December is a particularly attractive period for enjoying the Big Easy, when temperatures are comfortably in the 60s and tourism is slow. Well before Katrina, hotels throughout the city tried to attract business by offering special Papa Noel rates for the entire month of December. (Papa Noel is the Cajun version of Santa Claus.) Those special lodging prices are back this year, and it’s possible to stay for well under $100 per night at fine hotels in New Orleans’ most exciting neighborhoods.
The city’s official tourism Web site, www.neworleansonline.com, lists 48 participating hotels, including 22 in the French Quarter. The Holiday Inn French Quarter, for example, which is just one block from Bourbon Street, has free parking and promotional Papa Noel rates starting at $69 per night throughout December. By comparison, a recent search for a random day in October revealed the hotel’s best price was $120 a night. (Papa Noel rates are limited in availability, so be flexible if possible, and they must be booked directly with the hotel. Call (800) 747-3279 or go to www.hi-frenchquarter.com for the Holiday Inn.)