Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Road Trip, Day 7 - New Orleans, Louisiana

The three week road trip my daughter and I took was centered around going to the national harp conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.  My daughter is a harpist and was very excited about attending.  It's the first conference she's attended that's put on by the American Harp Society.  We were also excited because this road trip not only gave us three wonderful weeks together and the opportunity to visit family along the way but also to see and experience lots of new places.  And, let me tell you....New Orleans is quite an experience!

This week started on a Saturday morning with a drive from east Texas where we'd enjoyed a few wonderful days with my aunt and cousins.  From there, the landscape changed from piney woods and very green to green with LOTS of water.  We were amazed as we drove for miles on highways/freeways that were like bridges built over water.  There were trees in the water!

As we crossed over big rivers, there were large bridges for the big boats to fit under.
I think this bridge was in Baton Rouge...

We had decided to stay at the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel because the conference was being held there.  It would be the most convenient for all the meetings, workshops, lessons, rehearsals, performances, etc. that my daughter would be going to during the week.  It was in the French Quarter of New Orleans, right on Canal Street, one of the main streets that run through the Quarter.  It was also next to the famous Bourbon Street.  We were excited!  

It seemed to be a nice hotel with valet parking, bell hops, big chandeliers and a fancy price to go with it.  But, we were greeted at the front desk with snooty staff and our room was filthy.  So much so that we had to take allergy meds every day.  My daughter even felt like she was getting sick from it.  When we asked the front desk about leaving early we were again greeted with a bad attitude and whispering about the situation between several of the staff.  When I went to the desk a third time, I finally got someone with a professional attitude that was helpful.  She not only allowed us to end our stay early without a penalty fee but she also hugely discounted our last night.  That was a relief!  I quickly went back to the room and searched online for a new place to stay after we were to leave this place and I made a reservation.  Here's some of the filth we put up with there...

The carpet around the edges of the room and under the edges of the furniture was bad...

Even the tall headboards had dust wads on them...  Yuck!

The window sills were dirty...

The drapes were stained.  Gross!

The blow dryer was broken with exposed wires.  Seemed like a hazard to me!  They did have another one in the room that worked.  But, I have no idea why they'd leave this in the room or not fix it. 

The room and beds smelled like dust and the closet was even worse.  But, it was the only place we could fit our luggage as the room was small.  So, whenever we got into our luggage we'd try to hold our breath.

Over the three weeks of our road trip, this was the only hotel that had difficult wifi.  We couldn't connect no matter what we tried.  My daughter sat on the phone for a long time with their help desk that seemed to be in India with someone who barely spoke English.  She gave up and we ended up spending a lot of time on the phone with my husband as he worked out the problem and was able to get us connected.  He's awesome!  Fast forward a couple days and it, again, would not connect.  I sat on the phone with that crazy help desk again for a very long time and finally got connected.  Ugh!

Then, there was the AC!  It was cold in the room and I wanted to turn the AC off for a while.  I turned the thermostat temperature up.  That didn't work.  So, I turned the whole thing off.  That seemed to work but it kept coming back on.  It got a little creepy because it would go off until I'd go sit down to work on something and then come back on.  The moment I'd stand up or go over to turn it off, it would go off on it's own.  I told my daughter about it and she thought that was creepy.  I thought so too.  It was like someone was watching and turning it off over and over like a joke.  I mentioned it on Facebook and a whole discussion started about how haunted New Orleans is and how to deal with ghosts.  It was kind of funny but it had me wondering.  One evening, I Skyped with my husband and held the laptop up for him to see the thermostat.  Problem solved!  It seemed to have a motion sensor on it.  He thought the air would run to keep the air circulating but turn off when it detected someone in the room (since it was "off").  See that little rectangle by my finger...that's the sensor.  Yay!  No ghosts!  Hopefully! ;-)

It was funny that we saw this sign later that day as we walked through the French Quarter...

This was only the beginning of "haunted" house talk for this trip though.  Stay tuned for more.

Here's an interesting part of our hotel.  We passed it every time we went to our room and I thought it looked cool.  It's a space between wings of the hotel to provide light to some of the rooms.  I love the old brick.  We saw a lot of it on our trip .  I think it's interesting too how old brick and other types of walls in the south have ferns growing out of them.  So, they not only need to weed their yards but their houses and businesses too!

The hotel was only the first disappointment on this section of our road trip.  Bourbon Street was also VERY different than we had expected.  In fact, it was downright disgusting!  It seemed that about the only types of businesses on Bourbon were bars and restaurants.  That's not a problem.  The problem is that the French Quarter is a party destination and Bourbon is party central.  That explains the smell!  Let's just say that anything that can come out of a human body is probably on the street.  Combine that with heat and humidity and it's GROSS!  We felt like we needed to throw our shoes away and get new ones after walking down that street.  And, we just couldn't hold our breath long enough before we were out of that area.  Unfortunately, that smell carries and is on some of the other streets as well.
We didn't hang around on that street long enough to take pictures.  I'm not even sure there's anything I'd want a picture of.

We were not happy campers when we first arrived.  But, we always try to look on the bright side and make the best of every situation.  That's just what we did in the French Quarter.  So, stay tuned for my next post and some nicer things about New Orleans and the French Quarter.


Cindie said...

I've never been there but a thought is that everyone drinks so much they don't notice how nasty the hotel and streets are.

Michelle said...

NOLA is a great place, but you do have to beware! Sad that you had such trouble with the room!

mamasmercantile said...

How disappointing that the room was not up to standard. Sounds like a great trip.

Delighted Hands said...

Glad you had a better ending to Norleans!