Grant and I had a horrifying experience last night. We are staying at a deluxe hotel in New Orleans near the French Quarter. I won’t mention the hotel’s name. We had gone out to dinner at Commander’s Palace, just a great restaurant, and we walked around the Garden District and cabbed it back to the hotel and had a glass of wine and finally went up to our room, a lovely room with two double beds. We were in our pjs and in bed when alarms started sounding. A loud speaker in our room told us to proceed to the stairs — not the elevator — and immediately go downstairs. We were on the 17th floor. We threw on some clothes and shoes and left our room, but an external door had closed and we were locked in.

This was the setup. For some reason our room and another were in a little alcove off the main hallway. If the outer door to the alcove got closed someone on the outside would need a key card to open it. We could not open it from the inside because the doorknob fell off.

We were scared of dying in a fire. I dashed back into the room and called the front desk. The person told me it was a false alarm, some moron had pulled the fire alarm and locked our external door. So we were safe. I told the person we still needed access to the main corridor and the elevators. They sent up an engineer who got the door open in about ten minutes. I said I wanted another room. I did not want to go through that again. They had no rooms with double beds, so Grant and I slept together in a king bed. No big deal. But the whole thing was upsetting.