RailForum.com
TrainWeb.com

RAILforum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » New Orleans visit

   
Author Topic: New Orleans visit
City of Miami
Full Member
Member # 2922

Icon 1 posted      Profile for City of Miami     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
In some ways the city seems the way it was three years ago at my last visit. The French Quarter, for example, seems unchanged except for smaller numbers of pedestrians on the streets. The streets in general seem strangely deserted: outside of the most touristy areas sometimes I walk many blocks down a street without meeting another soul. There are many many blocks of deserted houses: just standing empty for the most part not vandalized, some not even looking damaged, just empty, abandoned. Some houses are more derelict, listing to one side or another, roof collapsing, sometimes rather picturesquely covered with vines. And there are many vacant areas, not just vacant lots but whole swaths of empty space with perhaps only a concrete slab or two to indicate that once the whole area was covered with homes and yards. Many streets are in an advanced state of disrepair. Many street signs are missing. There are many businesses closed, boarded up, abandoned, somewhat reminiscent of Haight St. in the early 70's. There are large highrise buildings that are closed, having suffered some obvious wind damage and who knows what else. There are many many for sale signs on everything from office buildings to cottages. With all this I have never once felt unsafe or threatened in any way. And there is tremendous work going on everywhere: foundations being repaired, houses jacked back up, painting, remodeling, reopening of businesses, parks being taken care of, streets repaved. So many people have just left and never returned. The lack of people has been a major hinderance to recovery and to my surprise the vacuum in blue collar workers in being filled with Mexican and Brazilian people. You hear Spanish quite a bit and there are taco stands on the streets. This may permanently change the demographic of what was once a chocolate city to quote the mayor. The Canal St. Guest House where I am staying and have stayed before suffered flooding chest high. They have recovered and reopened and if anything the place is a little nicer and homier than it was before - but with fewer guests. Union Terminal seems nicer and better maintained than it did 3 years ago. It actually looks pretty good inside and out. They had cool jazz playing on the PA system. The neighborhood felt fine to me; I have felt no threatening vibe anywhere. I do not go out much at night but go wherever I want in the daytime. I say Come On Down - Crescent City, one of our national treasures, needs you.
Posts: 326 | From: San Antonio Texas USA | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
smitty195
Full Member
Member # 5102

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for smitty195     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm thinking about visiting NOL in December or January, via the City of New Orleans train from Chicago. I've had second, third, fourth, and fifth thoughts about it though. Thanks for the info. Maybe it won't be so bad?

Do you (or anyone reading this) know what happened to the Holiday Inn Express hotel located in Slidell off I-10? I had heard that it was completely destroyed by the hurricane and never to be rebuilt. I don't know the name of the street it was on, but there was a Wal-Mart nearby if that helps.

Posts: 2355 | From: Pleasanton, CA | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Henry Kisor
Full Member
Member # 4776

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Henry Kisor   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Smitty, we expect a full report from you about the creole and coonass cuisine aboard the CNO!
Posts: 2236 | From: Evanston, Ill. and Ontonagon, Mich. | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Henry Kisor
Full Member
Member # 4776

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Henry Kisor   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I apologize for using the term "coonass." I had thought that it was a term of endearment for Cajuns, but upon checking the etymological authorities I discover that many Cajuns regard it as a slur.

I'm a dumbass, I admit . . .

Posts: 2236 | From: Evanston, Ill. and Ontonagon, Mich. | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Geoff Mayo
Full Member
Member # 153

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Geoff Mayo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Apart from New York, New Orleans is probably the city I've stayed at and visited the most when in the US. Somehow even the riverside shopping mall is special! And I love Cajun and Creole food.

The CONO used to serve the best food of any Amtrak train I've boarded. Even when they went with standardised menus, the chef still added a little secret ingredient - probably smuggled on board!

Geoff M.

Posts: 2426 | From: Apple Valley, CA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mr. City, I wish I could get "excited" about New Orleans, but I simply cannot.

However, any here who visit this Forum will appreciate your "candor" regarding what you observed on your recent visit.

Posts: 9391 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Reminds me of a sign I saw on a pick up truck this
week: Eat the Other White Meat - Possum. Gotta love the south.

I took the CONO out of New Orleans in January. New Orleans is like Charleston - there are no bad restaurants - at least in the French Quarter. That alone makes it worth the trip for me. Glad Amtrak is trying to capitalize on that.

