New Orleans Weekend Trip

Introduction: Jazz, Maudi Gras, Hurricane a very unique about this southern part of the U.S. I always wanted to use Amtrak, as well as Airbib to save money on hotels

5/15 Going to New Orleans

From: To: Departing Arriving Method:
Home Houston Amtrak Station 10:30am 11:30am Taxi
Houston Amtrak Station New Orleans Union Station 12:10pm (-> 1:40pm) 9:40pm Amtrak (Sunset Limited)
New Orleans Union Station Airbnb Location Taxi

Take a taxi to Amtrak Station

I stayed at work until 4:30am then drove home. I went to bed after rechecking the packed items. I woke up at 9:00am, getting up this early was not that bad despite of lack of sleep time. I stretched my body, took shower, did the final check on the packed items before leaving my apartment at 10:00am then walk to the entrance of the aparment under the cloudy sky with a lot of humidity in the air. I check on the smarphone App, to see where my taxi is as I walk, and waited until the cab arrived. The taxi came right on time so I left the apartment at 10:30am sharp. A smooth ride to Amtrak station was good except the taxi driver kept showing me his photos on his smartphone. I arrived there at 11:15am, walking inside for the check in. The building was not great as I hoped, like the Grandcentral in New York City. At least they has the AC running so I cannot complain. About 10 people already there and there are exhibits on the walls to show the history of the railway in Texas.

I can see my cab is coming

Houston's Amtrak Station

The train was suppose to arrive at Houston at 12:10pm and about 40 people in the waiting area by then. We had an announcement that the train is late, the departure was pushed back to 12:30pm then 1:00pm then again at 1:30pm. One of the reason behind is that the Amtrak "borrows" rail from other freight railways like Union Pacific, so passangers train is at lower priority. The train finally arrived at Houston Amtrak station at 1:00pm, just as thunderstorm started.
It took a while for passengers to disembark and unload their baggages from the train. The boarding began around 1:20pm. The process was not complex but different from in Japan. At the check in by the door, I get a car assigned. When I walk to the car, I get a seat assigned. I walked up the cabin, then found there is already people sitting, so I had to walk back out and talk to the staff. I liked the Japanese way of selling reserve tickets. Anyway, I now have a seat and I am good to go. (Done)

Amtrak to New Orleans: Sunset Limited

Sunset Limited at Houston Passenger Car Diner Car Lounge Car

The train left Houston station at 1:40pm under a hard rain, slowly moving and passing by the downtown. It initially moved forward then backward a bit to change the track before moving forward again. The train changed direction from eastward to north bound, then turning east again after passing I-610. Now the train is running outside the urban area and I see lots of green. I walked to a dining car and picked up a late lunch; fried chicken while sharing a table with a couple going to NOLA, and an Amtrak employee. The couple decided to take their Friday off since they find a good deal on a hotel, and I learned that this train can only go up to 79mph on the track because of the other freightt trains, from the Amtrak guy. We just had an serious train wreck a few days ago at northeast so this is a type of topic naturally comes up. He was heading to northeast to help a team there. He also told us that when Acelas trains cross each other at 180? mph and they can cause 15 deg tilt! After the lunch, I walked back to my seat.

Departing Houston


The train arrived at Beaumont at 3:50pm and departed at 4:00pm. The train was slowly gaining speed and moving in another swampy place. Passing Orange around 4:30pm, I need to check the depot out later. Passing Sulpher at 5:00pm. I talked with the train staff and got my dinner reserved at 5:30pm, The train kept going toward east, and arrived at Lake Charles 5:15pm which was originally at 3:29pm. Now we are in ? After two minutes stop, off we go. I went to eat dinner, the outside was getting darker but still some light, and I can see the fields and houses along the track. Arriving at Lafayette at 5:15 at 6:30pm as the rain came back.
Making a stop as New Iberia at 7:08pm for a few minutes stop. 5:41

Morgan city at 8:00pm

Arrived at Schriever at 8:27pm, originally scheduled at 7:03pm so we are made a stop leaving at 8:30pm under dark sky with lightning. Stopped at Waggaman at 9:20pm, waiting. Began moving at 9:30pm. The train stopped again at the middle of the yard at 9:40pm and began moving again at 9:45pm. Crossing MS river at 9:55pm via a bridge, I can see cars speeding on a bridge at Clearview Parkway. Approaching to New Orleans. The rain pouring down as the train moving by I-10. Entered a circle then going backward after stop at 10:15pm toward the station terminal at the lit up Superdome right by. Made one safety stop, then arrived at New Orleans at 10:10pm, about 30 minutes later than originally scheduled.



