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Let the Good Times Roll: Adventures in New Orleans and on the Lower Mississippi

Program Number: 21291RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/15/2014 - 4/22/2014;
Duration: 7 nights
Location: Louisiana
Price starting at: $2,588.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats
Meals: 18; 6 Breakfasts, 1 Brunch, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

The rich history of Louisiana comes alive as historians, music and cuisine take you deep into the heart of New Orleans culture. First, during four nights in the Crescent City you will get an invigorating dose of New Orleans jazz while lessons learned in a Creole cooking school introduce you to Andouille sausage, okra, rice and other distinctive flavors of the city. Then step aboard the American Queen for a three-night Mississippi River adventure. Walk the grounds of a stately riverside plantation, see the State Capitol at Baton Rouge and more.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to one-half mile on field trips, flat terrain, ramps available at most locations. Hotel offers limited handicapped-accessible rooms, elevator; no ground-floor rooms. Steps to access busses and vans.

Itinerary At-a-Glance

New Orleans, 4 nights; aboard American Queen, 3 nights.

Days 1-4: Arrival New Orleans:

Your New Orleans experience begins with an evening of music performed by a New Orleans jazz ensemble. Motor around the city to survey the French Quarter, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and spectacular City Park, accompanied by a native New Orleanian who knows the city inside and out. Visit Lake Pontchartrain and Bayou St. John and explore the Garden District. Prepare for your voyage up the Mississippi with a lecture on paddle wheelers and other iconic river craft, and examine the city’s artistic side at the Sydney Bestoff Sculpture Gardens and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Learn about Mardi Gras from a costumed Mardi Gras “Indian” and learn the tricks and techniques of Creole cooking at a culinary arts school, with recipes provided. Lodging: Comfortable, full-service hotel downtown.

Day 5: Final day in New Orleans / embark American Queen:

Final day in New Orleans / embark American Queen: Enjoy a sumptuous brunch buffet of New Orleans delights at the renowned Court of Two Sisters while being serenaded with New Orleans jazz. At the Manchac Swamp, board a covered boat that drifts through the waterways while you learn from an expert about Louisiana wetlands ecology, the inhabitants of the swamp, the American Alligator and the unique history of the Cajun town of Frenier. Board the American Queen, where you are welcomed with evening entertainment.

Day 6: Oak Alley Plantation:

Explore the grounds of the antebellum Mississippi River mansion Oak Alley Plantation, built in 1837 by George Swainey. Leading up to the house is an alley of 300-year-old oak trees running between the house and the Mississippi River. Hear a lecture detailing the importance of the Mississippi River in the formation of our young nation.

Days 7-8: Baton Rouge / disembark New Orleans / departure:

Baton Rouge / disembark New Orleans / departure: Baton Rouge offers numerous opportunities for adventure and education for you to explore, including the Old State Capitol building, the U.S.S. Kidd, the L.S.U. Rural Life Museum and the Louisiana State Museum. Choose the activities that suit your interests. Enjoy a farewell dinner onboard the American Queen before disembarking in New Orleans.

American Queen

The American Queen is the world’s largest river steamboat, a modern vessel with hardwood details, grand furnishings, comfortable amenities and luxurious staterooms. Public areas include the Mark Twain Gallery library, the Grand Saloon and a lounge. Wine and beer are complimentary with dinner.

Meals and Lodgings
   Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
  New Orleans, LA 4 nights
   American Queen
  New Orleans, LA
Oak Alley
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
3 nights
 Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The first sounds of jazz were heard in the dance halls on the very blocks surrounding the hotel. Magnificent jazz murals commemorating this historic neighborhood including a 150-foot clarinet mural...New Orleans newest landmark! The hotel, in the heart of downtown, is 6 blocks from the French Quarter. True Southern hospitality will make you feel right at home while still close to all the action. Multi-lingual staff.
  Contact info: 330 Loyola Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70112 USA
phone: 504-581-1600
  Room amenities: Bathtub/Shower Hairdryer Iron/Ironing Board Coffee and Tea Maker Hairdryer Refrigerator Microwave oven Cable / Satellite TV In Room Movies - Pay Per View In Room Movies - Premium Cable Stereo Work Desk w/ Lamp Phone / Fax Speaker Phone Free Local Phone Calls
  Facility amenities: Outdoor Pool Health/Fitness Center On-Site ATM/Cash Machine Business Center (staffed between 8am-5pm) Concierge Services Dry Cleaning Pickup On-site Guest Self Laundry Facilities Ice Machine Newsstand Porter/Bellman Room Service Safes in each room
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $129 + tax/some dates higher Price of rooms for additional nights dependent on time of year and availability. Price is not guaranteed and is subject to change by the hotel. Call 1-800-535-7830 and reference Road Scholar in New Orleans at 330 Loyola Avenue. Be sure to get confirmation # and name of person with whom you spoke. If you encounter problems making reservations, call Trudy Guidroz at 504-267-5833. We suggest you make your reservations, immediately as availability and above rate is not guaranteed.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 American Queen
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The American Queen Featuring six decks and measuring 418 feet in length, the American Queen is the world’s largest river steamboat. Modern amenities meet classic river ambiance aboard the American Queen. The 222 staterooms and suites are filled with modern appointments and carefully selected furnishings. Finely crafted hardwood fixtures, grand furnishings and gleaming brass detail the ship’s interior. The gazebo-style pilothouse and towering “feathered” stacks are both designed to be lowered to allow passage under bridges. Each stateroom has private facilities and ample storage. Cabins differ in size, amenity and cost. Limited singles are available.
  Ship Information: See above description
  Contact info: Docked at River
New Orleans,, LA 70130 USA
phone: 206-292-9606
  Room amenities: Varies with category purchased
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: $129 plus tax -varies by dates See Pre/Post information

