New Orleans - June 2011

For my 40th birthday, Larry surprised me with a cruise.

We'd never been on one before and I must say despite the fact that we used a travel agent to book the still was a daunting process to decide where we were going, when etc.

The "known" factors were we were traveling in June and that we were going with Scott and Gwen, our travel buddies whom we always have a fabulous time with.

So after going round and round of where we were going to go, we decided to go to the Western Caribbean. What sealed the deal was that we'd be leaving out of New Orleans - a favorite of ours. Larry, Scott and I had been there, but not Gwen. So we thought, "Let's kill two birds with one stone" - go to New Orleans for a couple of nights and then the cruise. Perfect plan.

It was a perfect plan until IL down to LA was hit rain and it began to flood! Apparently I was very naive about flooding, because I thought "OK, if floods and then it takes a day or two to subside." Well, it apparently doesn't. It takes time to crest and then to subside, leaving, unfortunately potential disaster in its wake.

So by the time we were ready to drive towards New Orleans, our "half-way point" of Tunica, MS, was under water! We love Tunica. It's this amazing town with casinos, literally in the middle of cotton fields. It's about 20 miles south of Memphis and a great little junket if you are passing through or want to try your hand at lady luck.

So Tunica was out and we decided to to go via Nashville - slightly out of the way, but since we love Nashville, we were game. We decided to stay in Franklin, TN again since we had such a nice time there in the Spring. That's what Larry and I love to do - find little cities and towns on our trips - it makes for new adventures and the promise of finding potential great restaurants and shopping!

So despite our serpentine route to New Orleans, we made it almost on time to meet up with Scott and Gwen.

It was nice to see that New Orleans was on it's way to recovery from the hurricane, but it seemed a little worse for the wear. But it seems that New Orleans is a rough and tumble kind of place, so I suspect it will bounce back.

We stayed at the beautiful W Hotel in the French Quarter. As you can see in the slide show above, the hotel has this gorgeous and very private courtyard. Larry and I were trying to figure out how to copy it for our backyard. The appeal other than the fact that it was stunning? No grass or weeds to pull!

We spent our time in New Orleans pretty much walking around and eating. And despite the fact that it was in the 90s, which I hate, for some odd reason it didn't bother me.

We made sure Gwen got a good taste of the city with stops on Bourbon Street, Nola (yum!), beignets at the French Market, Jackson Square, pedis for Gwen and I and MORE food! What's not to love.

It was a great couple of days in New on to the cruise!

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