In one of those only-in-New-Orleans stories, visitors who put back too many beers and hurricanes in the Big Easy have a remedy to help them shake off that dreaded New Year's hangover: Sara, the Recovery Concierge.
Name your poison, Sara Baker has the medicine: Ginger-root tea and a po-boy-roll breakfast for the mildly hung over, painkillers and caffeine for those who really got sloshed the night before. There are also potions, bath salts and steamed water to rehydrate the weary _ along with sage advice on how to recuperate.
"There are two standbys that I never fail to fall back onto. The triple T _ Tylenol, tea and toast _ and Cafe Du Monde," Baker says hurriedly, her hotel bustling with New Year's traffic. "I'm here to help people handle the excesses of New Orleans."
Baker is in charge of the Loews New Orleans Hotel's hangover concierge program, which is spelled out in a booklet in every room. It is for guests who overindulge in the city's many excesses: booze, pralines, jambalaya, succulent steaks, among other temptations.
"In New Orleans you're doing so many bad things to your body _ so you have to go the spa," says Leah Moss, a Texan lounging with her older sister in bath robes next to the pool at Loews getting re-energized for a turbocharged New Year's night ahead of them with gambling, a show and fireworks.
"Today we're doing hot rocks _ they heat up stones and place them on different pressure points on your back to relax tension," Moss says.
The idea of a hangover concierge is not unique; other hotels offer spa services meant to revitalize guests. At the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, a make-your-own-Bloody Mary bar is offered at the spa, butlers are summoned to draw baths and full-body massages are on order.
"What is it about this city!?" exclaimed Char Schroeder, a spokeswoman for the Ritz-Carlton. "It is New Orleans: We want them to know that the very next day there is help for them available, and there are people there who will help them if they need it."
At Loews, Baker is more than willing to get your New Orleans experience rolling. The Desert Storm veteran, chef and all around fun-loving savant calls herself the "queen of excess."
"People seem to be a bit healthier; it seems to be working a bit," she says. "Our water seems to fix every indulgence we have with the exception of walking too much. Oh, no! No! You can soak your feet in it! Water can fix everything, it has now been proven!"
Esther Macha said the service was a perfect remedy as she lounged with her sister at the Loews spa and thought about her husband who works for Halliburton in Iraq.
"I have major pressure _ my husband's in Baghdad in a war and I run a small business in this economy," said Macha, who runs a florist business back in Texas.