Subject: Re: New Orleans Hotel needed
Another Houstonian weighing in on the issue--NOLA is a favorite getaway for Texans! I've stayed at the Royal Sonesta twice--it's nice enough, but I'd have to say nothing special and too large to be intimate. Since discovering the Windsor Court when it opened now sev'l years ago, we almost always take the Big Splurge while in the Big Easy and stay there. Exorbitant, but for a reason. If you don't stay, go by for a drink or their very lovely afternoon tea just so you can look around. Here's some small, more affordable inns to consider (it's a snap to get NOLA hotel info via search engine, so I won't list urls here): Maison de Ville on Toulouse (romantic cottages separate from the main bldg. are a treat), the Saint Louis on Bienville (gorgeous ct. yard, recently remodeled, acclaimed Louis XVI elegant French rest.), the Maison Dupuy on Toulouse, the Chateau Dupre on Decatur, and just outside the French Quarter, on the St. Charles streetcar line (very handy for exploring outside of the FQ) but also w/i short walk of the FQ, the Lafayette. June availability will evaporate before you know it--once you find something you like, get it booked! And once you're booked, follow up w/ a phone call directly to the property about 2 weeks from arrival to confirm and cajole them into penciling you in for one of the more desirable rooms, and then arrive early for check-in to get the best choice. This is more important to do in NOLA than in some other places because (1) certain rooms are subject to street noise in the FQ, and (2) FQ hotels are located in old bldgs., and rooms get a lot of hard use because the FQ is full nearly year 'round &often with partiers who don't take such good care of the rooms, so the least desirable rooms--sold to those who show up late in the day--are usually small, awkwardly configured, lack certain amenities, noisy and show their wear &tear. Check the AC in your room as soon as you check-in to make sure it's working to your satisfaction--June will be hot!

NOLA is a foodie's heaven--I can put on 5 lbs. just over a long weekend there! Everyone will share their restaurant tips with you. Your head will spin from all the choices! Here's my top three: Mother's [cafeteria-line comfort food, bottom of the pan roast beef drippings debris po' boy (not at all greasy!) and pecan pie]; Galatoire's [locals' favorite for authentic Creole, must dress for dinner]; and NOLA [my personal fav of Emeril's restaurants, casual sometimes raucous atmosphere, great food].

Enjoy your French Tour 2001!

Diana Ball Houston, TX