Posts: 2394 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ehbowen
Full Member
Member # 4317

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for ehbowen   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Those of you who know New Orleans better than I do—please comment on this proposed mini-vacation.

Leave Houston Tuesday AM (hopefully) on the Sunset Limited. Three nights in N.O., returning Friday evening on the westbound Sunset. Where can I stay and what can be seen without a rental car? (Hopefully the WWII museum!) What's the best (i.e., cheapest and least crowded) time of year? Suggestions welcomed.

ETA: Heck fire, after searching the Convention & Visitors Bureau web site I decided to just go ahead and do it. I'm booked on the Sunset Limited leaving Houston January 8 and returning January 11. I'll be staying at the Fairchild House bed and breakfast a few blocks from the D-Day museum. Still angling for suggestions on what to do on the day I don't visit the museum—and where to eat!

--------------------
--------Eric H. Bowen

Stop by my website: Streamliner Schedules - Historic timetables of the great trains of the past!

Posts: 413 | From: Houston, Texas | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
notelvis
Full Member
Member # 3071

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for notelvis     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Geoff M:
Apart from New York, New Orleans is probably the city I've stayed at and visited the most when in the US. Somehow even the riverside shopping mall is special! And I love Cajun and Creole food.

The CONO used to serve the best food of any Amtrak train I've boarded. Even when they went with standardised menus, the chef still added a little secret ingredient - probably smuggled on board!

Geoff M.

Yes. Agreed. The best steak I ever had on an Amtrak train was aboard the northbound CONO in July 2002. I've told this story before and will therefore spare you the details other than to say when the folks at my table had the opportunity to compliment the chef he broke into a million dollar grin and said "I'm from New Orleans....what did you expect?"

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

Posts: 4203 | From: Western North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rresor
Full Member
Member # 128

Rate Member
Icon 1 posted      Profile for rresor     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Dr. Bowen:

I haven't been to NO since Katrina, but I had a number of long-time favorite places to eat. Hopefully at least some have reopened.

1) Bayona, a restaurant in the French Quarter with a patio for outdoor dining. Terrific, and they make the best Sazerac in NO.

2) Camellia Grill, in the Garden District. I hope it has reopened. Nicest counter joint I ever ate at. It's at St. Charles and Carrolton Ave., and can be reached by streetcar (again).

3) Felix's, an oyster bar on Bourbon at (IIRC) Iberville. Just order the raw oysters; they're a bargain, but everything else is (was) at tourist prices.

4) Commander's Palace is the place for Sunday brunch. It's on St. Charles in the Garden District, and it has reopened (for sure). Again, accessible by trolley.

Have fun. NO is/was one of my favorite cities, and I hope it can recover and once again be something like it was.

Posts: 614 | From: Merchantville, NJ. USA | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rresor
Full Member
Member # 128

Rate Member
Icon 1 posted      Profile for rresor     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
...and one more thing (forgot lodging):

Try Lamothe House on Rampart Street in the Quarter. Wonderful B&B.

Windsor Court Hotel is very nice. It's near the Convention Center.

There's also a very nice Days Inn in the Warehouse District that has pleasant rooms (in a renovated historic warehouse) that are very reasonably priced).

Hope to get back to NO sometime soon, but in my current job I really don't travel...

Posts: 614 | From: Merchantville, NJ. USA | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
City of Miami
Full Member
Member # 2922

Icon 1 posted      Profile for City of Miami     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hey Eric -

Here are some suggestions from my week in New Orleans:

A wonderful place in the French Quarter is Le Croissant d'Or on Ursuline just up (away from the river) from Chartres St. with the Ursuline Convent on the corner. It is very much a local hangout in spite of the location, wonderful cafe au lait and goods baked on the premises; my favorite: petit baguette. Good prices.

Another locals lunch plate type place is Deanies, 1016 Annunciation St. When you come out of the WW II Museum you are on Andrew Higgens Blvd; turn left (away from Lee Circle), walk two blocks and you are practically on top of Deanies. Everything is good - and under $10.

A very downhome inexpensive dinner place is Frankie & Johnnie's on Arabella. This is in the neighborhood called Uptown, near the river on the farside of the Garden District. Probably a cab for this one; my friends drove me there before the opera.

