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LI-NewOrleansPlayingTrumpetLove Letter from New Orleans
By Kathy Feeney

There are places to visit. And then there is New Orleans. At once spiritual and ribald, antique and artsy, spicy and sweet, New Orleans is a savory stew of sights, sounds, flavors and feelings. The clip clop of horses pulling carriages through the French Quarter mix with the soulful sounds of street musicians. Zydeco and rock music blare from the bars on Bourbon Street as the shrill whistles of trains trudging through the city blend with the baritone toots of steamboats sailing by on the Mississippi. This is the city of Mardi Gras, beignets, chicory coffee, Bananas Foster, Hurricanes (as in the drink, merci beaucoup) jambalaya, and jazz. The spirit of New Orleans makes you want to genuflect out of gratitude one minute and dance until dawn the next. There is and always will be only one New Orleans. And that is reason enough for the city’s infamous adage: “Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!” - “Let the Good Times Roll!”

Big Easy Primer
For an effortless introduction to the Big Easy, check out Gray Line Tours. The company’s “Super City“ offers a narrated overview of the city including a ride through the Central Garden District and a stop at a cemetery. Another good choice is Gray Line’s “Hurricane Katrina Tour.” The tour is not for “gawkers,” according to one guide, but for visitors who want to understand what happened during Hurricane Katrina. Participants will learn why the city was built on the Mississippi River and how the levees were breached. The tour travels through neighborhoods affected by the hurricane, such as Lakeview, Gentilly, New Orleans East, St. Bernard and the Ninth Ward.
Visit www.graylineneworleans.com
For more things to do in New Orleans check out www.foreverneworleans.com and www.24nola.com

Staying There
JAX FAX stayed at The Maison Dupuy Hotel located on the corner of Rue Toulouse and Burgundy streets in the French Quarter. With wrought iron balconies overlooking the boutique hotel’s tropical courtyard complete with a fountain and a heated swimming pool, the Maison Dupuy is a luxurious, yet functional respite for visitors and business travelers. Amenities include a 24-hour fitness room, valet parking, room service, voice mail and Internet access. The hotel’s award-winning restaurant, Dominique’s, features fine wines and a masterpiece menu. The Maison Dupuy offers a discount and an incentive to travel agents. According to Dana Crabtree, Reservations/Revenue Manager, “We will offer travel agents a special incentive (20% commission) to book during our slower periods and special discounts for themselves when they are visiting New Orleans.” Travel agents can call Crabtree direct at 504-648-6115. Rates at the Maison Dupuy Hotel vary with the season. During peak season in spring and fall rates, per room per night range from $129 to $239; summer season runs June through September with rates per room per night ranging from $89 to $169.
Call 800-535-9177 www.MaisonDupuy.com

Voluntourism in the Big Easy
For your clients interested in combining a trip to the Big Easy with volunteer opportunities, the Marriott and Renaissance Hotels of New Orleans have created the “Big Easy Spirit to Serve” program. Rooms are priced seasonally and range from $149 to $269 per night, based on double occupancy. The program was kicked off in April as part of National Volunteer Month, but the offer is valid year-round. Here are the details: Fifty dollars per night of the guests’ room rate will be contributed to New Orleans Habitat for Humanity to help in the revitalization of the Big Easy. Once reservations are confirmed, the Care Concierge at Marriott and Renaissance Hotels will provide recommendations of local volunteer organizations for guests who want to help in the rebuilding of New Orleans. Recommendations will be sent via email and the “voluntourists” will be supplied with breakfast for two to “keep them fueled throughout the day.”
“The Big Easy Spirit To Serve” program is available at the New Orleans Marriott, JW Marriott New Orleans, Marriott New Orleans at the Convention Center, Renaissance Pere Marquette and the Renaissance Arts Hotel.
Call 866.530.3763 and ask for rate code XXAU or visit www.neworleans.marriott.com

Getting There
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport offers 132 daily departures to 37 cities on 10 airlines, including Air Tran, American, Continental, Delta Air Lines, jetBlue, Northwest, Southwest and United.
Call 504-464-3547; www.flymsy.com
For New Orleans Fams and Commissionable Packages Information, call 800-672-6124; www.neworleanscvb.com and click on the “Just for Travel Agents” section for listings of commissionable packages and group fams.

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