Getting close to New Orleans

Sunset Limited arrived at New Orleans

Old looking train

Check in at airbnb

Get my bag and walked out from the train. I passed the lobby area to ground transportation. I had to share a taxi with a couple to get out of there quick. I paid $13 for a ride. Met with the host, then we went out a drink. I come back around midnight, took shower, went to bed. Tomorrow will be a fun day.

5/16 New Orleans Sightseeing


Woke up at 6:00am, stretched my body then took a quick shower. Stepped out and began walking toward the French Quarter. I walked along the ? street, and it was a quiet and sunny, I found the uniqueness of the city in no time. Some buildings were from 1800s. I walked on Frenchmen St, Royal St then on Bourbon street. Some bars are already open so I can actually get drunk from the morning but this is not my kind of choice. Stopped by at Cathedral and peeked inside, walked by Jackson Plaza then Had breakfast at Cafe Du Monde. They only take cash. I paid $8 for Cafe L ate and Donut like things.
Superdome Began heading northwest toward Our Lady of Guadalupe at 8:00am. The area I have seen a lot of homeless people, and not sure if it was safe. Walked by at Holiday Inn to take a picture of Clarinet on the wall at 8:15am. It was said that New Orleans is the birthplace of the musical instrument. Walked to the famous Superdome at 8:25am where I think graduation to be held.

Superdome 8:25am

New Orleans Amtrak Union station 8:35am

Cafe Du Monde

Crarinet and Guadalupe

St. Louis

Gallier House

St. Patricks

Old U.S. Mint: 400 Esplanade Ave. New Orleans, LA 70116 (10a-4p)
St. Louis Cathedral: 615 Pere Antoine Alley New Orleans, LA 70116 (Oldest Church)

Ferry to Algiers Point?
The Royal Sonesta Hotel: 300 Bourbon St. New Orleans, LA 70130
Jackson Square: 751 Decatur St. New Orleans, LA 70181
Our Lady of Guadalupe: 411 N Rampart St. New Orleans, LA 70112
Clarinet: 330 Loyola Ave. New Orleans, LA 70112
Mercedes-Benz Superdome: 1500 Sugar Bowl Dr. New Orleans, LA 70112
St Patrick's Church: 724 Camp St. New Orleans, LA 70130 - Oldest church (1840?)
Gallier House: 1132 Royal St. New Orleans, LA 70116

St Charles Street buildings

Street Car on St. Charles Line

Walked down the street, grabbed a couple of bottled water because it was getting hot already, checked out St. Patrick's at 8:50am st pat church? the oldest in the U.S.?
St. Charles St. Walked a few blocks and get on a street car for St Charles Line. I paid $3.00 for one day pass, I visited locationss
 then getting on inbound train, Snapping a picture of  then get off from the train after reaching Canal St.

Waiting for the next train...

Andrew Jackson, St. Lous


I walked back to the French Quarter. It was still around 11:00am, too early for lunch so I stopped by at the Hard Rock Cafe and bought some pins.

(Hard Rock Café: 125 Bourbon St. New Orleans, LA 70130)

At 11:30am, I walked in to the store. Antoine's Restaurant(1840) - 713 St Louis St. New Orleans, LA 70130 The restaurant was established in 1840 and it is oldest in family owned. The inside was white walled, had mirrors on both sides. I spent about one hour, starting with a cocktail, salad, roasted chicken and then pecan pudding carme for desert. After meal, I get to take a look at various rooms. Rex room, the last room, mystery room and so on. The room I ate had some mirrors.

In the afternoon, Crossing the river
Walked on Decatur street to former New Orleans mint. It was getting hot and I can easily sweat by walking under the sun, to check out coins with "O" stamps. In the upstairs, they had pictures of New Orleans jazz players like Louis Armstrong, and Fats Domino.


