Two kinds of people inhabit this world: those who go to New Orleans for the Superbowl (go '9ers!) and those who go for Mardis Gras. Then there are people who don't go at all, but one can only feel pity for them.
If you're more tarty than sporty, you're apt to be headed to the Big Easy for the latter. More than likely you have your plane ticket and hotel room booked, but if not, what are you waiting for? Put down your laptop and dial.
This year try something different: Don't stay in town. The city will be overflowing with long-tongued, very sloshed Pennsylvania frat boys and big-haired Texans crowding the parade routes. You can enjoy New Orleans from afar, but not too far.
Highly recommended is the purportedly haunted Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, about two hours northwest of the Crescent City. There you'll luxuriate in a host of sensual treats, even though by morning you may think you saw your dead Aunt Margaret in the hall.
Another idea is to travel up from Biloxi, just an hour and a half down the coast. You'll find much cheaper accommodations and have twice the night's sleep. Recommendations include the Grand Biloxi Casino Hotel & Spa, which is currently offering a $24 special if you mention the code word JACKPOT. Check here for details; and the Four Points Sheraton right on the beach, and just a short jaunt from the Convention Center and Canary Row. Tip: Fly directly to Gulfport-Biloxi airport.
A couple other cities worth your travel dollars:
- Grand Isle, which was devastated by the BP oil spill but not destroyed, could use your love. Check out the Wateredge Beach Resort, where you can spend days sunning and crabbing before driving into NOLA to see the Krewe of Muses (Fri. the 6th at 6:30, Uptown).
- Baton Rouge, the capital, is an hour and a half north up I-10. Enjoy art, music, or at the Louisiana Science Museum planetarium sky shows. "We are Aliens" is playing right now, which sounds like the perfect primer for tasting your first Hurricane. Top pic is probably the Doubletree by Hilton on Constitution Ave. Then again, any bed will look inviting during Mardi Gras season.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
For a link to the parade map, please click here.
For a link to the parade schedule, please click here.
For Paula Dean's yummy beignet recipe, click here.