|Subject: Re: New Orleans|
Glad to hear you're coming to New Orleans. If you have time, please give me a call. Maybe we could get together for a drink or a coffee.
As far as things to see and do, your hotel is in the French Quarter, conveniently located next door to the Napoleon House, my very favourite bar. They also serve food, not great food, but for a quick something or other, it's fine. Many of the rooms in your hotel are very small, actually tiny, but the hotel is still nice. The courtyard is pretty, and I think they still serve the Continental breakfast.
Galatoire's is my personal favorite restaurant for a fancy meal. If you're here on a Friday afternoon, it's the most fun place to be. The food is excellent, the service is usually good. It's the kind of place that locals go for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. If anyone is celebrating a birthday, the waiter makes the whole restaurant sing Happy Birthday. If you do go on Friday, go around 11, plan to wait, and ask to sit downstairs.
Other places in the Quarter: Progress Grocery for a muffaletta - all the books say to go to Central, but Progress is better. Get a special, one feeds two easily, half if you're dining solo. Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets Bella Luna for a great, if not expensive, meal with an incredible view There are so many places to eat in the Quarter, let me know if you've found anything that sounds good, and I'll tell you what our local restaurant critic thinks.
The swamp tours are fun if you like swamps, and have the time. They take several hours, and if you're here for a short time, you may not want to spend the time. The National Park Service (for some reason, the Quarter is a national park???) also offers tours of the Quarter, and a cemetery tour. The cemeteries are very interesting, but you can't go alone. You need to go with a tour. I think these tours are free. The zoo and the aquarium are great if you like those kinds of things. If you like shopping for antiques or just old stuff, try Magazine street. There are real antique stores as well as junque shoppes. Royal St. is lovely, but so overpriced - I don't know how those people stay in business.
I would avoid the river tours. The river is fascinating, but not for 3-5 hours. There is a boat ride from the Quarter to the zoo, and then you come back on the streetcar. That would be just enough river, and would give you a nice trip down St. Charles Ave. on the streetcar. As far as seeing the Garden District, I always see tourists with books walking around the Garden District. I think you can do your own tour with this book, whatever it is. I'll see if I can find out.
Hope this helps. Write to me again if you have more questions.