I began my week long vacation in New Orleans by driving down to Philadelphia International Airport. I think I left at 5:00 a.m. and stopped at the Hickory Run Travel Plaza at 6:48 a.m. to buy gas and breakfast at Burger King. My ticket for the economy parking lot at the airport shows I entered at 8:46 a.m. So it took me about four hours to drive down to Philadelphia. My flight to Miami Florida departed at 12:15 p.m. I don’t think I bought anything to eat or drink at the airport. I read a novel, Fat White Vampire Blues by Andrew Fox, on my Kindle Paperwhite while waiting for my flight. I didn’t see much of Miami but I did have a window seat and the plane flew over the city. I saw a downtown core filled with skyscrapers and rows of condominiums along the shore. There was also a huge expanse of suburbs with miles of track housing. I didn’t spend much time at the Miami International Airport because my connecting flight to New Orleans left soon after I arrived. I had to use their Skytrain to reach my gate in time. I flew American Airlines for this trip and all of my flights were short and on time. But it still took most of a day at airports to travel across the United States so I don’t know how foreign tourists can stand their ambitious trips across country.
When I arrived at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport I had to go down to the lower level to collect my luggage and then walk outside to find a long taxi line. I don’t fly often so it is worthwhile to note that baggage claim is usually on the lower level and there are hotel shuttles, taxi stands, and buses to the parking garage or lots just outside of the baggage claim area. This was my first visit to a major American city which required air travel. In the future, I may visit San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston as major trips. It cost $33.00 for a taxi to the Andrew Jackson Hotel in the French Quarter. I gave the driver $40.00 to include a nice tip.
Checking into the hotel was quick and painless. I thought my room was a little shabby for the price but the hotel is conveniently located in the French Quarter. The Andrew Jackson Hotel is even included on some ghost and history walking tours so I would often see a group of people across the street. The Cornstalk Hotel was right next door so I saw that place often. According to my hotel bill I checked in at 6:18 p.m.
I didn’t have much time to do anything for my first evening. First I walked to Jackson Square and took lots of photos of the St. Louis Cathedral, the most iconic landmark of New Orleans. Then I went to Café du Monde and had their famous café au lait and beignets. I just happened to catch a Halloween parade which started as I was eating. I think this was the Boo Krew parade, with Mardi Gras style floats for Halloween. After that I wandered down Bourbon Street to Canal Street. I had trouble finding a restaurant which didn’t look too busy but eventually I went to Sbisa’s Café, an old historic restaurant that recently reopened under new management. The staff seemed eager to please their customers and the place was half empty so I was able to get a table. I got the impression that they were trying to establish their reputation. I think I ordered the Seafood Decadence which was fish smothered in cream sauce and grilled asparagus.