Our trip to New Orleans started in Columbus, GA, where we had just spent the Christmas holidays with the Frugal Princess family. Now it was time, December 29th, for a road trip with my daughter, Angela, and her hubby, Steve – a perfect way to celebrate my reaching the three-quarters-of-a-century mark.
It was an easy 6-hour drive to Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans, where we were quickly checked into our two rooms. No suites this time, as we have had in the past, even though Brad and I are both high 7 Stars and Brad was on his Level I Signature Experience Retreat. Too many whales outranked us for this New Year’s Eve period – but we did feel they could have shown us a little more love than with a welcome gift of a very small container of caramel corn. I do miss those days of yore when we would find large baskets of goodies awaiting us.
But we didn’t wallow in this minor disappointment; we were hungry and made our way to the buffet. It isn’t quite as good as it used to be, but we aren’t fussy and found enough “fuel” to ready us for a ride on the recently installed All-Star video poker machines that contained one of our favorite games, dollar multi-line Not-so-Ugly Deuces (NSUD). We know the theo isn’t good on these machines, but we still get enough free play and other benefits to make it a positive play. Occasionally we will make a good choice because of the “fun” factor instead of going for the best play available which might give us a slightly higher advantage. We started out with Triple Play but soon switched to Five Play. Ten Play was an option but we have never liked that version for short-term play.
Angela and I played VP together. She knows the strategy for classic full-pay deuces, but not for NSUD, so we spent many hours with her playing and my “tutoring” at a machine beside her. This was fun for us because we could chat more – and I don’t need my fingers on the keys to enjoy the challenge of a good game of video poker.
However, gambling this trip wasn’t all VP. Steve likes to hit the roulette tables and “mess around” looking for slot machines that look like fun. And speaking of slots, on the last morning we decided to “go fishing.” I had often heard in the past exuberant players making lots of noise at the “Paradise Fishing” slot machines – they always were laughing and seemed to be having so much fun – and I had vowed I would throw some money at these the next time we were with Ang and Steve. Brad and I had $310 in free play that had to be cycled through that day, so after breakfast I herded the gang to these machines for purely recreational gambling. What a hoot it was! We all knew that grabbing and moving the reel doesn’t change any outcomes, but you just have to do it when those fish are swimming above you on that big screen. You can’t help yourself. And even ole slots-are-for-losers me was caught up in the frenzy of the competition, yelling and cheering with the whole family. And just to prove me wrong, we cashed out $315 when we were forced to leave and meet our limo for the airport. Keeping the free play and having a bitty profit too – what more could a “loser” want!
High point for the guys was a visit to the WWII Museum, a Harrah’s “partner attraction” just a short distance from the casino. Fortunately, complimentary wheelchairs were provided so Brad could enjoy the museum for many more hours than his hips and legs would have allowed otherwise. This is a highly acclaimed attraction with many different features, including a 4-D experience starring Tom Hanks and an interactive submarine “ride.” Brad and Steve really had a good time there.
On New Year’s Eve, the four of us attended the casino’s VIP party, in a large beautifully decorated theater. The food was great and an abundant choice of beverages was available. The only distraction was the overly loud music, a problem with almost all casino parties. Maybe this is the modern norm, but we would like to be able to actually meet and socialize with the other people at our table. As it was, we had to shout for even minimal communication. Brad has completely given up on these shindigs. He just takes out his hearing aid that blasts the music to a painful level – and merely smiles when people try to talk to him since loud background noise completely blocks out normal voices for him.
Because this was the early-bird seating for the party, we had several hours to kill before the arrival of the new year. We all four had already put in all the casino time we needed or wanted for this visit, so we did the sensible thing. We went to our rooms to take a nap and watch a movie.
Just before midnight, Angela and Steve came to our room just down the hall from theirs and we greeted the new year together snug and warm in our jammies. Our 19th floor room looked right over to the Mississippi River where the fireworks were being launched from a boat – and our eye-level view of the display was a perfect finishing touch to a wonderful New Orleans visit.