New Orleans Journals

Haunted New Orleans

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A November 2003 trip to New Orleans by barbara

Bon Ton Cafe Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana More Photos
Quote: Gaslights flicker on the narrow streets. Iron work twists and turns around the porches like ivy crawling up crumbling walls. It's easy to believe the French Quarter houses ancient spirits. New Orleans looks haunted. . . Reality and myth are completely intertwined.

Haunted New Orleans

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Overview

A City of the Dead in the Garden District Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
Not to be gauche, but New Orleans has always reminded me of an aging prostitute. She''s brazen with her decadence yet has a mysterious and haunted spirit that''s alluring. Under close inspection, you''ll find her buildings shabby with decay, and my first impression was that her face, once surely beautiful, now needs a thicker layer of makeup. Heat that rises each day from the sidewalks is as visible as alcohol fumes, and the neighborhoods seem to be in a perpetual hangover mode to me, reeling each morning after an endless party... Yet, New Orleans'' wiles are still quite considerable at night. The French Quarter, for one, is starkly beautiful in the flicker of gaslights that hide the wrec...Read More

Le Pavillon Hotel

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Hotel

Le Pavillon Hotel Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
As we were driving through a seedy neighborhood trying to find our hotel, my friends were giving me looks of incredulity. We weren''t a hoity-toity group, but we were three women who wanted to feel safe during our vacation in the Crescent City. So when we turned onto Poydras in the business district and spotted Le Pavillon, we breathed a collective sigh of relief. Le Pavillon''s front entrance, with its Italian columns, giant gaslight, and elegant statues---the feminine Peace and Prosperity flank the doors---was a welcome sight for us all. We parked our car in the secured lot ($25/night) with the thought that we were going to enjoy staying at a grand hotel. A doorma...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 10, 2003

Le Pavillon Hotel
833 POYDRAS STREET
New Orleans, Louisiana 70140
504-581-3111

The Hotel Modern

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Hotel | "Hotel LeCirque"

The Hotel Modern Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
The thing I love the most about spending the night in New Orleans is that the hotels have as much personality as the city. After a late dinner at Commander's Palace in the Garden District, we drove just a few short blocks to Lee Circle and checked into the LeCirque.A boutique hotel, LeCirque runs with a geometric theme. The sleek lines in the lobby extend upstairs to the rooms. The black and white photography that graced the walls of our room included a lovely, random scene of an angular park bench beneath a glowing moon. You will not find generic floral prints anywhere here. Everything has a shape. Check out the diamond pattern in the window treatments. The rectangles of...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 1, 2004

The Hotel Modern
936 Saint Charles Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
(504) 962-0900

Equivest Avenue Plaza & Pro Spa

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Hotel | "Avenue Plaza Hotel and Pro Spa"

Equivest Avenue Plaza & Pro Spa Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
The Avenue Plaza Hotel and Pro Spa is located right on St. Charles near the Tourism Board building. The trolley stop is only steps outside. The marble-tiled lobby sets the mood for an elegant stay in one of the spacious suites. The refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher in the suite kitchenettes are perfect for an extended vacation in the Crescent City. There’s plenty of room to make a meal and eat at the table in the small dining area. Lots of cabinet space, too. Of course New Orleans is known for its wonderful food, so I’m not sure how many times you’ll want to eat in. If you are going out for the night, the complimentary hors d’ oeuvres the hotel offers in the lounge downstairs are a n...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 5, 2004

Equivest Avenue Plaza & Pro Spa
2111 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
504/566-1212

The Pontchartrain Hotel

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Hotel

The Pontchartrain Hotel Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
When you enter the Pontchartrain lobby, look up to see a mural of puffy white clouds floating in a pale blue sky. Gaslight chandeliers hint at the hotel’s long history. The Pontchartrain first opened in 1927 as an apartment building! It was later converted into a hotel after the Depression hit. Now it is truly one of New Orlean’s Grand Dames. I could easily imagine Tennessee Williams sipping a cocktail in the Bayou Bar, which opened in the 1940s. Since he was once a guest here, it’s an easy leap of mind to make. In fact, you’ll notice a lot of the suites here don’t have room numbers but famous names the likes of Richard Burton on the doors in homage to a long and steady stream of famous...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 5, 2004

