In spite of all of my touring and other traveling, and the fact that I've always wanted to see it, I had never been to New Orleans before. I saw that it was only three hours from Pensacola, but it was three hours in the wrong direction from the airport and three hours back, plus another 2+ hours to Panama City, so we decided to skip it so that we'd have less driving and more beach time. Although it seemed a shame not to go when it was so close, we decided to stay in relaxation mode.
Our host Don had prepared an incredible meal for us the night before - he is truly a gourmet cook. We were planning to just chill out on the beach the next day, but we woke up uncharacteristically early and noticed that we were both sufficiently sunburned to the point that it would be better to take a day off from going to the beach, so we packed up and headed off to New Orleans after all.
New Orleans was wonderful and when I go back it needs to be for longer than a day and a half. But this time a day and a half was perfect! We stayed in the Garden District, rode the trolley to the French Quarter, walked for hours and hours, heard some jazz, and had fabulous meals. And on our way out of town the next day we picked up some beignets and cafe au lait from Cafe du Monde.