Another excellent lunch choice is Liuzza's by the Track, Lounge & Grill. This is pronounced lie-ooze-ah - with the accent on the ooze. 1518 N. Lopez. This is a very interesting walk-around neighborhood accessible by taking the Canal St. streetcar marked City Park all the way to the end. When you get off, City Park and the N.O. Museum of Art are to the left, sort of behind you, well worth a walk around. But for lunch instead cross the bridge over Bayou St. John and proceed down The Esplanade - a broad boulevard lined with big spreading oaks (nothing compared to the massive specimens in the park) and impressive homes. You are in the neighborhood of the race track and the fair grounds (to the left) where the N.O. Jazz and Heritage Festival is held in springtime. A pleasant 6 or 8 blocks down Esplanade brings you to the charming tiny Alice Fortier Park on the right. The street that angles off to the left is Ponce de Leon (the sts run every which way around there) and on that corner is Cafe Degas, a very pleasant though more expensive popular dinner spot. Walk down Ponce de Leon a couple of blocks and there on the corner of Lopez is Liuzza's. No tourists here - except you. Try the gumbo - outrageous. It's not a large place, you may have to wait; it's worth it. The kitchen is not open on Sunday. Along the way you will have passed St. Louis Cemetery #3 well worth a look around with its hundreds of family tombs both old and new and very well maintained.

Oh yes, Praline Connection, Frenchmen St. in Faubourg Marigny (not far from Croissant d'Or) is still going strong - good for reasonably priced lunch or dinner.

I hope you enjoy the city as much as I did. I had a fabulous time, walked miles and miles and ate myself silly.

John Grimes

Posts: 326 | From: San Antonio Texas USA | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
City of Miami
Full Member
Member # 2922

Icon 1 posted      Profile for City of Miami     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Reading Mdm Mim's wonderful trip report inspired me to finish mine off. I left N.O. on #1 the day before Thanksgiving. On time departure. We went over the Huey P. Long (my second time) and through the swamps and bayous of LA and east TX. I earnestly kept a lookout for alligators but saw none. My sleeper was a refurbished superliner and the lounge was too. I noticed that most people prefered to sit in the table area of the lounge car. I had my TG dinner that night and retired early. I felt so totally content lying there in my berth, feeling the sway of the train, watching the lightning display of a thunderstorm outside. I had been prepared to be awakened in the middle of the night for a 3am arrival in San Antonio, but happily went to sleep to the announcement that UP said we would be delayed about 3 hours due to signals knocked out from the storm (are they really THAT delicate??). In fact, I almost had time for breakfast before arrival (how greedy I am!!) in SAS, and had a 40 minute wait before the departure of The Texas Eagle for Austin. I had begun my trip on the Eagle bound for Dallas 9 days before. None of these trains were full or crowded, even on the day before TG. The sleeper on #1 was pretty full. I am going back up to Dallas on #22 this Friday.
Posts: 326 | From: San Antonio Texas USA | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
George Harris
Full Member
Member # 2077

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for George Harris     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by City of Miami:
I earnestly kept a lookout for alligators but saw none.

If you see something that looks like a peeled off retread but no where near a road, you are probably looking at the back of an alligator.
Posts: 2693 | From: Olive Branch MS | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
RRRICH
Full Member
Member # 1418

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for RRRICH     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
On the "late great Sunset Ltd east" (R.I.P.) there was an alligator farm right next to the railroad just south of Mobile, AL, and often you could see several alligators in pens at that location.
Posts: 2427 | From: Grayling, MI | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Steve O.
Full Member
Member # 2993

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Steve O.     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There is an alligator in a small pond/cage in Pontchatoula,LA (near Hammond) on the edge of thr tracks which can be seen from the City of New Orleans.

--------------------
Good morning America, how are ya?

44,950 Amtrak rail miles traveled since August 18, 2003.

Posts: 135 | From: Atlanta, GA / New Orleans, LA | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
RRRICH
Full Member
Member # 1418

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for RRRICH     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Native Son -- yes you are right about the Ponchatoula gator!!! On one of my trips on the CONO several years ago, the crew actually made an annoucement about the gator, but the next time I rode the train, the big pen was still there, but the gator was gone!
Posts: 2427 | From: Grayling, MI | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Home Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2




Copyright © 2007-2016 TrainWeb, Inc. Top of Page|TrainWeb|About Us|Advertise With Us|Contact Us