Visit NOLA midweek for fun and value

Visit NOLA midweek for fun and value

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New Orleans is back to letting the good times roll and not just on the weekends. Looking for deals, culture and a touch of gay on your next trip? Try NOLA on any night but a Friday or Saturday.

Mark C. Romig, president and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, told us you can have a great time any day in the city, but especially a Tuesday.

“Tuesday is Mardi Gras and we think any Tuesday is fun in New Orleans,” Roming said. “With 40-plus museums, there is nothing better than to get up early on a Monday and Tuesday to the sound of horses, the fog lifting and sitting on the riverfront to watch the river wake up.”

Look for a “Happy Tuesday” destination campaign next year.

So what to do? NOLA has museums (with bars!). The National World War II Museum in New Orleans takes visitors inside the story of the war: why it was fought, how it was won and what it means today. When you enter the museum, you are assigned your own personal dog tag where you can select your story and begin your own journey.

Opening earlier this month was the “Road to Tokyo: the Pacific Theater Galleries.” With funding by the Richard C. Aderkson and Freeport-McMoRan Foundations, “Road to Tokyo” retraces the grueling trail from Pearl Harbor to the dropping of two fission bombs in August 1945. After you journey through Japan, visitors take the journey to the equally powerful “Road to Berlin” before the dramatic end of the war.

A trip to NOLA needs a little gay, so arrive for Sunday afternoon tea dances that draw boozy visitors and locals to both Bourbon Pub and Parade or Oz. On Monday, take a gay heritage and cocktail tour of the French Quarter with New Orleans native Glenn DeVillier to must-visit stops Little Vic’s, the homes of Tennessee Williams, the Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel Bar and Napoleon House; www.glfdevilliers.com.

Architecturally interesting hotels are opening in converted historic buildings. The brand-new and chic Aloft New Orleans Downtown Hotel is perfect for guests looking for a hotel close to the action in the French Quarter but just far enough from the revelers. While Aloft excels for the minimalist, tech-savvy traveler, The Ritz-Carlton and Spa New Orleans is where luxury-seeking gay travelers will find their perfect retreat in the lobby bar or in the exceptional spa. The Ritz-Carlton has my vote for this year’s best spa experience for service and for creative therapies such as the Marie Laveau Voodoo Love Bath.

NOLA’s a legendary food city and reservations are easier to get midweek. There are 1,400 restaurants in the city, up from 800 before Katrina. Insider’s tip: For a great lunch at a great price, try iconic Antoine’s for authentic NOLA food or the new gay-owned restaurant Booty’s, inspired by owner Nick Vivion’s travels as a journalist, with an affordable menu that spans the globe. Try SoBou at the W Hotel for a Louisiana street-food-inspired menu or Chef Nina Compton of “Top Chef: New Orleans” Compère Lapin for a menu steeped in the Gulf and Louisiana’s indigenous ingredients.

New Orleans is an event city. You know the iconic events like Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence, and locals also recommend the 16th-annual Official Gay Easter Parade or one of NOLA’s nine gay Mardi Gras Balls. You can find a list of 2016 balls at www.neworleansonline.com/neworleans/lgbt/lgbt-mardi-gras.html

Jeff Guaracino is the author of “Gay and Lesbian Tourism: the Essential Guide for Marketing.”


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