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New Orleans vs Vegas

Last edit: HedgedBettor on Saturday, 9th April 2016 6:37 pm
Last response by hugeheed63 14th April 5:59am

2015 was the first year I haven't been to Vegas in well more than a decade. Life intervened (not in a bad way) and it never fit into my schedule. I'll be going back in July, but my last two gambling trips have been business trips to New Orleans where I've stayed at Harrah's. With people on the board upset about the declining conditions in Vegas, from MGM's PGP, Wynn dropping craps to 2x odds and the similar declines in other casinos, I think you can make a decent argument for giving Harrah's New Orleans a try as a change of pace from Vegas.

The rooms at Harrah's are nice modern rooms, though the hotel tower is across the street from the casino, accessible via a ~5 minute indoor walk. The casino itself is in a very good location at the base of Canal Street, right by the French Quarter and a modest walk from Bourbon Street.(The hotel is a block away on Poydras, the other major avenue in the city). Gaming conditions are mixed, and quite different from Vegas. Craps has 10x odds (!!!) which is awesome for regular dice players. It took my some time to adjust my betting patterns at craps but it was worth it. Blackjack minimums in high limit never moved above $100 while I was there, and the rules were pretty attractive. They even had a shoe dealt double deck table that practically invites card counting. The casino itself is older and more basic than most Vegas casinos, though its fairly large - think Tropicana or Luxor or the like. That fits for New Orleans, which isn't really a modern-luxury town the way Vegas is. It has a lot more historical feel.

Obviously a big part of visiting New Orleans is time spent away from the casino. I love the French Quarter, and big partiers obviously shouldn't miss Bourbon Street. There's enough amazing food to satisfy the most selective foodie, from celebrity chef spots like Cochon and Emeril's to old school fine dining like Commander's Palace or Brennan's to casual standouts like Mother's (right across the street from the hotel), Cafe du Monde, the po boy spots, etc.

For people coming from the East Coast its obviously a lot closer than Vegas too. Having said that, as much as I've enjoyed my last two trips to New Orleans I'm ready to be back to Vegas in a few months!

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 vespajet responded on Sunday, 10th April 2016

Harrah's New Orleans was the first casino I ever went to, but this was back in 2000, and I know a lot has changed because of Hurricane Katrina. A few months earlier, I had missed out on an opportunity to go to Vegas for the first time, so going to Harrah's was part of the plans of the day trip to New Orleans (I was working for an airline at the time, so I was always taking day trips, but usually to places like Boston and Washington D.C.). I've talked about going back, but as it always happens, plans to go somewhere other than Vegas end up becoming yet another Vegas trip.

 Drake responded on Sunday, 10th April 2016

I'd love to go, given the proximity to the French Quarter. Always wanted to see. Unfortunately for me Harrah's New Orleans has typical big-city room rates, and my level of play doesn't get me too much Total Rewards love outside of Atlantic City.

But who knows? Frequent-flyer flights would take the sting out of the cost, so I'll definitely keep this option in mind for future trips. Thanks for your insights.

 anawas responded on Sunday, 10th April 2016

Before I begin, know that I'm not a big fan of Caesars for simultaneously claiming Atlantic City properties were destroying the company while building (or trying to build) new properties in Philly, Baltimore and suburban New York. So as annoyed as I am with MGM's PGP, I don't see Caesars being that great of a company, either.

That said, I really like the casino at Harrah's New Orleans, and NOLA in general. My inner alcoholic likes that you can walk around the city with a drink in hand, and that Harrah's still provides free drinks to players. (Many newer east-coast casinos in Delaware and elsewhere charge for drinks now.)

The casino also is open all hours of the day, which reminds me of Vegas. As already stated there's a good range of low/middle-limit table games. I applaud that. I've also had the best Po'boy sandwich in all of New Orleans at a casual seafood restaurant inside the casino.

Best of all was Harrah's vibrant poker room, still running two NLH tables in the middle of the night midweek last October. (I quickly recovered all of my pai gow and blackjack losses there, but future results will vary.)

Back to the city of New Orleans. There are centuries of history there, especially in the touristy areas, and a rich musical tapestry that Vegas can never replicate. And then there's the Mississippi River - which has its own soul and tells its own tales.

