on December 7, 2008
As I wandered out of my hotel, the Hilton, I wandered right into the Riverwalk Marketplace. I'm always a bit skeptical of these mall-continued-to-hotel shopping centers, particularly those underground, but the Riverwalk proved to have a nice variety of stores both chain and unique to the area. The area was also low on kiosks, which to me are very annoying with sales people approaching you constantly - so a big plus there.My main goal was to visit Ann Taylor Loft for a coat, so I only stopped in a few stores along the way - a cute and inexpensive womens boutique that was very fashion forward, You Go GIrl!. I passed a few stories that seemed to be fairly low end in terms of fashion and wondered if that was it.Then I found an outpost of Cafe Du Monde. I hadn't yet been to the original and I am very glad I waited to go to it - something about the original versus one in a mall setting makes the original much more exciting and meaningful! However the Cafe Du Monde had lots of seating, though you were right beside the massage kiosk. Again, not my choice to get a massage in public in the middle of the mall!I found Ann Taylor Loft and had amazingly helpful salespeople, and bought several shirts on sale. I wandered along and stopped in the Brookstone store as I need a new alarm clock and have never been in one, and realized how much junk/helpful stuff they have (I couldn't tell which some of it was - do you really need a sports updated gadget when you have the internet?).There were also many Mardi Gras shops with inexpensive beads and trinkets, and a few New Orleans focused stores. There was a sports store with local LA gear, and several other basic chain stores. You can see a full listing at http://www.riverwalkmarketplace.com/html/storedirectory.aspMost of the stores are in a fairly underground drab area. When you get to the foodcourt, you go up a level and are greeted with an awesome view of the Riverboat, the River and two large bridges. The view is great! However the food selection at 2 pm on a Friday was definitely lacking. Some of the food court stations had hot steaming food with no one out to serve it, and others had what looked to be cold food. There was a variety of typical food court items - with a strong emphasis on Cajun cuisine. Prices were not cheap for a food court, be warned - about $8 to $10 for a meal.I chose a Mexican themed station because I wanted a burrito. The glob of melted cheese was probably 1000 calories alone, and the rice and goop of beans that came with it were more appetizing than the burrito. Not recommended to eat in this area! Even with a Burger King I would have known what I was getting, but these all appeared to be independent of actual restaurants.If you have nothing to do and need to do some shopping for a purpose, check out these stores. Otherwise it is not worth the trip when you can check out the history and glory of downtown New Orleans from restaurants to bars in the French Quarter.
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