On February 28, 2016 I ran the New Orleans Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon. I flew in on Friday and left on Sunday night. There is so much to tell you about this race, location and great general information. Let’s just get this party started!
I lucked out and found that Frontier Airlines had a killer deal on flights last minute. I was able to fly my boyfriend and I both out to New Orleans for $240/RT. Obviously with Frontier they will charge you for everything! $35 for carry on or $30 to check BUT if you are a light packer you can just take on a personal item. Drinks and snacks will cost money as well.
No depending on where you are staying and what you plan on doing will determine best mode of transportation. We were staying 10 min from downtown and rented a car. The cost of the car was $60 for 3 days which wasn’t bad and let up explore. If you choose to take a cab, I HIGHLY suggest you have multiple people in your party because it is a flat rate of $36 each way to/from airport to downtown.
If you choose to rent a car there is various parking all around. The meters allow you to park for up to 2 hours either using a credit card or mobile app and must be paid between 6am-7pm. Outside those hours the parking is free. Just make sure to leave your receipt if using the machine in the window where it is visible. On Sundays, the street parking is free which was convenient for the race. The other thing that I highly recommend is if you choose to get a rental car to get the insurance as well since there are a lot of things that could happen and better to be safe than sorry.
We chose to stay at a cheap hotel while in New Orleans and chose the Econo Lodge. This hotel was great and there was a ton around too. You have a Walmart, Walgreens, Fast Food and only 10 min from French Quarter. The rooms were basic similar to a motel6 but you did have a microwave, free internet and fridge to use in the room. They also provided a continental breakfast in the lobby.
One key thing to do if you can before you leave is to print your race confirmation sheet so that you don’t have to worry about filling one out at the expo which I feel takes the most time. This particular expo felt more cramped and small compared to the Phoenix one. As always you have the same vendors as well as few new ones but nothing to really brag about.
Surprisingly enough, even though the first 6-7 miles was an out and back route it was fairly easy. The start of the race is a cluster F*** there were 26 corrals I believe maybe more but weren’t separated too well and people would just cram in as they feel. Once the race started you are running an out and back route BUT have gorgeous houses to look at as well as Jazz Bands, neighbors cheering you on and tons of people. The biggest thing you have to watch for are the roads which have potholes. Multiple people got injured from this and taken to the hospital for stitches or worse. The weather was perfect! Started off cool but when the sun came out it was GORGEOUS! After doing the out and back portion the remaining felt like a breeze and was a lot of fun! You end in the city park which was huge but awesome! Overall this was a great course to run but I personally would fly in day before and leave after the race.
After the race is over, there are busses provided that will take you back close to the start line but you will have to walk to the start line or your car so make sure you “pin” your location to make it easier.
ALL ABOUT THE BLING
With having a rental car, you are able to see a lot more that New Orleans has to offer besides French Quarter or Bourbon Street. We went to the Lower 9 Ward to see where Katrina hit. You are able to see the houses that Habitat for Humanity built along with how isolated it is now. The other cool part about seeing this the levee that broke and how its rebuilt now. Still an unreal site to see what happened here. Now to better understand the impact most of the homes in L9W were valued at $50k, so when Katrina happened that is all insurance gave them which made it unreal for people to rebuild their homes there. To get a better picture of how bad it was we drove to Lakeview which was another area hit but homes there are valued at least double what L9W was. Either way it was still a great history lesson up close.
WW2 Museum: This place is a history buff heaven. There is a ton of information and artifacts that people have donated to this museum. The cost for just museum is $24.50 but for Military or Students the price is $14.50. They have a few other attractions as well you can do but cost more money. (you run by this on the race).
Since we had a car we were able to try some awesome food outside of the city. The BEST place we ate at was a place called THE JOINT. This is some of the best BBQ that is so tender and melts in your mouth! Be prepared to wait in line as this place never has a break.
After the race there is no better place to celebrate or even celebrate along the race than stopping by Cafe Du Monde. This place one takes cash so be prepared. These powder sugar covered beignet are AMAZING!
For some real food we went to American Sports Saloon. This place has indoor and outdoor seating along with a balcony to eat out on with fire pits. Full bar with great drinks and the food is outstanding. Very simple but comfort food. Their Mac’n’Cheese is to DIE for! Absolutely loved it.