fried oyster on top, and a choice of two sides. The atmostphere is 100% New Orleans, you even walk through the kitchen to reach the main dining room. Just go - if you love food, you'll love this place! It's casual AND cool.

            Lola's - located on Esplanade in Mid-City. This one might be more difficult to get into as it's small and it's located right by the race track where JazzFest is held. Maybe hit it next go-round. It's a cute, small place where you can bring your own wine. I always get the garlic shrimp which is served in a little skillet with, you guessed it, shrimp, garlic and oil - sop it up with bread! The place has a spanish flare and the ceviche is great too!

            Enjoy NOLA - it's a wonderful city!