Visiting New Orleans with an infant
March 13, 2013 12:25 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I will be visiting New Orleans at the end of this month with our almost 1-year old son. Having the baby with us has required two contingencies: we are renting a car, and our days will have to end by 6:30 or 7 pm-ish (although they do start at 6:30-7am). We will also need to find a quiet place for him to nap during the day, or else sit in the car/return to our lodging for an hour or so. I am hoping he'll nap in the stroller as we wander the city, but can't take this for granted. Given this, and the fact that we only have two days (Friday-22 and Monday-25, the weekend is taken up by the wedding we are travelling for) how best to organize our time? Any advice on travelling with an infant?

I have read previous travel New Orleans threads and have a decent idea of some of the things I want to do/see. On the 22nd we'll be staying in Gretna, so I was thinking we could drive to the ferry, take the ferry over, and spend the day in the French Quarter. On the 25th we'll be Mid-city near Canal st., so we'll do City Park, Garden district, Magazine st, ???. Is that reasonable? With an infant?

We want to see the sights/eat the food. We aren't going to bother with museums and art galleries, as I doubt the child will have the patience. We are happy taking public transportation but will have a car and are happy to drive it around as well, depending on how easy driving/parking is. We will have a babysitter for one night, and want to make the most of it (a nice meal, some music).

Mostly I'm really stressed about the whole travelling with a baby thing. I would rather do fewer things and be relaxed and comfortable than cram in everything but do it with a screaming and unhappy child. Is NOLA easy to get around? Is it reasonable to think of returning to the hotel/BnB partway through the day for a nap? Should we ditch the car and take public transit everywhere? How did you deal with naps when you travelled with your infant? Where should we go to eat OYSTERS?

Bonus question: We're in Hammond for a day and night, anything we NEED to see/eat there?
posted by arcticwoman to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: New Orleans is easy to get around, so I'd plan on using your car. The only place that will pose any problems parking is the French Quarter and there are plenty of pay lots (less than $10 for the day) around the edge of the Quarter.

I don't think it would be unreasonable to plan to return to the hotel for nap time as long as it's in the middle of the day. Getting across the Mississippi River during rush hour would make that unreasonable.

Casamento's is probably a better bet for oysters than Acme, but it's not open on Mondays (and it's on Magazine Street).
posted by ajr at 1:04 PM on March 13, 2013

The DOTD website is showing the Gretna ferry out of service until further notice, but you can still drive to the Algiers terminal and cross to the Quarter from there. That probably would be easier than parking, but it would not allow you to conveniently go back to Gretna to nap.

If you're relying on public transportation, I think trying to do Mid-City/City Park plus the Garden District/Magazine St. in the same day with an infant is ambitious. I would probably take the Canal streetcar to the Magazine Street bus or the St. Charles streetcar in the morning and plan on taking the whole day to do whatever you want to do. Oysters at Casamento's is the best bet on Magazine Street.

You can drive anywhere fairly easily, but free parking in the French Quarter can be difficult. Uptown and Mid-City are no problem parking wise. I would lean toward driving because navigating the bus/streetcar with the baby sounds like a pain to me. But the lines you'd be using are the most reliable and frequent, and I certainly think it would be doable.
posted by CheeseLouise at 1:06 PM on March 13, 2013

Best answer: First of all, let me suggest - relax. Don't stress about having an infant with you. As someone who regularly lugged infants all over New Orleans, I can assure you that this will be far less burdensome than you might be imagining. If baby needs to fuss, don't let it stress you. If baby needs to nap, let him/her snooze in the stroller or on your shoulder if you can't get back to a bed / hotel room.

Your plans sound totally reasonable and doable. On the 22nd: sure, you can take the ferry - but frankly I'd probably just drive over the bridge. Go stroll around the Riverwalk. Go get a half muffaletta from Central Grocery on Decatur St., eat it outside and watch the people go by. Stroll the French Quarter. Don't cheat yourself out of walking in and out of places just because you have an infant with you.

On the 25th: sure, do City Park in the morning. Take a long ride on the streetcar - its a pleasant ride and may just lull baby to sleep (it often did mine). Go uptown if you like - park near the Lafayette Cemetery and stroll the Garden District between Jackson and Washington Avenues. Get baby a treat at the coffee shop on the corner of Washington and Prytania.

If you need to go back to the hotel room / BnB to decompress or whatever during the day, that's feasible too. I would tend to recommend not trying to drive *into* the city over the Crescent City Connection between 7-8:30am, or *out* of the city across the same bridge between 4-6pm. Traffic can be snarly during those commute times.

Happy to answer any further questions (my wife and I had three small children during the years we were living in New Orleans). Memail me if you like.
posted by chicxulub at 1:57 PM on March 13, 2013

I don't know much about infants, but I can tell you that there's pretty much nothing in Hammond.
posted by radioamy at 2:52 PM on March 13, 2013

Response by poster: Our trip was amazing. We cancelled the AirBnb and rented a place in Treme for a night and another Mid City for a couple nights. Getting around was easy peasy, baby napped in the car or stroller (which he usually never does!) and everything was wonderful.

Casamentos was easily the highlight of the whole trip. Thank you for that.
posted by arcticwoman at 6:55 PM on May 11, 2013

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