The Pontchartrain Hotel
2031 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana 70140
(800) 777-6193

Prytania Park Hotel

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Hotel

Prytania Park Hotel Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
Before my trip, I read some mixed reviews about the Prytania Park, so I was looking forward to finding out the "real deal" for myself. When we pulled into the parking lot (overnight parking $13), I was happy to see we were very close to a trolley stop on St. Charles. The $1.25 trolley fares are a very appealing way to get around New Orleans. In the hotel’s tiny lobby, the guy behind the counter gave us a warm reception. We got a key for a junior suite and up the stairs we went to the second floor. Almost immediately I began to sense the Prytania Park has a bit of a "hostel" feel. This sense was heightened that much more when a shirtless Australian guy in a zebra striped cowboy hat leaned out hi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 5, 2004

Prytania Park Hotel
1525 PRYTANIA ST
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
1-504-524-0427

Holiday Inn Select New Orleans Airport

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Hotel | "Holiday Inn Select/Airport"

Holiday Inn Select New Orleans Airport Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
I had reservations at the Holiday Inn Select at the airport, but I made a mistake and first drove to the Holiday Inn in Metairie. These are completely different places! Don't make this same mistake. Put back on track, I found this Holiday Inn is in Kenner! The marble tiled lobby of the Holiday Inn Select is paneled in dark wood. A colorful oil is hanging over a small sitting area across from the front desk. A quick scan of some of the other guests waiting here to get their room keys made it evident to me that this is a favorite hotel with some airline pilots and flight crews. Once in my room I found basic Holiday Inn decor with a dresser, desk and tables made of pickled wood. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 11, 2004

Holiday Inn Select New Orleans Airport
2929 WILLIAMS BLVD
New Orleans, Louisiana 70062
504-467-5611

Holiday Inn French Quarter

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Hotel

Holiday Inn French Quarter Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
The Holiday Inn on Royal Street is in the middle of everything. Within close walking distance to a trolley stop and the famous Bourbon Street, its location is the hotel's biggest selling point for visitors to New Orleans. The hotel itself is also well maintained. This isn't a luxury facility, but I think I can sum up its entire character by pointing out the restaurant connected to its lobby: TGI Fridays. Like the hotel itself, this chain restaurant offers good food at a reasonable price. Not a bad mix in New Orleans. As for the Holiday Inn rooms, even at full capacity during a festival in July, all was quiet and comfortable. An extra nice feature:The...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 11, 2004

Holiday Inn French Quarter
124 Royal Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
(504) 529-7211

Ramada Limited

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Hotel

Ramada Limited Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
The Ramada Limited is the nicest hotel in Metairie that I visited. This is only minutes from New Orleans---about halfway between the city and the airport. With two separate buildings the hotel offers 20 executive king rooms, which are spacious for the business traveler. Highspeed Internet access is available along with wireless in the main building. Pale blue walls and dark carpets provide a calming color scheme that works with the floral bedspreads. I also took a peek into a handicap-friendly room in the standard building. Here the room itself was smaller but the doorway leading to the bathroom was wide so as to easily accommodate a wheelchair. There were also metal safety railings i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 11, 2004

Ramada Limited
2713 North Causeway Blvd
New Orleans, Louisiana 70002
504/835-4141

Best Western Landmark

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Hotel

Best Western Landmark Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
The Best Western Landmark is a tall, circular building that towers over Metairie. (There is an annex building behind the tower.) As such, it's easy to find. When I walked into the stone-floored lobby, it was filled with a group of teenagers in town for a sports tournament. Catering to groups like this one and also targeting business travelers, the Best Western offers several nice features: an outdoor pool, on-site dining, free parking, and laundry facilities. In the morning you can get a hot breakfast buffet upstairs in the full service restaurant for $7.95. Lunch and dinner choices include sandwiches, steak, shrimp and a catfish basket. Get a table by the windows. The best thing ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 12, 2004

Best Western Landmark
2601 Severn Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana 70002
504/888-9500

