Welcome to The Big Easy! I arrived at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to a sea of orange and blue as the Florida Gators were also in town to play LSU in Baton Rogue. I grabbed a taxi and headed to the Hotel Monteleone (http://www.hotelmonteloene.com/), which is located in the French Quarter a block off Bourbon Street. This historic landmark is a member of Historic Hotels of America. The hotel boasts 600 newly renovated rooms and suites, two award-winning restaurants, the famous Carousel Piano Bar & Lounge, Logo Shop, heated rooftop pool, Spa Aria, state-of-the-art exercise facility, business center, and valet parking. We were thrilled with our lovely and spacious room, the convenient location of the hotel and the friendly staff here. Definitely a great place to stay in New Orleans.
After quickly unpacking, I met up with some fabulous New Orleans residents and visitors at the Inn On Bourbon (http://www.innonbourbon.com/) for our departure, via Limousine Livery, to The New Orleans Opera Association VIP cocktail reception. The Inn On Bourbon is the site of the oldest French Quarter Opera House in America. It continues to embody the city’s rich history and is still a focal point for arts and culture in New Orleans. We arrived at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of Performing Arts for the New Orleans Opera Association’s performance of TOSCA. Being my very first time at an opera, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The promos for this performance read: “Love, Lust, Revenge, Assassination, Remorse, Betrayal and Suicide.” Sounds like I will enjoy it. This perennial favorite by Giacomo Puccini, once derided as little more than "a shabby little shocker," opened the season and is sung in Italian. Fortunately, they provided sub titles above the performers, so I was able to follow along. I felt like Julia Roberts on Pretty Woman when Richard Gere takes her to the opera and she starts crying. It was very moving but I (unlike Julia) did not almost “pee in my pants.”
After meeting up with Liz (her plane arrived at 10 p.m.), we strolled down Bourbon Street to take in the “scenery.” We finally stopped at Pat O’Brien’s for their world famous Hurricane. After a few hours of Bourbon Street chaos, we were ready to call it a day.