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Upon arrival take a taxi to hotel-you will be reimbursed when program begins. Hotel check in on April 15 is 3:30pm. Registration and orientation is at 3:45pm. Dinner to follow. You will be staying at Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown that night.
  End of Program:
Disembarkation approximately 9:00 am. Return to the Airport or hotel by 10:30 am You will be staying at American Queen the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
425 Parking Spaces. Regular Daily Parking Fee: $15.00 plus tax - special negotiated daily rate for Road Scholar $8 plus tax. Covered, indoor garage attached to hotel. Garage is a self-park and lock facility. Bus and RV parking also available for a fee.
To Start of Program
  Location:  New Orleans, LA
  Nearest highway: Interstate 10
  Nearest airport:  New Orleans, Louis Armstrong
  From End of Program
  Location: New Orleans, LA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Union Passenger Terminal New Orleans


From Train Station




multiple taxis


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


5-10 minutes 




1 mile


Louis Armstrong Airport (Moisant Field-MSY)


From Airport




multiple taxis


Per Person/One Way:


$33 for one or two passengers-$14 for passenger for 3 or more
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 




15 Miles



Louis Armstrong Airport (Moisant Field-MSY)


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
New Orleans Airport Shuttle
phone: 866-596-2699 xTollFree


Per Person/One Way:


$38 round trip per person $20 one way per person
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 




15 miles



Driving Directions
  Holiday Inn From East 1. Merge onto I-10 west. 2. Follow I-10 west and exit at Canal Street. 3. Turn right on Cleveland Street. 4. Go 7 blocks to the end of Cleveland Street. 5. Turn right on Elk Place. Holiday Inn is located 2 blocks on the left.
  Holiday Inn From West 1. Follow I-10 East 2. Merge onto U S90-W toward the Superdome(it will be on your left-looks like a space ship) 3. Take the Loyola Avenue exit-it will be on your right 4. Veer left as you exit-this will be Earhart Blvd. 5. From Earhart veer to the left onto Loyola Ave- go 3 blocks- you will be at Loyola and Poydras. 6. Cross Poydras and continue straight for 2 more blocks on Loyola-look for the giant clarinet on the side of the building-that will be the Holiday Inn. Turn right into the parking lot.
Elevation Note: Totally flat terrain