W New Orleans

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Hotel | "W Hotel in the French Quarter"

W New Orleans Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
The W in New Orleans is a four-star establishment. Like every W I've ever visited, it offers a hip choice for lodging. I walked into the lobby and was immediately greeted by an employee, an indication of the great service. Lots of guests seemed to like the public areas in this chic hotel, hanging out on the couches near tall bookcases. Think bold colors, blonde wood, and industrial music. The uniformity of the books on the shelves made me think they weren't real, but a quick check showed each of the books simply has a paper cover to protect it. Up the stairs I found Zoe, a French bistro bar and restaurant. Offering a wide range of choices like eggs Norwegian (poached eggs on a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 12, 2004

W New Orleans
333 POYDRAS STREET
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
504-525-9444

Hotel Monteleone

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Hotel

Hotel Monteleone Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
I loved the Hotel Monteleone. I wanted to stay here because it has a long and noted history of hosting literary giants. As a writer--and reader--I got a small thrill knowing people like William Faulkner and Eudora Welty were once guests, too. The hotel is even mentioned as a setting in a lot of different books! Are you more a lover of music than prose? You'll like to know Elvis Presley and Liberace have also stayed here. Still owned by the same family, the Hotel Monteleone derives its name from its Italian founder's roots. Monteleone means mountain lion. Established in 1886 in a building that once housed Union troops during the War of Northern Aggression (as th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 12, 2004

Hotel Monteleone
214 Rue Royale
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
(504) 523-3341

Alexa Hotel

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Hotel | "Alexa Hotel French Quarter"

Alexa Hotel Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
The Alexa in the French Quarter shares the management team of the Astor Crowne Plaza next door. These two establishments are so closely connected that you can check into the Alexa at the Astor's front desk! (And vice versa.) Alexa guests also have access to Astor amenities like the rooftop pool and the fitness center. Yet the Alexa is a little less expensive. Why? Since the Crowne Astor Plaza really targets the business/convention traveler, those guests will find things like high speed Internet access. At the Alexa there's just dial up and web TV. As a result, you're likely to find more tourists in the Alexa property... or business travelers on a tighter budget. Features that set...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 12, 2004

Alexa Hotel
119 ROYAL STREET
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
504-962-0600

Queen and Crescent Hotel

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Hotel

Queen and Crescent Hotel Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
The Queen and Crescent Hotel is housed in two buildings, so don't be confused. I found the first building locked. (Guests have key access.) So I had to walk next door to the second building where the front desk is located. The Queen and Crescent has a royal sounding name. In the early twentieth century, it was actually the headquarters to a railroad company with a line that began in the Queen City (Cincinnati) and ended in the Crescent City (New Orleans.) Now it's a nice, boutique hotel. Look at the oil paintings that line the hallways. A lobby chandelier and marble floors, a downstairs lounge and bar, are all the first taste of what should be a comfortable stay...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 12, 2004

Queen and Crescent Hotel
344 CAMP STREET
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
504-587-9700

Omni Royal Crescent Hotel

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Hotel | "Omni Royal Crescent"

Omni Royal Crescent Hotel Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
The Omni Royal Crescent should not be confused with the Omni Royal. Both are, of course, Omni properties, but the Omni Royal is a bit more luxurious. Both offer guests a comfortable stay.The lobby of the Omni Royal Crescent provides a nice sitting area to one side with a chrystal chandelier, faux fireplace, and an iron gate that serves as artwork. The small grandfather clock next to the front desk gives a stately feel to the space. Here you can pick up a newspaper. Rooms provide European furnishings, striped wall paper, dark woods, comfortable beds, and a couch. Internet access is complimentary. On one floor there is a narrow sundeck that has a shallow pool you can use to dip your f...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 12, 2004

Omni Royal Crescent Hotel
535 GRAVIER
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
504-527-0006

