After two nights in Austin, we drove to New Orleans, where we stayed at our new favorite hotel in the known universe, La Belle Esplanade. Honestly, I can't say enough good things about this bed and breakfast. It was beautiful and historic and interesting, we had it all to ourselves when we were there, breakfast every morning was beyond delicious, and our suite was large and comfortable. See?
This chaise was the perfect home base for paper writing. Every academic should have one.
The best part of our hotel, however, was our hosts. Matthew and Melanie were quirky (Matthew) and sweet (Melanie) and funny. Every morning at breakfast we spent at least an hour chatting with them, and every day they gave us suggestions for what to do that day, where to eat, and what to see. We quickly realized that their taste was fantastic, and so we essentially did everything they told us to.
Our first night, we went to dinner at a little (but packed!) Italian place and then walked around the French Quarter. The next day, we borrowed the hotel's bikes (for free) and rode to the Garden District, with stops along the way for the New Orleans glassworks and Audubon Park.
The next day was rainy, so we spent some time at a library (so I could work on my paper) and walked around the French Quarter some more. Oh, and we went to Cafe Du Monde for beignets, but that happened every day.
Our second night we also went to a free, very casual Opera on Tap performance at a hotel in the French Quarter. Again, a Matthew and Melanie suggestion. Seriously, they were The. best.
Our last night in town (we stayed three, and left early on the morning we departed), we walked around the perimeter of a big Christmas light show in Lafayette Park. We arrived too late to go in, but we still saw some pretty cool decorations. This one, obviously, was the clear winner.
I was charmed by New Orleans. I've never seen a city that was so passionate about its history and so proud of its unique culture. I can't wait to go back.
Next up in Road Trip 2012: The Everglades!