As my first official “post vacation” installment, I thought I might ruminate on the apparent differences between these two Old Man River-side cities.
We stayed in NOLA two years ago on our way down to Florida (pre-Katrina). I really enjoyed our time there, so I never thought I would — two years later — feel a little gypped about it.
But at least one aspect of Memphis leaves New Orleans in the dust!
We got into Memphis about 8 PM Thursday night and checked into our hotel downtown (Residence Inn Marriott, in case you care). The hotel was lovely but the service, ahhh, the SERVICE.
Granted, we were upgraded from our studio suite to a two bedroom/two bath suite (thanks, I think, to being a Marriott Rewards member) which was crazy-fabulous. I admit that this did buy my affections somewhat.
But even so, the hotel staff was winningly courteous, too. Even the valet that helped us unload — and then cart around — a truly ridiculous amount of luggage and baby gear was sweet as pie. The kitchen staff serving a really great breakfast buffet (free) was friendly and accommodating. The housekeeping staff was nice, too.
We had dinner at Rendezvous. The food was great and the service equally so. Our stay was brief but everyone we encountered was just so darn friendly! Honestly, I checked out feeling like the Queen of Memphis.
Now by contrast, I can’t say that the people in New Orleans were rude. Not exactly.
Our stay there was also downtown, also in a Marriott (not a Residence Inn, though). But when we checked in, the valet parkers loaded our bags, gave us a claim check and just disappeared with a cartful of our stuff. Hmmmm. Scary.
But more to the point, everyone in NOLA barks. Directions, instructions, reproofs, compliments. Everything is barked, tossed over the shoulder like people are too busy to really talk to you. And these are the folks in the “service industry.”
Again, nobody was really rude. But by contrast, the Mempheans we dealt with were . . . solicitous. Ready to help and all with a smile.
I understand that tourism is/was big business in the Big Easy, so maybe after a while, the attitude toward the hordes gets casual and jaded. Still, I have to say that Memphis has a leg up on getting my wallet back into town.