Mother's

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Restaurant

Mother's Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
If you like Southern food, you'll enjoy Mother's. It's all Southern with a Big Easy twist here. And while some New Orleans restaurants practically make you get a second mortgage on your home to pay your bill, Mother's is more than reasonable. In fact, it's downright cheap. We ate there for breakfast. Hop in line and order cafeteria style from one of the attendants wearing paper hats behind the counter. Have a buttermilk biscuit with dirty grits or scrambled eggs with some greasy bacon. If you get coffee, you'll have to walk up yourself for refills. After you pay, grab a table quick before they're all gone. A waitress will call out your name when your food's ready. Sit down a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 11, 2003

Mother's
401 Poydras St.
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
(504) 523-9656

Bon Ton Cafe

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Restaurant

Bon Ton Cafe Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
We were in N''Awlins, so we wanted good Cajun. The Bon Ton was highly recommended at our hotel. We walked to Magazine from Poydras and found a bustling restaurant with several people waiting outside under the awning. Reservations here are a must. It''s a popular place. Inside Bon Ton, we found a large dining room with brick walls echoing a hundred separate conversations. Tables are close together, and the clatter of dishes, tinkling of silverware, and clinking of glasses keeps the noise level at a low roar.We were seated at a small table with a checkered tablecloth by a shuttered window. Our hostess turned with the rest of us when we heard a loud crash and a whoa! coming from t...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 9, 2003

Bon Ton Cafe
401 Magazine St
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
+1 504 524 3386

Commander's Palace

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Restaurant

Commander's Palace Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
In the Garden District across from the Lafayette No. 1 cemetery, you''ll find Commanders Palace. This is a fine dining experience worth seeking out. After going on a self directed walking tour of the neighborhood (the restaurant will provide you with a map of homes that gives details about the architecture), we entered the main dining room with its butter yellow walls and pressed tin ceiling. Since we dined during a jazz brunch, colorful balloons were tied in bunches to the tiny lamps in the center of the tables. Therefore, while this is a fine dining restaurant---shorts are not allowed---the Sunday atmosphere here felt more festive than stuffy to me. We loved the jazz musicians: ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 10, 2003

Commander's Palace
1403 Washington Ave
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
+1 504 899 8221

Arnaud's Restaurant

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Restaurant | "Arnaud's"

Arnaud's Restaurant Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
My husband and I wanted to celebrate our wedding anniversary with a special dinner. Arnaud's has offered fine dining since 1918, so it seemed a good choice. The main dining room has a tiled floor, dark wood, and sparkling windows, but it did not feel very romantic to me. The concierge at our hotel called Arnaud's to let them know about our special occasion---to request a quiet corner---but I'm not sure if this was heeded because our table didn't seem to be in a special place, and no one ever acknowledged why we were there. I didn't expect a glass of champagne, but at a restaurant of this caliber, the waiter should have at least said, "Happy anniversary." But then the service was by far ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 12, 2004

Arnaud's Restaurant
813 Bienville St
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
+1 504 523 5433: +1

Jacques-lmo's Cafe

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Restaurant | "Jacques-Imo's"

Jacques-lmo's Cafe Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
I have a friend who lives in New Orleans, and she immediately recommended we go to Jacques-Imo's for dinner. We were staying in the Garden District, so it was easy to hop onto a streetcar and ride it into the Carrollton area of uptown. The front desk of our hotel also advised us that the Maple Leaf club next to this restaurant is a great place to listen to live music after a meal. We had to walk a short way from the streetcar stop to Jacques-Imo's. Once inside we also had a short wait at the narrow bar. The decor is a hoot! I noticed a stuffed boar hanging from the wall that was eating a Barbie doll! Much to our delight, Jacques Leonardi, the chef and owner, came out. In a chef's formal w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 13, 2004

Jacques-lmo's Cafe
8324 Oak St
New Orleans, Louisiana 70118
+1 504 861 0886

Tchoup N Joes Restaurant and Bar

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Restaurant | "Tchoup-N-Joes"

Tchoup N Joes Restaurant and Bar Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
When I ate with my friends at Tchoup-N-Joes it was so new the phone number wasn't yet in the yellow pages! Still, this is a place worth seeking out. It's located in the revitalized Warehouse District just down the street from Emeril's on Tchoupitoulas. But unlike some stuffy fine dining establishments in New Orleans that you'll have to sell a kidney to afford, this place is cool, casual, and fresh. In a building that once housed a manufacturer's machine shop, Tchoup-N-Joes exudes a modern sense of style that is underscored by industrial music, brick walls, and a plain slab floor that's been acid washed and glazed. Silver pendant lights hang over the marble-topped bar, and flat screen...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 13, 2004

