A weekend in the “big easy”
The “Saturday-night-stay” flight rule is designed to stop business people using cheap leisure tickets to attend conferences and business meetings. The airlines figure that companies will not want to deny their executives valuable time with their families on weekends and will happily fork out more money for tickets that do not have to have a Saturday night stay.
But the rule also means that anyone flying out on Saturday for a Monday meeting will pay a lot less than someone travelling on the Sunday or a Monday. The difference is often hundreds of pounds and more than offsets the extra night’s hotel fee.
I have always tried to make the most of these opportunities by flying out earlier, saving the company money and seeing some new places at the same time.
In many of the places I have tried hard to fill the extra 36 hours, but in some I have felt that 36 hours is not nearly enough to see the place and have struggled to cram as much as I can in to the time I had.
My visit to New Orleans 2011 is definitely in the latter category.
Here are 13 things I managed to get done between arriving on Saturday morning and being ready for my conference at 9am on Monday.
1. Appreciated the river views.
The views are incredible and the city and surrounding area has some of the longest bridges in the USA.
2. Walked around the French Quarter
I walked around and appreciated the amazing architecture on the streets. The old buildings, some of which date back 300 years, have a lot of French influence. They look fantastic with their iron balconies, red-tiled roofs, and picturesque courtyards. Royal Street was a particular favourite.
3. Had a ride on the wonderful old street cars
4.Visited the French market.
5. Had Alligator sausage for lunch
6. Listened to Jazz musicians playing in the street
7. Went out to Carrollton on the St Charles Streetcar
8. Ate New Orleans’ classics for dinner ; gumbo and po bo sandwiches
9. Experienced an evening bar hopping on Bourbon street
10. Next morning, headed to the Café du Monde
Enjoyed coffee and their speciality beignets (French style doughnuts). The place is an institution and the best way to start a Sunday Morning.
11. Left the city for a brief tour of the area surrounding.
Including a trip out to see the Alligators in the swamps
12. Made a visit to one of the old plantations outside the city
13. Jazz at the Preservation Hall
I headed out early in the evening, got a front row seat and spent a memorable few hours at Preservation Hall. It is an unassuming old place but it is one of the Jazz institutions in New Orleans. The place is small and intimate. If you get there early it is definetely well worth it.
I know some people will say you need at least a week to even scratch the surface of a city like New Orleans, and they are not wrong, but I just love the challenge of trying to see as much as I can in as short a period of possible.
It certainly beats just staying in a hotel room or paying the airline extra to arrive later.