There she was at long last — New Orleans!
We reached our primary objective at the end of Day Two, thankfully before sundown. All the post-Katrina tourism resources we consulted in our vacation research (books, travel sites, AAA brochures, message boards with supporting posts from wary New Orleans residents) seemed unanimous on one important message: anyone caught outside in New Orleans at night will be swiftly, repeatedly murdered. Perhaps that’s not the reality, but we weren’t prepared to call Fodor’s bluff during our first hours in town. No matter how long we spent in Alabama or at stops along the way, we wanted to be in New Orleans and checked in at our hotel while the sun was still on our side.
We met our objective, and all it took was a long, nearly featureless drive through an unrelated state, braving the cramped hallways that pass for roads in the French Quarter, and cutting a major stop from our itinerary.