Tchoup N Joes Restaurant and Bar
870 Tchoupitoulas Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
(504) 581-2858

Funky Butt at Congo Square

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Attraction | "The Funky Butt"

Funky Butt at Congo Square Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
With a name like Funky Butt this club was bound to have a personality. Located in a quiet section of the French Quarter not too far away from Bourbon, it offers live music in an art deco setting. Next to a "voodoo" joint, it''s fun to just wander around the red rooms, taking in the bar''s bordello-like atmosphere. Arriving early (at least early for New Orleans), my friends and I found the place fairly empty (this was to change as the night wore on). We grabbed a table directly in front of the drum set where a band would play a mix of jazz and blues for our entertainment. A very helpful, very young waiter took our order for some basic finger foods like crawfish cakes and tempura. He se...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 9, 2003

Funky Butt at Congo Square
714 North Rampart St
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
+1 504 558 0872

The Garden District

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Attraction | "Garden District Book Shop"

The Garden District Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
The Garden District Book Shop not far from author Anne Rice''s home is a must visit for any book collector. It''s within a small mall of stores, and it''s an independent bookstore worth going out of the way to see. In addition to hosting frequent signings by writers like New Orleans own Goth Queen, the shop keeps important, signed first editions for purchase in a special bookcase on the side wall. The first editions of The Lords of Discipline and The Prince of Tides I bought bearing Pat Conroy''s signature ended up costing me more than my share of our hotel room! Ouch! But I was thrilled to find them. If your budget doesn''t allow for a collector''s itch...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 9, 2003

The Garden District
St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans Ghost Tour

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Attraction | "The New Orleans Ghost Tour"

New Orleans Ghost Tour Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
We made reservations for our group for this tour through our hotel''s concierge. Tours run nightly after dark and last for approximately two hours. We chose the 7pm time slot, which allowed us to eat an early dinner beforehand. Then it was off to Flanagan''s Pub where we were encouraged to grab a drink (two-for-one coupons were passed out) to take along and sip while we walked. In a small group, we gathered in a half-moon shape around our guide who had collected us together on the sidewalk. It had rained and the gas lights reflected off gray puddles of water in the street. I remember thinking to myself that if ever there was a city that provided a good atmosphere for this type of tour...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 10, 2003

New Orleans Ghost Tour
Flanagan's Pub
New Orleans, Louisiana

Faulkner House Books

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Attraction

Faulkner House Books Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
Tucked in a narrow alley off Jackson Square near the church, you'll find Pirate's Alley. If you're a lover of American literature, you should walk down this street. Here you'll find Faulkner House Books, a tiny bookstore, to be sure, but one well worth visiting.As you run your fingers across the spines of books on the shelves, keep in mind that William Faulkner once lived in the building. In fact, he wrote his first novel here in 1925. (He considered himself a poet before he moved to New Orleans, and he had already published a poetry collection before he started writing fiction.) For those of you who were asleep during your high school English classes, Faulkner is conside...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 14, 2004

Faulkner House Books
624 Pirates Alley
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
+1 504 524 2940

Outside New Orleans--Quaint Covington

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Story/Tip

Typical Store Photo, New Orleans, Louisiana
Quote:
Many Louisiana residents will tell you the charm of the bayou is not in the Crescent City itself. While New Orleans is quite the seductress, visitors should hop in a car and drive across Lake Ponchartrain to explore a small town or two while on vacation. One I would suggest is in the heart of Tammany Parrish on Highway 190. Take an hour or three for shopping and tea in Covington. I spent a delightful afternoon there in July 2004. You'll find several small restaurants that serve a casual lunch in Covington. A friend and I grabbed delicious grilled ham and smoke gouda sandwiches at Coffee Rani (234 Lee Ln/985-893-6158) and then hit the antique shops. In buildings that look as much lik...Read More