New Orleans Musts

I’ve loved New Orleans since I first visited and ate a mile high ice cream pie (I was 10!) at the now-closed Ponchartrain Hotel’s Caribbean Room and saw the lavish Mardi Gras costumes at the museum. Every time I’ve visited since then, I’ve fallen more and more in love with the city. My list of must see and must do will always have additions with each trip, but here’s the start.

Best place to stay
The iconic and oft-photographed Royal Sonesta is right on Bourbon Street even being right on the street, the hotel is surprisingly quiet though a pair of ear plugs wouldn’t hurt.

Royal Sonesta

Provides an excellent view of any second lines.

Some of my most favorite places to eat are:

  • Acme Oyster House, known for fresh, hand-shucked Louisiana oysters. We love the gumbo, raw oysters and the waitress-recommended chargrilled oysters.
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  • Langlois Culinary Crossroads a next-generation New Orleans dining experience, offering hands-on Cajun and Creole cooking classes.
  • The popular historic Cafe DuMonde, while you’re there be sure to check out the French Market.
  • Cafe Beignet actually has the BEST beignets in the entire city if you ask me. img_0092
  • Jazz Brunch Buffet at the Court of Two Sisters Restaurant
  • Commander’s Palace, known as much for their white glove service of all patrons as for their food. The restaurant has their own cookbook and shares many of their signature dishes on their website. You must try the turtle soup.
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  • GW Fins, on Bienville Street a lavish, delightful, perfect dinner. The lobster dumplings are one of the top appetizers in New Orleans, so much that Chef Matt at Langlois highly recommended them. They are some of the best dumplings, but the crab pot stickers were even better. The French 75 was one of the best drinks we had the entire trip.
  • Also good are the crab cakes and alligator sausage at Oceana Grill.
  • The menu at Bayona is fantastic and the daily specials worth trying.

Places to see/visit/do:

Carpooling Rules

If you aren’t lucky enough to live in a city with mass transit, you can still save gas, the environment, not to mention your personal energy and time by carpooling with your coworkers. The key to keeping every one happy is to create some basic ground rules. While the specifics will vary from car to car and group to group, some basics to get you started can be found in this MSN Career Article.

Ride sharing can be a good opportunity to interact with coworkers from other departments that you wouldn’t normally have a chance to see regularly. If you use this time wisely, it may even help advance your career. As the MSN article suggests, if appropriate, this can be a good place to review speeches, get an other perspective on a proposal and test presentations and speeches.

The top 10 list from the article:
1. Be on time
Even early. Always. Call if you aren’t going to make it so your coworkers aren’t waiting around for you when you are home with the flu.

2. Avoid eating or drinking in the vehicle.
Even if the driver says it is ok, this is not the time to test your new spill proof thermos. You don’t want to be the person who spills clam chowder in your coworker’s brand new car.

3. Discuss and agree on pickup points as well as main and alternate routes beforehand.
Some cities have commuter parking lots. Others don’t. Have plans for bad weather and construction.

4. Let the driver choose the radio station or CD.
Even if you find pop music to be the most grating and awful sound in the world, don’t complain. Maybe there’s a book your entire office is reading, or your boss suggested. Perhaps a business related book might be just the sound everyone can agree on.

5. Refrain from using your cell phone; if you must take or make a call, be brief.
Be respectful. If you’re expecting an important call, give your coworkers a heads up. Same goes for texting. And for goodness sake don’t leave the ringer on or clicks, or beeps or anything that make noise.

6. If you’re feeling under the weather and could be contagious, stay home or ride alone that day.
See point number one. Make sure to alert your rideshare group if you’re not going in. Don’t be the person coughing and sneezing all over everyone. If you absolutely must go in, drive yourself.

7. Pay your share of expenses on time.
Establish this early on. Does everyone pay $15 every two weeks? Or does the driver switch on and off?

8. Keep your conversation appropriate, so as not to offend or cause other riders discomfort.
If you wouldn’t want your boss to hear you say it, or have the details of your conversation broadcast over the office intercom system, don’t talk about it during your commute. Silence is better that an off-color joke that could haunt you for years.

9. No back-seat driving!
Self explanatory. Unless the situation poses imminent danger, stay quiet.

10. And finally, respect your fellow riders’ privacy. Inevitably you may overhear a fellow carpooler vent about his boss or discuss a problem she may be having with her child. What goes on in the carpool stays in the carpool.
Again, see number eight.

More tips:

  • Shower often, wear deodorant and avoid strong cologne and perfume. Remember you are in a very small space and a scent that is subtle to you could easily overwhelm the person sitting next to you.
  • Climate control should also be discussed and agreed on early. Should everyone wear their coats in the car in the winter? Is your office temperature freezing in the summer causing everyone to dress in layers?
  • Review emergencies. What happens if the driver or a passenger needs to get home before everyone else because of an emergency or they got food poisoning at lunch?

The main point is to be flexible, open-minded and willing to follow the rules established by the group so every person arrives at the office safe, happy and with extra money in their pockets.

Do you car pool?