Archive » December 9, 2010
GOLF & TRAVEL
By Ray Navis, Contributing Writer
When you think of towns that really do it up for New Year’s Eve, the first ones that come to mind are New York and Las Vegas. However, there is no town that puts the “p” in party like New Orleans. The French Quarter rocks like no other place and New Year’s Eve is special. The Sugar Bowl Game and the NFL’s Saints bring in exuberant fans who add to the always wild but fun scene.
French QuarterNightlife in the French Quarter is like a huge block party. Many of the streets like Bourbon Street are closed off to traffic allowing for a wandering celebration. The entire district has a French Creole feel true to the city’s origin. Many of the buildings are very old, stretching back centuries. Iron-gated balconies offer restaurant guests views of the wild scene below.
There is a unique mix of people out on the town running the gambit from young to old. One place that I would try to hit is The Cat’s Meow. This is a two-level dance club where the entertainers invite patrons up on stage to dance. This place really rocks, and it is worth a visit just to take in the action.The Bourbon Street scene can be a bit intimidating, but the police are everywhere making sure that no one gets in the way of a good time.
Harrah’s New OrleansOne of the most convenient and deluxe hotels in New Orleans is Harrah’s Hotel and Casino. The hotel is actually across the street from the casino and very quiet. After a night out here, you will enjoy the peace and quiet as well as the luxury appointments. The rooms feature oversized marble bathrooms and the finest in bedding and electronics. The views from the upper levels stretch to Canal Street and across to the Mississippi River.
The lobby area at Harrah’s is elegant with high ceilings and marble columns throughout. The concealed elevator bank seemed to be one of the fastest I have ever used, allowing one to quickly reach the tranquility of your room. On the way in and out, you may well develop an appetite as Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse is located in the lobby. The Harrah’s Casino is across the street and one of the plushest I have been in outside of the high-end Las Vegas options.
There are also numerous restaurants to choose from in the casino, including Besh Steakhouse for those with such desires. John Besh is a local legend in the New Orleans restaurant scene with a half -dozen successful establishments to his name.
Harrah’s location is ideal for all activities in New Orleans. The Convention Center is just two blocks away, as well as the Riverwalk and all of its activities. The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is just a couple of blocks away and its Insectarium even closer. The French Quarter is about 5 blocks away. For more information, visit HarrahsNewOrleans.com.
The foodOn this visit, we had the pleasure of dining at the ultra-chic and brand-new Meson 923 restaurant. Upon arrival, we noticed that the staff seemed a bit on-edge and it turns out that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was dining there in a private room upstairs. His advance team really did their homework, as the food and service were 5-star all the way. The Cuisine is a mixture of Spanish and French flavors. My appetizer was the Duck Confit, a perfect warm-up for the Grilled Yellowfin Tuna entree that I choose.
Meson923 is located in the warehouse district, and while it can be reached on foot, most will opt for a cab. Astrid LaVenia is the managing owner and Baruch Rabasa is the executive chef. Both have had numerous successes in the New Orleans restaurant scene. For more information, including some great photos of their food, visit Meson923.com.Continental Airlines probably offers the best connections from the West Coast to New Orleans, but there are several options. There is really no need for a car on this visit; in fact, it would really be an unnecessary expense. The Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport is less than half an hour from downtown.