For those driving to the port in New Orleans, if you stay in a motel out towards I-10, parking is usually free. Also, if you stay in Harvey,La.(west bank ) the hotels are cheaper and they have free parking. If you do stay on the west bank side, most hotels will shuttle you toand from the ferry for free,then you can ride the ferry over to the boardwalk. From there, you have pretty easy access to anywhere you want to go..
Usually check out in a motel is around 11.00 am, which is about perfect timing to reach the port, in time to get a parking place there at the port. I have found out that if you get there to early, they'll make you wait till a certain area empties so you can park.
If you do priceline.com, always put the 5 star rating. My fishing partner does that, and he always comes out with nice rooms in major hotels there in downtown N.O, usually have price or less.
Good luck and happy sailing;