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July 5, 2018

Room Escape Artist: Escape Immerse Explore (New Orleans, LA)

David and Lisa from Room Escape Artist (REA) offered an escape room tour for the second year in a row and for 2018 it was in New Orleans (NOLA). I heard a lot of buzz about rooms in that area but wasn't sure how they would hold up to the best rooms I've played prior to the tour.

I didn't think that I would have the chance in the near future to go to NOLA, let alone the nearby cities of Tickfaw and Baton Rouge (90 minutes away), so I decided to sign up. I bought a pre-sale ticket and by the time they opened up the tour to the public, only one of 24 tickets was left! David and Lisa were able to secure a second bus on the tour due to popular demand and the rest was history. From their site:

"Southern Louisiana is home to some of the best escape rooms in the United States. This June [2018], we invite you to travel to New Orleans with Room Escape Artist. Tickets are $599 per ticket.

About Escape, Immerse, Explore: New Orleans 2018 
Join us June 22 – 24, 2018 for a weekend of escape rooms in and around New Orleans, Louisiana. 
On this personally-tailored escape room tour, you will get a chance to play some of our favorite escape rooms with other like minded escape room fans. 

What’s Included in the Tour? 
Your ticket includes a customized itinerary of 9 escape rooms, distributed among the following companies: 
  • Escape My Room, New Orleans (2) 
  • Clue CarrĂ©, New Orleans (2) 
  • RISE Escape Rooms, Tickfaw (2) 
  • 13th Gate Escape, Baton Rouge (3)
There will be three 2017 Golden Lock-In Award-winning games on this tour (and many more that were in the running)

Your ticket also includes: 
  •  Bus transportation to escape rooms outside of New Orleans 
  • A weekend with Lisa and David as escape room tour guides 
  • Networking with other tour attendees 
  • A talk by Lisa and David 
  • One group meal 
  • Exclusive discount coupons to book additional escape rooms at these venues 
  • Event t-shirt 
  • Teammates who are as excited about this as you are!"

Left to right: David, Randy

Accommodations, Transportation & Organization

We were offered a discounted rate at the Moxy which was a Marriott hotel. I was splitting a room with another person and was surprised to see we had our own rooms instead of the usual two beds in a single space. This was fantastic because we had our privacy and it proved to be much better than the other hotels we had without split rooms. The Moxy was also centrally located in NOLA which kept things simple and practical.

The second room is to the right out of the picture
Moxy's lobby
The infamous Bourbon street. Bring nose plugs.

Games were scheduled Friday night until Sunday morning. Friday and Sunday games were walkable (hoorah!) and Saturday involved a lot of time on the bus to get to Baton Rouge and Tickfaw. We didn't have much downtime except for a 90 minute break at RISE which wasn't too bad as we got to play three 5-minute mini games. A communal lunch was offered at 13th Gate in Baton Rouge and while I thought that the food looked average, it actually tasted great. There was also a cute puzzle that was hidden in our welcome letters that were given out to everyone at the start of the tour. David and Lisa presented some fun facts about their experiences and also celebrated Summer's 350th game played milestone with an "escake". My milestone was something like "Randy crosses the Mississippi for escape rooms" which was just barely true!

Lisa & David's talk followed by an escake. If anyone has a clearer picture, please send it to me :)
(Photo from Denise K.) I wanted moar...
Christian, Chris and Ben ready to roll!
Clue Carré's (Square Clue?) lobby
RISE's 5 minute rooms (bottom floor) in the haunted house beside the main escape room building
Escape My Room's beautiful lobby with mini-games while you wait
Outside of the tour we had scrumptious food at Mopho and Jacques-Imo's. Food in NOLA was great but almost everything was deep fried. One tip when traveling with a large group is to execute the Randy Shuffle (dubbed by Rich aka Codiak). Why try one plate when there are eight things on the menu that look amazing and different? Even though people started off with wanting to order their own dish, we implemented the Randy Shuffle in almost all the restaurants we went to. The minimum amount of players required is two so it's accessible to small groups. Alligator shrimp cheesecake, fried corn on the cob, beignets and fried soft shell crab or catfish were some of the delights. Even fast food, like Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers tasted great.

Jacques-Imos: Fried soft shell crab and cornbread(?) that tasted way better than it should have
Jacque-Imo's: Alligator shrimp cheesecake

Mopho: Vietnamese and Louisiana fusion = fried oysters in everything

Billy's: Didn't even know what a boudin or cracklins were before coming here

Memorable Moments

  • Cutthroat Cavern at 13th Gate is probably my favorite game of all time. Spellbound at RISE was also a standout and I had played it at MindSpark in Phoenix already. Strange Bird in Houston was amazing as well. It was not officially part of the tour but recommended for us to play, so we drove for 5 hours and did!
Cutthroat Cavern (Image from 13th Gate)
  • Watching Dan, Anna, Rich, Kiki, Summer and Jonathan break a gazillion records (four out of eight games were records and almost a fifth by 3 seconds...). It started off as a myth but now I was part of it, like how Javale McGee was part of the Golden State Warriors NBA championship team.
Left to right: Randy, Anna, Dan, Jonathan, Summer, Rich, Kiki
  • Meeting David and Lisa for the first time along with a bunch of other cool people.
Rich is a very tall man
  • Eating Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers for the first time after getting off the plane starving

Room For Improvement

While I got to socialize with the people near me on the bus, I had close to zero interaction with people on the other bus. It would have been great to have more communal dinners. The one that we had was taken up by the talk so really not much time to chat with others.

Bus "A": I think David said this bus was reserved for the cream of the crop and the rest were relegated to Bus "B".
Also the tour could be greatly improved if David and Lisa were to sing the karaoke version of "Thriller" because they are to escape rooms like what Michael Jackson is to pop music. Lisa, please add a karaoke box to your list.

Excited to see David's performance next year

Overall Thoughts

I loved this trip. I played a ton of extra rooms with some fellow participants and we really maximized our travel with great food and great company both outside and during the tour. I made some new friends (Theresa, Stuart and Jasmin!) across the country which I already have plans with to meet up with and ate enough fried food for the rest of the year.

Left to right: Anna & Ace of BlueFishEscapes.com, Jonathan, Summer, Pat, Randy

Left to Right: Pat, Randy, Jonathan, Summer, Marylu, David

Special thanks to Amanda (impromptu lift and Mopho) and Drew for helping out with all the logistics. Shoutout to the new people I played with who made it a great time!
  • Accommodations: Great! Split rooms were perfect
  • Transportation: Seamless and efficient
  • Operations: Impeccable. Lisa you should quit your day job and become an event planner.
  • Price: $599/person (included 9 escape rooms, one lunch and one bus day)
  • Number of players: Up to 6 per escape room
  • Duration: 3 days (Friday night to Sunday morning)
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★★
See their website here: Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans 2018

In the future, book your tour with Room Escape Artist and tell them that Escape Rumors sent you.

If you bothered to scroll down you can see a video of the break room at 13th Gate. It's actually quite a boring video and I am ashamed that I didn't take any better ones which is why it's at the bottom. Click the below to see the break room.

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