- The Washington Times - Friday, December 31, 2004

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — 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, pain killers and caffeine for those who really got sloshed the previous night. There are also potions, bath salts and steamy 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,” Miss Baker said hurriedly, her hotel bustling with New Year’s traffic. “I’m here to help people handle the excesses of New Orleans.”

Miss 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,” said Leah Moss, a Texan lounging with her older sister in bathrobes 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,” Miss Moss explained.

The idea of a hangover concierge is not unique; other hotels offer spa services meant to revitalize their guests. At the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, a make-your-own-Bloody Mary bar is offered at the spa, butlers can be summoned to draw baths by dialing zero and full-body massages are on order for tired and drained guests.

“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, Miss Baker is more than willing to get your New Orleans experience rolling. The military 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 offered in defense of her service. “Our water seems to fix every indulgence we have with the exception of walking too much. … You can soak your feet in it. Water can fix everything, it has now been proven.”

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