I have been to New Orleans several times over the last 10 years, but this was my first trip back since Katrina/Rita and I truly did not know what to expect.
I ran into what seems to be typical issues with USairways when flying out of Philadelphia, the flight was more than 1 hour delayed and they still were not able to get half the people on the planes luggage to New Orleans with us. It took another 2 hours to fill out the lost luggage claim form and then catch a cab to the Quarter House Hotel. Usairways really needs to start working on their customer service.
The Quarter House is a time share property, and we had a wonderful room with a wrought iron balcony that overlooked Iberville street. I would definitely recommend the quarter house and will definitely stay there again. It is centrally located in the FQ, which was very nice for getting around on foot, no so great with a rental car. Parking is $18 a day.
In every visit to NOLA food highlights my stay... This visit was no different. The Coffee Pot on St Peters is a great lunch spot, inexpensive and great food. Jacques-imo's and K-Paul’s are both places that everyone should definitely make it too! I had drum fish for the first time; I liked it so much I had it at both places. Another place that I would recommend if you happen to want to go to a sports bar is Couter Browns at river bend.
Mena's across the street from the quarter house was my best find of this visit. The catfish platter was the best that I have ever had and it was $7!!!!!!!!!!
I would also recommend the Funky Pirate on bourbon Street for a great blues club. Big Al Carson is awesome and does a great version of "strokin” and is a real entertainer!
I also would highly recommend the DDay museum; get there early because it literally takes all day. The artifacts and the interactive videos make this much more than a history lesson. I would also highly recommend the free walking tour that the parks department offers daily. Our guide CJ truly made the history of New Orleans come alive. The tour leaves from Jean Lafitte visitor's center on Decatur at 9:00 am.
Although the most memorable part of this trip was my tour of the gentilly, upper and lower 9th ward, and st. benards parrish. The tourist areas are genuinely back to what they were before Katrina; but I have never seen devastation like this, I was encouraged by how many people had returned, how much construction is going on, and the resilience of new Orleanians. I am so glad that I left the FQ and saw what the rest of New Orleans is contending with; this will probably be my most memorable trip ever to the crescent city