Friday, September 22, 2006

Laissez les bon temps rouler encore

Odyssey is once again in the Big Easy.  I am parked at the French Quarter RV Resort (map), which is a haughty name for what is, essentially, a large lot under a highway billboard off I-10.  I'm paying way too much for the privilege, but it's very hot and humid here, and I wanted just to be able to run all the A/C's without having to think about it.

On my way into town, I was thinking that I would have no problem negotiating a decent rate here, considering tourism, including RV's, is still down, and boondocking, formerly frowned upon by the local constabulary, is de rigeur all over town in the wake of Katrina.  Sure enough, I probably could have paid 70% of the asking price for tonight, and maybe tomorrow.  Sunday night is a different story -- the Saints are playing at home, and the park has pre-sold most of their spaces for a promotion involving all the Saints home games, including transportation to the game.  I considered myself lucky to have negotiated paying the 10%-off FMCA rate for all three nights (they wanted an extra $20 for Sunday), as long as I promised not to need transportation to the football game (I don't) or to eat the barbecue that's included in the football promo.

The place is not bad, all things considered, though overpriced for what it is.  That being said, it is a much better option than the Mardi Gras RV Park, at which we parked last January when it was the closest option to the quarter.  If you want to spend a couple nights in New Orleans, and plan to partake of the Bourbon Street revelry, this is the place to be.

  1. A six-block walk to Bourbon street.  You can stumble home after partying all night.
  2. Beautiful salt-water pool, hot tub, and clubhouse area, with fitness center, guest laundry, barbecue grill, and internet kiosk.
  3. Wi-fi and cable included (not that we needed either).
  4. Brand-new park, with new pedestals, sewers, etc.
  5. 50-amp and 30-amp connections at each site.
  6. Nicely groomed sites made of brick-colored pavers.
  7. Secure facility with on-site security (not a bad idea in this part of town, see below).
  1. Right next to I-10, which is an elevated freeway here.  The freeway noise is horrendous.  My site is at the extreme opposite end of the park (meaning half a block away), but many sites are right below the freeway.
  2. There's a huge billboard installation right in the middle of the park.  (The billboard pre-dates the park, and I'm sure the sign company has maintained a permanent easement.)  Not only is it unsightly, it creates weird shadows in some places, likely interferes with satellite access from some sites, and, no doubt, is brightly lit until the wee hours.
  3. The lot lines are perhaps 25'.  Bigger than many parks, but a resort? C'mon.  On top of which, there is no vegetation, fencing, or anything else between sites -- you are cheek-by-jowl with your neighbor.  (I have an end site, adjacent to the entrance, with no neighbor as yet on the other side.  Until the Saints, umm, come marching in.  Oh lordy, I don't want to be in that number.)
  4. The rack rate is $69 per night.  That's more than many true motorcoach destination resorts.
  5. While the location is convenient to the quarter, it's really a few blocks away, in an industrial neighborhood surrounded by run-down buildings, and a currently-shuttered Winn-Dixie supermarket.
Oh, and don't bother if you have a class-C, or a fiver.  It's class-A only here.  (Of course, you'll still see plenty of travel trailers -- there is an encampment of FEMA trailers 150' away.)  Plus, they have, ahem, standards.  My 20-year-old bus conversion did not phase them (even though the manager knew exactly what it was, and about how old, before I even rolled in the gate -- one of the few), but I'd bet that many home-brew MCI's would not pass muster.

No matter.  The lure of 50-amp hookups and staggering distance from Rue Bourbon sucked me in.  Now that I'm here, I'm going to try to relax a bit and enjoy the (cough) "resort" environment.   I've already been in the pool, which was quite nice and very refreshing in the gulf heat and humidity.

Tonight I'll be getting together with our friends Anne and Ben.  These are folks we met while working in Baton Rouge with the Red Cross.  Both volunteers from elsewhere, they decided to stay in New Orleans after the relief operation ended.  Tomorrow, they will help me pick up Louise from the airport (hooray!).  I'm eager to see if they have picked up a local accent (which is kind of a cross between cajun and Brooklyn) in the time they've lived here.

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