I have always wanted to go to New Orleans, so when I awoke this morning, I did it with a little excitement, knowing that in a few hours I would be in the Big Easy. The only place we wanted to visit in Houston was the children’s museum. Unfortunately for us, the only day it isn’t open is Monday and guess what…… yes, that’s right it is Monday. With that unfortunate news, we decided to head straight to New Orleans after eating a bit of lunch in Houston. To be honest we just didn’t love the feel of Houston. As a disclaimer I will say that we were only there for a short time and I am sure it is a great city. I guess the smog, traffic and vastness of Houston just made it a bit unappealing to us.
The bayou really begins just east of Houston. In addition to the familiar green trees of past drives, the landscape started to add a swamp or two. Eventually the scenery changed to mostly swampland as we drove through the state of Louisiana. Jasmine doesn’t love to look at swampland, but I love it. (As long as I am in the car and the bugs can’t get me!)
When searching online, I found a small boutique hotel that was located two blocks off of the French Quarter in the warehouse district of downtown New Orleans. They were running a special giving us two nights for the price of one including free valet parking. We decided to take it, as the cost of only $89 combined for both nights was within our budget. The free parking was a bonus since it tends to cost at least $10 a day for parking in downtown New Orleans.
The Ambassador Hotel is located on the site of an old coffee warehouse. It features exposed brick and other interesting features that only a hotel such as this could have, given the history of the building. Most rooms don’t have outside windows, but windows either looking towards no where (They have black backings so when you look at the window you see black) or into the hall. I found this little boutique style hotel fun to stay in. It is definitely historic and more fun then staying in a cookie cutter style building. As a 3 star hotel, it also marks the highest rated hotel we have stayed at so far! (We have been quite lucky up to this point. Most of the 1 & 2 star motels we have stayed at have been pleasant.)
We drove into New Orleans at about 5pm and a few signs can still be seen of this cities journey towards recovery. With a few hours of daylight left, we decided to go out and explore the city. The first item on the agenda was dinner. I had read that the world famous Mother’s Restaurant was a block away so we headed over there for some authentic New Orleans cajun style food. I ordered a Po’ Boy sandwich while Jasmine ordered the Jambalaya. Shawn Reece opted for the red beans and rice. Since we each wanted the full experience, the three of us shared with each other. Everyone’s food was quite tasty and Mother’s lives up to it’s reputation not only for the food but for it’s atmosphere. As the worker’s call out the names of the customers and throw the food up on the counter (in a friendly way) you can’t do much but smile and enjoy. It was definitely a welcome change from the food we have been eating the past couple of weeks. I can see why this restaurant was featured in the book “1000 Places To See Before You Die”.
With our stomachs full, we decided to head into the French Quarter and over to Bourbon Street. We figured that it would still be tame enough for a child to see since it wasn’t yet dark. We were correct, barely. The one thing we didn’t count on was the smell on Bourbon Street. For the most part, the rest of the French Quarter smelled fine, but Bourbon Street smelled, well, just foul. It smelled like people had thrown up and urinated all over the street. (The sad truth is that this is probably what happened.) We walked a couple of blocks down the street and then turned back as it was starting to get dark and Shawn Reece was complaining about the smell anyway.
Tomorrow we will be in New Orleans all day and hope to be able to explore the French Quarter a little more. We also promised Shawn Reece that we would go to the children’s museum here since we missed out on the one in Houston. We are really enjoying this hotel and what we have seen of the city so far. This area seems to be pretty safe but I can’t speak for the rest of the city. We didn’t ever feel like we were in any danger walking down the streets. We will have more from New Orleans tomorrow.
We want to thank everyone for the comments and emails. Your support is truly appreciated and keeps us going.
The Coomer Family