Comparing Las Vegas to New Orleans
-- SAFETY: To me, Vegas feels safer. Is it all the cameras? Is it the new(er) buildings? More lights everywhere?
-- TRANSIT: A push. New Orleans' streetcars take you right to Harrah's. NOLA's airport seems pretty remote.
-- CASINO: Vegas, easily. Sin City's varied offerings are the city's calling card and saving grace. That said, I hear there's horse racing at other Louisiana casinos.
-- PEOPLE: New Orleans. Most folks are way nicer there than in Vegas. NOLA also has a surprising amount of diversity beyond just Cajun, Creole, and Southern stereotypes.
-- CULTURE: New Orleans. Long live jazz music. Long live blues music.
-- SPORTS: Push. NOLA has the Saints and Pelicans (and LSU, sort of). But Vegas' sportsbooks make up for that.
-- SCENERY: Push. Vegas has mountains and sexy people. NOLA has rivers and happy/drunk people.
-- FOOD: New Orleans. Why? Vegas has delicious food. NOLA has delicious food *with* Southern flair.
-- BOOZE: New Orleans. Vegas can try again when it invents something as tasty as a Sazerac and doesn't charge hundreds of dollars for bottle service.
-- PARTY: Vegas. Bourbon Street is more intense than anything in Vegas, but Bourbon Street is just one scene. Downtown Vegas can come close to replicating that, and Vegas also offers way more other clubs, lounges, etc.

 vespajet replied on Monday, 11th April 2016

You're not kidding about the airport, even though it's located about a dozen miles from Downtown New Orleans. When I went to New Orleans, my friends and I hopped on a Jefferson Transit route from the airport that during the week runs down Airline Drive to the Central Business District that takes about 45 minutes and makes a few stops along the way. It was maybe a 10 minute walk to Bourbon Street from there.

 hugeheed63 responded on Monday, 11th April 2016

Love this topic, seeing as how New Orleans is my favorite place on earth and Las Vegas is a close second! I live in North Louisiana and have spent (I estimate) at least the equivalent of 2 years of my life in the Big Easy just by adding up the days I've visited (my Vegas days are not so great-probably around 4 months worth). Just had to comment to encourage folks to make sure they visit New Orleans at least once in their lives-it is an American city like no other-feels a little like you've left the country for a few days.
And yes, the food and drink are amazing, and Harrah's does sit right in the middle of it all, allowing you to casino for awhile and then venture off into something totally different.
As for Harrah's.....I've been lucky there only one time (won $1000 on a $10 blackjack table one night) but for me, that casino has been one of the most unlucky one I've ever visited for video poker and slot play. Oh well, I'm sure my money is paying for other people to win, and I still contribute every time I make a visit to the city.
Do yourself a favor and make a trip there when you can!

 wpsteel66 responded on Tuesday, 12th April 2016

I agree New Orleans (NO) is a place you should visit at least once; this city has many unique offerings.

One of my favorite is the World War 2 museum about 7 blocks south of Harrahs. I literally spend the entire day in this place. Well worth the admission price and extreme place for history aficionados.

Harrahs is now a non smoking casino. At first a lot of complaints from players but now Harrahs using in their marketing due to good response from patrons (i.e., gambling revenues up).

The drive for me is just over 5 hours to NO, but Biloxi is less of a drive plus more casinos in Biloxi. I agree Vegas feels safer than NO. I can fly direct to Vegas in less about 5 hours and be on the strip soon afterwards. Thus NO does not get a lot of my casino time.

As mentioned, NO airport is a distance from downtown NO.

 anawas replied on Tuesday, 12th April 2016

Oh yeah, gotta spend a day at the WWII museum. Fantastic stuff there.

 motoman responded on Wednesday, 13th April 2016

Fascinating thread. You guys are the greatest!

(Are you listening, Vegas execs? Dismayed at Mr. Pascal's response to the parking question in the VZZZT interview.... not specifically about parking, but what it said about the attitude twd PGP-style fees in general.)

(Major WWII history buff here, too. That museum would be a must.)

Never been to NO, but then, it took me years of visits to get used to the dry Vegas heat. Unfortunately I simply cannot stand humidity. Recall seeing on the news those cleanup workers after the oil spill, in full-body cleansuits -- and realizing both temp & humidity can reach the high 90s that time of year. (Any suggestions on when's a good time for a climate-wimpy Northwesterner to visit? :)

 hugeheed63 replied on Thursday, 14th April 2016

November through February and probably even March will be safe from the heat and humidity! If your schedule allows, check out hotel prices in December-they can be the least expensive of the year. Avoid home Saints game and special college weekend events though when looking for affordable rates-unless you want to make a game there, which I totally recommend!
Be sure to avoid Mardi Gras-hotel rates are completely off the map and require 4 to 5 day stays. A NOLA novice typically wouldn't want Mardi Gras to be their first visit (IMHO).....the crowds are so bad you'll never really get to enjoy the feel of the city.
Hope you get to make a visit soon!