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New Orleans, Louisiana is hot all the time. Whether it's the blazing sun beating down hard all summer long, the cayenne pepper spicing up those Cajun delicacies or those hot nights in the French Quarter, you're guaranteed something with a kick is coming your way. If you act quickly, you can jump on for some of these red hot travel deals.

Unfortunately, getting to the Big Easy isn't always the easiest thing in the world. Only recently airlines started to realize that travelers look at NOLA as a second Las Vegas but with much better food, better architecture and a lot more class. Taking advantage of New Orleans popularity, Air Tran Airways (tel. 800/247-8726; www.airtran.com) just made getting there a lot easier. As part of its national sale, Airtran has one-way and round-trip deals to New Orleans good for travel through November 17, 2005 with a 10-day advanced booking obligation and a deadline of August 16. This deal is not good for travel on Friday or Sunday and the lowest fares are found on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Some of the great deals include round-trip fares from these cities to New Orleans:

  • Akron/Canton $198
  • Atlanta $138
  • Buffalo/Niagara $188
  • Charlotte $158
  • Chicago (Midway) $198
  • Indianapolis $178
  • Los Angeles (LAX) $278
  • Milwaukee $198
  • New York (LaGuardia) $198
  • Newark $198
  • Tampa $174

Now is the time to book some great late August trips featuring discounted hotel deals for travelers willing to sustain a little hot weather. Fares on this Airtran deal are not valid from September 2-5, 2005.

The Hotel St. Marie (tel. 800/366-2743; www.hotelstmarie.com) has low rates for August and September before prices increase drastically in October and November and stay that way through late March. August mid-week rates start at only $49 going up to $139 on weekends. In September, in coordination with cooler weather and the start of the NFL season for the New Orlean's Saints and Louisiana State University's college football campaign, expect weekend prices to go as high as $159 but mid-week prices to shuffle between $59 and $119. The St. Marie is an exceptionally beautiful old world French Quarter hotel with gilded ceilings, chandeliers, and the distinct feel of New Orleans 19th century magic. For you August travelers, the hotel features a swimming pool in its tropical courtyard as well as 24-hour concierge service (isn't everything 24 hours in New Orleans) and two restaurants specializing in local cuisine. Just steps from Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter, the St. Marie is a steal at $49 per night.

Travelocity (tel. 888/872-8356; www.travelocity.com) is always a good place to look for last minute deals now or in the fall to most popular U.S. destinations. Travelocity has prices to rival any New Orleans travel option. A Thursday, August 11 departure trip with a return date of Sunday, August 21, 2005 with round-trip air out of New York and accommodations at the well-known and centrally located old staple Holiday Inn French Quarter starts at $280 per night. The hotel with its easy entrance on Royal Street has a cool little hotel bar and a quirky indoor swimming pool.

While New Orleans is full of exciting things to do, three dining musts are the Debris Sandwich at Mothers Restaurant (tel. 504/523-9656; www.mothersrestaurant.net), the oysters at Acme Oyster House (tel. 504/522-5973; www.acmeoyster.com) and the beignets at Café du Monde (tel. 800/772-2927; www.cafedumonde.com). None of these will break the bank, and they're all New Orleans classics.

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