Monday, November 28, 2011

The Muse Reviews: New Orleans

French Quarter
(photo courtesy of
This is a quick and dirty review, because I am behind schedule a bit. You see, I just returned from a trip to New Orleans. Read a great book along the way (Variant by Robison Wells), but I want to give a little more time to writing the review for it. So I thought I'd review the city of New Orleans itself.

In preparing for the trip, I mentioned my destination to a few people, all of whom said they found the city either dirty or smelly, or both. (The French Quarter is a party area, after all, and has a well-earned reputation for being a little wild.) Other people wondered if the city was in good shape or still reeling to recover from Hurricane Katrina. A good question.

Beignets from Cafe du Monde
(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
When I arrived in NOLA, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the city is very clean these days. Perhaps it's due to hurricane cleanup efforts. Or perhaps it's that NOLA is working hard to be a tourist destination for families, especially during the holidays. Whatever the case... New Orleans was not at all dirty or messy, not even in the French Quarter. Sure, there is powdered sugar on the floor at Cafe du Monde (beignets use a lot of powdered sugar). Sure, Bourbon Street is still seedy, even as early as  6 p.m. But the streets are tidy, and I didn't see anyone vomiting on a corner or relieving themselves in an alley. Perhaps that still happens during Mardi Gras. But apparently not at Thanksgiving.

As far as hurricane recovery, the city looks very good. Much of the repairs have already been made, especially to the areas where a tourist might visit. There's no obvious damage to be seen in the French Quarter or the Garden District, though both of those areas were relatively protected during Katrina's wrath. To be fair, I didn't get down to the Ninth Ward, where much of the worst flooding occurred. But the area has received a lot of attention from FEMA and hopefully is doing much better now.

Overall, New Orleans actually turned out to be a great place to visit during Thanksgiving. I'm already thinking about going next year in December, to see the Christmas decorations that I missed by going just a little too early this year.

Have you been to New Orleans? If so, how long ago? Did you like it? Share your thoughts!

Copyright (c) 2011 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

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