It’s January in the south and it should be warm. Consider that it was 75° on Christmas, just a few week ago. But of course that weather also gave us storms, flooding and tornadoes. The last few days have been cold and tonight’s low will be 24°. BRRRR! Although I love cold weather, sub freezing temperatures make it challenging for me to run outdoors. I’m a “mouth breather” and my lungs quickly get cold and I soon develop a persistent cough that sometimes turns wet. That’s not good and it makes me want to escape.
To New Orleans! It’s about a five hour drive, made fun and lively with a group of friends, or a 6.5 hour train ride. I’ve taken the train several times and it’s my preferred method of traveling there. I like to take that travel time and people watch, catch up on reading and get to know fellow travelers. I’ve met Japanese exchange students, a professional musician who worked for BB King, lots of sports fans and a wonderful retired couple visiting of their extended family. I bring my food and snacks (my stomach is special) but meals can be purchased from the Amtrak dining car. However you arrive, get ready to enjoy NOLA!
What should you do before you arrive? Check the weather! The average January temperature is 60° but NOLA has been known to get a snow flurry or two. These cooler temperatures help reduce the effect of humidity on a runner’s sweaty skin and on a tourist planning to spend all day outside. Pack a rain proof jacket, bring comfortable shoes, your sense of adventure and get ready to explore!
One of the benefits of taking the train to NOLA is NOT having a car since parking in the French Quarter is challenging and expensive. Your hotel will have parking but there will certainly be a BIG daily charge. And if you think you will park (a little) illegally, think again: parking fines range from $20.00-$200.00 and towing fees can cost $180.00 and up. There are some work-arounds (Parking Panda, Park-N-Ride) and there is free parking on major holidays (New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Mardi Gras Day (the day before Ash Wednesday), etc.) but the best method of transportation I’ve found is the trolley and my feet. I’ve driven to NOLA, parked at the hotel, paid the daily parking fee but used the trolley exclusively.
But now that you’ve arrived, drop off your bags and let’s explore!