We only had a day to explore – so much to see, so little time! We had opted to get a room near the airport and rented a car so we would have the flexibility to get around on our own. For some reason, the prices for the rooms were incredibly high, as was the cost of a rental car. When we flew in, we learned the reason – Wrestlemania was going on that weekend. Pretty much every room in New Orleans and the surrounding areas were fully booked.
I knew that parking would be quite expensive as well. But, for only $3, you can buy a full-day streetcar pass. So, I looked into where the Canal Street Streetcar line ended; that would be where we would start our day. Even better? We could park at the terminus for free! We ended up parking by the city park across from the Art Museum. We almost missed the streetcar but the conductor stopped it for us and let us climb aboard at a non-scheduled stop. It was obvious that most of the people on the car were locals. A one-way ticket costs $1.25 which is pretty cheap transportation.
We rode the streetcar to the end of the line. The conductor suggested we hop on the Riverfront car and explained how to get there. We rode that one to the end of the line and got off to explore the French Quarter. One thing that I really wanted to try in New Orleans was a beignet. And pralines. As we were walking through the French Market, I spied a shop that sold praline beignets. Score! The owner fried up a fresh batch for us and they were incredible.
We moseyed along, exploring the streets of the French Quarter. There were plenty of shopping opportunities – lots of souvenirs and voodoo items marketed to tourists. I wanted to ride the Charles Street streetcar line so we found a stop and waited. We just missed the streetcar, and this one wouldn’t stop for us. So, we waited for the next one. And waited. And waited some more. We eventually gave up and decided to ride the Canal Street line back to our car. Right after we hopped on the Canal Street car, I saw the Charles Street car turn the corner. I guess we didn’t wait long enough!
To our surprise, there are two lines for Canal Street. We ended up on the wrong one. But that’s ok because it took us to the cemeteries which was something I wanted to see anyway! The cemeteries were the end of the line so we rode the streetcar back to where the #47 and the #48 lines intersected and waited for the #48. We ended up back where we started. Our car didn’t get ticketed or towed – I was a little paranoid that it might because it seemed unfathomable that we could park all day for free. I was hoping that the parking wasn’t like in Seattle where you have to pay at a station down the road, print a ticket, and put it in your window. I hadn’t seen any signs, but you never know.
The next day we were up bright and early to catch the ship. We had to drop off the car at the airport and catch a cab to the pier. We had a 9:30 check-in time, but they didn’t start checking people in until well after 10. Since we have Platinum Plus status we were among the first on board. We are cruising on the NCL Pearl. We will be spending 3 weeks traveling from NOLA through the Panama Canal and back to our home in Seattle.