Equipment Requirements: No equipment
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival, Intros, Dinner and Jazz musicians play after dinner
(Tuesday, April 15)
 Afternoon: Arrivals. Registration and Orientation at 3:45 p.m. at the hotel. Start off your New Orleans experience with an informative overview of the week to come, and a chance to meet our staff and your fellow Participants.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
 Evening: A New Orleans Jazz Ensemble will play for our group.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Interpretive field trip into city and evening lecture
(Wednesday, April 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet.
 Morning: Our field trip will begin on the motor coach, viewing the French Quarter, the results of Hurricane Katrina in the Ninth Ward and the Make It Right Houses being built there. A stop at an above ground cemetery and spectacular City Park with it's Magnificent Oaks. Your instructor is a native New Orleanian and knows its past and present inside and out. On-site
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continuation of the Interpretive field trip to Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou St. John, On-site Architecture excursion with instructor in the Garden District to get an up close and personal view of the architectural styles and embellishments New Orleans is famous for as you walk through this exclusive section of our city. See homes of famous people from New Orleans.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Evening: Lecture: Paddle wheelers, Packets and Floating Palaces. This lecture will prepare you for your trip up the Mighty Mississippi River.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Sydney Bestoff Sculpture Gardens, New Orleans Museum of Art, Lunch at Golden Feather Museum and Restaurant, Lecture on Mardi Gras Indians Dinner on your own so you may enjoy one of our great restaurants in the French Quarter
(Thursday, April 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet.
 Morning: This morning view the spectacular Sculpture Garden in our beautiful City Park. Enjoy the New Orleans Museum of Art. Have the unique experience of learning about the Mardi Gras Indians from an "Indian"(see his incredible costumes)--a cultural pehenomenon in New Orleans. You will hear about the connections to the Black Culture in New Orleans and to the famous early faubourg of New Orleans called Treme.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Use vouchers for Louisiana State Museums or visit on your own the Museum of Southern Art, Free Ferry or Natchez Steamboat or enjoy free time to do more exploring on your own. So many possibilities!
 Dinner: Dinner is on your own tonight so that you might enjoy a restaurant of your own choosing. If you have a special restaurant in mind you might want to make advance reservations.
 Evening: You may wish to return to hotel after dinner or stay in French Quarter to explore some of the jazz clubs (voucher provided for Preservation Hall and Fritzels to use on your own at your leisure) or just stroll Bourbon Street.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Lecture Louisiana Politics and Mardi Gras, lunch at the hotel Visit to the World War II Museum and dinner at the New Orleans School of Cooking with Demonstration, recipes and dinner.
(Friday, April 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet.
 Morning: Lecture: "Mardi Gras," and "Huey P. Long." Hear about the real Mardi Gras from a native. All of the myths and misconceptions that you have read and heard about will be dispelled after this lecture. The second half of the class is dedicated to Louisiana politics, with a focus on colorful former governor, Huey P. Long - the "Kingfish." You will be amazed at the antics, politics, and incidents that were orchestrated by this powerful, charismatic figure who was revered by his constituents, despised by his political enemies and even his family.  
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel -Holiday Inn Streetcar Buffet.
 Afternoon: A visit to the World War II Museum formerly known as the National D-Day Museum focuses on the contribution made by the United States to victory by the Allies in World Was II and the Battle of Normandy. New Orleans is the home of the Higgins Boat "Andrew Higgins is the man who won the war for us." -President Dwight D. Eisenhower
 Dinner: Learn the tricks and techniques of Creole cooking at a popular culinary arts school. Recipes will be supplied so that you can bring some New Orleans cuisine "home" with you. Enjoy the great dinner you watch being created for you.  
 Evening: Early evening, pack and get ready for morning check out of the hotel
Accommodations: Holiday Inn New Orleans Downtown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Brunch at the Court of Two Sisters, Swamp tour. Board the American Queen Dinner on Board early seating
(Saturday, April 19)
 Morning: Brunch at the Court of Two Sisters in the French Quarter.
 Brunch: Enjoy brunch at 9 a.m. at the renowned Court of Two Sisters. Be entertained by New Orleans jazz over a sumptuous buffet of New Orleans delights. Enjoy your dining experience with new friends and, perhaps, a vastly changed picture of New Orleans.
 Lunch: Brunch until 10:30
 Afternoon: We have is 40 minute ride to the Manchac Swamp where you will have a unique experience on a covered boat. As your boat drifts through the waterways, you learn about Louisiana wetlands, the inhabitants of the swamp, the American Alligator and the unique history of the Cajun town of Frenier.
 Dinner: Board the American Queen after 3:30pm. Dinner at 5:15 pm
 Evening: Entertainment on the American Queen
Accommodations: American Queen
Meals Included: Brunch, Dinner

