What Makes New Orleans Special?

I was going to do a monologue video while I was walking our dog in City Park this morning.  What makes New Orleans special?  As I was playing the roles of cameraman, director, and voice actor, something came up.  This is how far I got:

That’s some thrilling footage, isn’t it?  “Hold on!  I gotta go!”

What follows is what I was going to talk about.  You’ll get the written version.  Read it in my voice, you know what I sound like by now, and put a lot of ah’s and um’s in there for good effect.  Clear your throat.



You can see ducks swimming in a pond in a park where you live I’m sure.  I like to just pause and watch the wildlife, the fauna and flora go about their lazy ways tickled by the breeze.  It’s relaxing.  I’m sure you like to do that, too, where you live.

Do you have a park where you live?  Do you go there often?  If you don’t, you should.  If you don’t have a park where you live, I hope you live in the country.  Regular exposure to nature refreshes the spirit.  Just ask me, your humble narrator.  I walk our dog in City Park in New Orleans twice a day.  He gets to be off the leash (which is against the rules but we go to parts of City Park where there aren’t any other people or any other dogs, so it’s all okay).  I’m not going to say that walking our dog is the best part of my day, but it’s close.

The best part of my day is talking with our guests who choose to make La Belle Esplanade the headquarters for their New Orleans visit.  The best part of my day is fulfilling my role as New Orleans goodwill ambassador, sharing what I know and tailoring specific recommendations off the tourist radar that will interest our guests and help them make good memories of their visit that will last a lifetime.  Can 547 authentic guest reviews, as of this writing, be wrong?



I will be the first one to tell you that I am not a man who enjoys roughing it out in the wild.  I enjoy and appreciate the natural world, but I am a city person.  I do not like to go camping.  I do not like to go hiking. I don’t fish or hunt.  I admire birds, but I am not a bird watcher, except in the Okaysions sense, using the word “bird” in its British sense.


I am a humble hotelier who is at home in the urban environment of this wonderful city that Frau Schmitt and I call home.  Frau Schmitt is the better half of this operation and we both enjoy the fact that our small personalized hotel is NOT in the French Quarter.  It is close to City Park.  City Park is a gem.  We always recommend that our guests visit City Park.

Anyhow, not to ramble on too long today, I was walking our dog in City Park this morning and we were walking along one of the lagoons that we don’t usually visit.  It’s been a little hot for our little dog.  It was 11:00 in the morning and about 96 degrees Fahrenheit.  We stuck to the shady spots as we ambled along.  The dog was in no mood to run around or get out of sight.

I noticed the ducks and paused.  What makes New Orleans special?  It’s all in the details.  Now, I know you can see ducks where you live and I am not going to pretend that New Orleans ducks are anything special, even though they are.  You don’t travel a thousand miles to watch some ducks swim in a lagoon—or do you?

What I was going to say before I had to go is that I had a wonderful morning full of pleasant surprises that led me to this moment of respite during which the ducks caught my attention.  Every day in New Orleans is one serendipitous event following the one before, all in a mosaic that has been laid by fortune and lazy chance.  Even when something commonplace happens in New Orleans, it can pack the gentle punch of an epiphany.  Those ducks were like that to me.

Then, the dog wandered too close to the road and he wasn’t on a leash.  Hold on!  I gotta go!

Nothing happened.  The dog was about 40 feet from the road, which isn’t a busy road, but better safe than sorry.  If the dog had gotten hit by a car, Frau Schmitt, who is the better half of this operation, would eventually forgive me, but it would take a long, long time.  I don’t want a dog’s blood on my conscience, let alone this one’s.

Here is a full on photo of our dog.  His name is Simba.  If you stay at La Belle Esplanade, you’ll never see him.  Don’t let his good looks fool you. Unlike your humble narrator, he is handsome but he isn’t friendly.  He is however, one of the things what makes New Orleans special.

The Most Interesting Dog In New Orleans.


Simba is not our mascot.  I don’t like a place that has a dog as their mascot.  A dog is just a dog—-don’t tell Frau Schmitt I just said that.

Here is a photo of our mascot:

The Most Interesting Man in New Orleans.
This man knows more than his share of New Orleans secrets. He’ll be happy to share them with you.


He is an urbane, handsome, and friendly beast, indeed.  Just ask me.

We look forward to meeting you when you come to New Orleans,

—La Belle Esplanade

…ranked the #1 inn in New Orleans and in Louisiana, the #3 inn in the U.S., the #17 place to stay in the whole world.

Monday, June 4, 2018:  We were in the Lower Garden District today.  We had lunch at Lilly’s Cafe, one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in the city, in our opinion.  What makes New Orleans special?  Ask us about it over breakfast when you are here.  We’ll tell you all about it.  –À votre santé, nos amis!