Showing posts with the label Route 90

The middle of nowhere wears Prada



Hotel Villa Convento

Hotel Villa Convento

I don't visit New Orleans often, but each time I do (especially when I am paying out of my own pocket), I agonize over finding a decent hotel at a decent price. I've experienced costly high-end New Orleans hotels, and I've experience cheap motels. Many online hotel reviews describe places that seem downright scary. My own experience with New Orleans hotels includes occurrences I don't want to repeat. For example, I was once accidentally double booked into a room with other occupants -- the hotel gave two different sets of people keys to the same room for the same night.

I believe my search for a nice New Orleans hotel at a decent price is now over. I came across Hotel Villa Convento in my pre-roadtrip research. I read online reviews. I searched for photos. I called and spoke to the front desk clerk. I finally gave in and reserved a room for our couple nights in New Orleans.  And, I'm glad I picekd Hotel Villa Convento.

Hotel Villa Convento is a charming unique hotel in a circa 1833 townhouse on Ursulines Avenue in the French Quarter. The staff was friendly. The room was clean and comfortable -- even a bit luxurious. The location was close to all the French Quarter action. It was a distinctly New Orleans hotel that provided just what we needed.

And, next time I won't have to agonize over selecting a New Orleans hotel -- I'll just call Hotel Villa Convento.

The entrance

First floor hallway

The elevator

Please respect elevator as you would your grandmother . . . She is old

The view

Photo: Hotel Villa Convento

My morning office view

Ursulines Avenue

Ursulines Avenue

Sing Sing Club

The Sing Sing Club is a nice little Bourbon Street dive bar with great live blues and pricey drinks.

Nobody gets out without singing the blues or buying a drink.

Pat O'Brien's, Home of the Hurricane

Hurricane at Pat O'Briens
Hurricane at Pat O'Briens

The sweet fruity drink known as the Hurricane, and that I call "adult Kool-aid", is said to have originated in the 1940s at Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans. The story is that it was created as a way to sell a surplus of rum that distributors forced Mr. O'Brien to buy along with his purchases of better-selling whiskey. Today, rum-based fuity drinks are the the main attraction at O'Brien's club.

We sat in O'Brien's piano bar, sipped on fruity adult beverages, and joined in a group sing-a-long of My Ding-a-Ling. Great fun all around.

Beware that O'Brien's will charge you more than the menu price for your drinks. The extra charge is for the glass, which you get to take with you.

Copper Pianos: Pat O'Brien's Piano Bar

Sidewalk Koi

Fish on a sidewalk.

Old New Orleans Rum Distillery

Celebration Distillation's Old New Orleans Rum distillery offers my favorite distillery tour. (I'm a repeat visitor.) The tour covers the history and business of the distillery, the distillation process, the bottling, a bit of local history, and opportunity to taste the good stuff produced here.

Old New Orleans rum is produced by a small band of local brewmasters, engineers, and artists in an old cotton warehouse. They create their product in small batches, age it in charred whiskey barrels, and bottle it by hand.

If you find yourself on a dead end street of warehouses, you're probably in the right place

Jeff tells stories of the distillery's recovery from flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina

Jeff talks about the distillation process

Frank's Restaurant

Frank's Restaurant was recommended to us by a lifetime Louisiana resident as a good place to get a good taste of local New Orleans food.

I ordered the Snapper Jack, a trifecta of local favorites: snapper, gulf shrimp, and crawfish. Sophia ordered a Muffuletta: Italian cold cuts and olive salad on muffuletta bread. We received generous portions of both, and both were delicious.

Snapper Jack

Muffuletta Sandwich

Jackson Square

Any visit to New Orleans requires a selfie in Jackson Square -- even if sweaty after walking around all morning in search of drugs.

Caliche & Pao Gallery

We were lured into the Caliche & Pao Gallery by the vibrant colors and air conditioning. The gallery is filled with the art of husband and wife artists Caliche and Pao. Their work was mostly New Orleans or Jazz themed -- all with bold vibrant colors.

If I had the wall space and weren't at the start of a long (and costly) road trip, I'd likely would have made a purchase.

Drug-seeking behavior

We're playing tourist in New Orleans for a few days. Sophia has a prescription that needs to be refilled. We start the day with a visit to Café du Monde, and then set out to find a Walgreens and get her prescription refilled. I see that there is a Walgreens nearby and we walk that way.

We get to the Walgreens and discover that it contains no pharmacy.

We look up the next nearest Walgreens and go for another walk. It too has no pharmacy.  We'd never before encountered a Walgreens without a pharmacy. We're accustomed to the pharmacies inside some Walgreens not being open as late as the store. A Walgreens without a pharmacy is like a Conoco that doesn't sell gasoline.

We discover that there is another Walgreens not far away. Will the third time be a charm? Or does three strikes make an out?

The third Walgreens has a pharmacy. We get our drugs and return to being tourists... but the morning is now gone. 

Lessons learned: (1) Some pharmacies don't have pharmacies; therefore, (2) call ahead and inquire before walking around all morning on a hot and humid Louisiana summer day.