Posted April 26th, 2012, 10:57 PM
Our original plan for Saturday was to get up early, have a small breakfast at the hotel, walk around the French Quarter for a few hours, catch lunch at Mother’s and then head back to the hotel to gather our luggage and leave for the port. Given that we were out so late the previous night we decided to change our plans a bit and sleep in a little longer.
Just like the previous day I arranged for a wake up call at 8:30. Emma and I repeated our routine of going downstairs for breakfast while Katelyn and Kristen showered and got ready. We took a slight detour on our way to breakfast. We went upstairs to the pool deck and were able to see our ship from the top floor. Emma was very excited to go to the ship.
We ate breakfast and then brought some food up for the girls. They ate while I piled our suitcases onto the luggage cart. I had asked the night before if we could store our luggage while we went out. The person at the front desk said that it was no problem. We left our room and I rolled the overflowing luggage cart down to the front desk. The clerk said that she would just leave everything on the cart and pulled it in the office behind a locked door.
We walked down to St. Charles turned left and headed towards Canal and the French Quarter. We slowly made our way along Royal St. as we had done two days prior. Kristen happened upon a bracelet in a jewelry store window. The bracelet had a simple black band with a fleur de lis covered with diamonds. Kristen assumed that they were fake diamonds and went inside. I strolled in a few minutes later just in time to hear the clerk tell her that it cost “thirty-two fifty”. Kristen was thinking $32.50 but I knew right away that the clerk meant $3,250.00. I walked out and it took a few minutes for Kristen and the girls to follow. Kristen was laughing and said that she had to pretend not to be shocked when she realized the actual price. She said that she told the clerk that it was very nice and that she wanted to think about it some more.
Having avoided spending a few house payments on a bracelet, we continued our way down Royal. We reached St. Peter and turned left. The girls wanted to go back to the same gift shop they had been in on Thursday. Both Emma and Katelyn wanted to purchase masks as souvenirs.
It took a good amount of time for the girls to decide on which masks they wanted. When they were finished we made our way down St. Peter towards Jackson Square. The atmosphere in the square was really cool. There was a group of street musicians playing jazz and they were very talented. There was a clown near St. Peter St. making balloon animals for the kids. Emma waited there with Katelyn so that she could get an animal.
Kristen and I worked our way around counter clockwise all the way over to Decatur St. by Café du Monde. Many local artists were displaying their works for sale. Some of them were very talented and had some really nice pieces. We doubled back and made it all of the way to the front steps of St. Louis Cathedral before encountering the girls. We decided to go inside and have a look at the church. Unfortunately the only photos I got were very blurry. It is a beautiful church and certainly worthwhile spending a few minutes to visit.
We made our way back outside and headed along the final leg of the square that we had not yet seen. About half way down towards Decatur we ran across a local artist that created paintings for children. Emma decided that she wanted to spend some of her allowance money and purchased a very nice painting of a circus elephant for her bedroom.
We reached Decatur and turned right towards Canal St. As I said earlier our plans changed a bit this morning. Instead of stopping for lunch we chose to eat a bigger breakfast at the hotel. The girls decided that they would rather stop into to the Riverwalk Mall and do some shopping before we had to board the ship. We walked along Decatur to Peters St. and then crossed over Canal. Peters turned into Tchoupitoulas St. We stayed on Tchoupitoulas until we reached Poydras. We could see the entrance to the Riverwalk Mall from where we stood. TIP: Consider splitting up your party to retrieve your luggage
. By splitting up the girls were able to do a little shopping and I was able to retrieve the luggage. This saved on cab fare as the standard downtown rate is $7.00 per person. We thought there was no reason to pay for everyone to ride in the cab if it was just a short walk to the pier. The girls headed towards the mall and I headed up Poydras back to the hotel.
Passing by Mother's I noted that there was a long line outside. This restaurant admittedly caters to the tourist crowd but they are supposed to have good sandwiches. Its probably a place that we will try the next time we're in town.
I made it back to the hotel and the front desk clerk called for a cab. I wheeled the luggage outside and waited about 10 minutes for a cab to arrive. The driver helped me load the luggage and we left for the pier. While we were driving I got a text from Kristen saying that they had walked through the mall and were ready to meet me. In my mind I thought this was pretty quick. I thought the girls must not have shopped very much. I replied back and told her that I was on my way but it would be a little bit before I got there.
The vehicle entrance to the pier is quite a ways further up river than I had envisioned. Luckily there was no traffic and we quickly made our way back down river to the Julia St. pier. I verified the fare with the driver and gave her a $20 for helping with the luggage. This was a lot cheaper than what it would have been if we had all ridden over in the cab.
TIP: Treat your porter well and your porter will treat you well
. I know that there's a long standing debate on CC about tipping porters at the pier. My opinion is that you do get better service if you tip well. I gave the porter $20 for handling our 7 bags of luggage and I kept the remaining bag with me. I asked the porter for directions to the Riverwalk Mall and he pointed me in the general direction.
I walked inside the building first to check things out before heading over to the mall. The line of passengers extended beyond entrance door #4. I walked down towards entrance #1 and was told by more than one person that the end of the line was in the other direction. I asked another person for directions to the mall and he provided better details than the porter had.
There is a staircase along Julia Street near the whale lot on the far side of the railroad tracks from the pier building. In order to get to the mall you simply walk out to Julia St., head up the escalator and walk straight into the mall. This brings you into the mall food court.
I texted Kristen and told her that I was in the food court and asked where I could find her. This is when I realized that there was a miscommunication. Kristen indicated that she didn't see a food court. It turns out that she and the girls were still in Section A of the mall. They didn't realize that there was an escalator at the far end near the Gap and that the mall continued upstairs. This explained how they had “finished” shopping so quickly. It was about 1:00 at this point so I told them to take their time. We had a little over an hour before we needed to head over to the pier. I went outside on the upper patio and took a seat looking out towards the ship.
I spent the next 45 minutes or so just watching the activities on the ship. The girls finally arrived with a Cafe du Monde bag in hand. They explained that they didn't realize about the continuation of the mall. They also stated that surprisingly Cafe du Monde in the mall was a lot better than the location on Decatur. The beignets were hot out of the fryer and there were no long lines. They had brought a beignet for me and I concurred that it was better than we had a few days prior. After I finished eating we made our way back through the food court to the escalator and back down to Julia St.
By the time we made it back to the pier building the end of the line had progressed to entrance #1. We were on the ship about 20 minutes later ready to begin our cruise.
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