Getting out from the building, then walked up to French Market station of street car, the driver was taking a break and chat with two other persons from Wisconsin and Chicago. Took a train to canal st station then walked up to the gate for the ferry. I paid $2 and get on board a ship. Saw a girl I saw at one of the train stops in the morning. Must be an another tourist. The ferry went to the other side of the river in 10 minutes, I had a 5 minutes to go take a picture before the ferry head back to the New Orleans side. Another $2 to get onboard, back at 2:25pm.

Street car at French Market

New Canal Lighthouse 8001 Lakeshore Dr. New Orleans, LA 70124

Dinner, Evening with Jazz?

Dinner and dessert

4:11-4:30 return from cemetery to Burbon St. I stopped by
Walked around, decided to eat at Pierrer ? Between 5:50-6:30pm
I had a combo meal of gumbo, jambalaya and ? And I had creole queen and pecan pudding again this time it was too much.
Come back to the house I stay then relaxed. Took shower before heading back out again around 8:00pm

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar(1720): 941 Bourbon St New Orleans, LA 70116 (Piano)

BMC, legend plaza, then chat with my dad, before spending at Spotty Cat. The place charges money tends of have better music.
I walked on the Bourbon St. And I can hear groups play at different bars.
On bourbon st. Of course there are places I can watch women and as the night progress, they
Going bed at 0:30am

5/17 Coming back to Houston

From To Depart Arrive Method
New Orleans Houston 9:00am 3:25pm Megabus
Houston Apartment 4:40pm 5:30pm Metro Bus

In the morning

Woke up at 6:00am, stretched a bit and took shower. I invited my host to have a breakfast with me since he told me of a place nearby opens at 7:00am. I had shrimp omullet, and coffee in Chicory style; a typical NOLA way. After coming back, I picked up my bag and shook hand with him, then began walking toward the bus stop. I saw some people there already but first wanted to buy lunch. The dissapointment hit because the place nearly should have been opened 24 hours had Sunday hours set from 2:00pm. So I walked around and found a cafe to make BLT to go for me. I walked back to the bus stop again.

My breakfast

Getting a to go meal

Megabus to Houston: 9:00am-3:25pm

I arrived at the stop at 8:45am and this time the bus is already here. Checked with people in line to confirm it is going to Houston. Getting on the bus and took seat. It was not that bad just don't have a lot of room for my bag.

Megabus at New Orleans

The bus departed at 9:00am, moving north little bit. to get on I-610 in ten minutes. The bus movd along the Lake Pontchartrain and kept going. It arrived at Baton Rouge at 10:20am to pick up a few more passengers. We left at 10:35am, crossing the river. There was a construction congestion and stuck for a while around 10:50am for 20 minutes. Passing Lafayette at 11:50am, then the bus made a stop at Egan, LA at 12:15pm so people can get food and take restroom break.

Making a stop at Egan, LA

Police on I-10 2:45pm, Getting off the bus at Houston after the rain 4:00pm

The bus departed at 12:40pm after neighbor check. People get quiet after this, and the ride was going smooth. Crossing into Texas at 1:55pm and the rain started. By the time passing Beaumont at 2:15pm, the sky was back in cloudy but I know there is a storm system in front. Rain came around 3:00p south of Mont Belvieu but when entering Houston city limit, the rain was over. The bus took I-610, passing by port of Houston and moved up I-45 north before getting off at downtown. The bus arrived at the parking at 3:50pm, getting off and walked to a nearby bus stop to wait for the one for line 053.

Metro to home (Line 053)

Catching a bus

This is my first time using the Metrobus and just made my Q card a few days ago. I thought it was coming at 4:14pm but did not come until 4:30pm. The bus passed by Gallaria, and kept going west. Finally getting off near my apartment at 5:30pm. It was a long ride but I only paid $1.25 for that. Took things easy for the evening, I was hoping that I can go workout but my legs were so sore from sitting in uncomfortable position for such a long time so I gave up. Went to bed by midnight. (Done)

In the morning, Breakfast
Lunch North shore. I walked to Canal St. street car station. They had three lines from here and
-3:20 train to cemetery
3:30-3:42 bus
Check out the light house

Pecan pie bread pudding

Breakfast (Cafe Du Monde: 800 Decatur St New Orleans, LA 70116 24h)



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