Day 6: Oak Alley Plantation and lecture on the Mississippi River During French Domination
(Sunday, April 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast aboard the American Queen
 Morning: Tour the grounds and Oak Alley Plantation, Antebellum Mississippi River Mansion.Originally named Bon Secour, was built in 1837 by George Swainey. Leading up to the house is an alley Of 300 year old oak trees. This alley runs between the house and the Mississippi River.
 Lunch: On the American Queen
 Afternoon: Lecture: Mississippi River During French Domination
 Dinner: Dinner with your fellow travelers.
Accommodations: American Queen
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Baton Rouge State Capital of Louisiana, visit the Rural Life Museum
(Monday, April 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast on the American Queen Main dining room or the Front Porch.
 Morning: Lecture: Huey Long: Messiah to the Rednecks
 Lunch: On Board the American Queen
 Afternoon: L.S.U. Rural Life Museum is located on the 450 acre Burden Center.The museum is home to an extensive collection of tools, farming implements to preserve an important part of the state's and nation's rural heritage. The museum includes many buildings and the main museum. The Louisiana State Museum features state of the art exhibits exploring Louisiana's fascinating culture and history.
 Dinner: On board the American Queen. Entertainment after dinner.
Accommodations: American Queen
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Breakfast on American Queen Depart New Orleans
(Tuesday, April 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast before we leave the American Queen at approximately 9am.Transportation to hotel or airport by 10:30am
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
Aquarium of the Americas
Audubon Zoo
Cafe du Monde
Free Ferry
Flea Market
French Market
Glassworks School
IMAX Theater
Mardi Gras World
Natchez Steamboat
St. Charles Streetcar
Beauregard-Keyes House
Faulkner House
Gallier House
Ursuline Convent
Louisiana State Museum
Confederate Museum
New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden
Musee Conti (Wax Museum)
St. Louis Cathedral
Voodoo Museum
World War II MUseum
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
House of Blues
Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville
Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
Maison Bourbon
Market Café
Mid City Lanes Rock n Bowl
Mulate's Cajun Dancing
Palm Court Jazz Café
Pat O' Briens'
Patout's Cajun Corner
Preservation Hall
Snug Harbor
Spotted Cat
Contemporary Arts Center
Le Petit Theatre
Mahalia Jackson Performing Arts Center
USS Kidd
Magnolia Mound
Baton Rouge Zoo
Louisiana State Capital
Old Governors' Mansion Bluebonnet Swamp and Nature Center
West Baton Rouge Museum
Louisiana Art and Science Museum
Old Arsenal Museum
Shaw Center for the Arts
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Streetcar Named Desire

Author: Tennessee Williams

Description: Widely considered a landmark play, A Streetcar Named Desire deals with a culture clash between two characters, Blanche DuBois, a relic of the Old South, and Stanley Kowalski, a rising member of the industrial, urban working class. American playwright Tennessee Williams received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948.

All the Kings Men

Author: Robert Penn Warren

Description: All the King's Men traces the rise and fall of demagogue Willie Stark, a fictional character loosely based on Governor Huey ""Kingfish"" Long of Louisiana. Stark begins his political career as an idealistic man of the people but soon becomes corrupted by success and caught between dreams of service and an insatiable lust for power.

Confederacy of Dunces

Author: John Kennedy Toole

Description: A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel written by American novelist John Kennedy Toole, published by Louisiana State University Press in 1980, eleven years after the author's suicide. The book, published through the efforts of writer Walker Percy (who also contributed a revealing foreword) and Toole's mother Thelma Toole, quickly became a cult classic, and later a mainstream success. Toole posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981. It is now considered a canonical work of modern Southern literature, in the USA. The title derives from the epigraph by Jonathan Swift: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." The story is set in New Orleans in the early 1960s. The central character is Ignatius J. Reilly, an educated but slothful 30-year-old man still living with his mother in the city's Uptown neighborhood, who, due to an incident early in the book, must set out to get a job. In his quest for employment he has various adventures with colorful French Quarter characters.

Creole New Orleans Race and Americanization

Author: Arthur Hirsch and John Logsdon

Description: This collection of six original essays explores the peculiar ethnic composition and history of New Orleans, which the authors persuasively argue is unique among American cities. The focus of Creole New Orleans is on the development of a colonial Franco-African culture in the city, the ways that culture was influenced by the arrival of later immigrants, and the processes that led to the eventual dominance of the Anglo-American community.

Life On The Mississippi

Author: Mark Twain

Description: An invaluable companion to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi is Mark Twain's inimitable portrait of 'the great Father of Waters'. Part memoir, part travelogue, it expresses the full range of Twain's literary personality, and remains the most vivid, boisterous and provocative account of the cultural and societal history of the Mississippi Valley, from 'the golden age' of steamboating to the violence wrought by the Civil War.

Rising Tide

Author: John Barry

Description: An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the greatest natural disaster this country has ever known -- the Mississippi flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of nearly one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of blacks north, and transformed American society and politics forever.

Why New Orleans Matters

Author: Tom Piazza

Description: In the aftermath of Katrina and the disaster that followed, promises were made, forgotten, and renewed. Now what will become of New Orleans in the years ahead? What do this proud, battered city and its people mean to America and the world? Award-winning author and longtime New Orleans resident Tom Piazza illuminates the storied culture and uncertain future of this great and neglected American metropolis by evoking the sensuous rapture of the city that gave us jazz music and Creole cooking; examining its deep undercurrents of corruption, racism, and injustice; and explaining how its people endure and transcend those conditions. And, perhaps most important, he asks us all to consider the spirit of this place and all the things it has shared with the world: its grace and beauty, resilience and soul.

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