Well, it's a 9 hour drive for me to get up to Townsend from here, so you're looking at about that...about an hour further into New Orleans - it really isn't bad, and you gain an hour when you cross into Alabama. As far as where to stay - plenty of choices there. If you want to explore New Orleans, it's open again. If you want to stay a little closer to the fishing action, many of the guides have (or had) lodges right on the water; now, a lot of that was wiped out by Katrina, but I know some have rebuilt.
I have only gone out with one guide, and that was as part of a group from my church. Captain Charlie Thomason is his name, and he definitely can put you on fish. Now, our church trips haven't been fly trips, but I just checked his web site and he apparently does take fly anglers out for the reds...here's his web site:
He operates out of Hopedale, in St Bernard Parish, which is due east of the city. His lodge was wiped out by the 30-ft storm surge of Katrina, but I know he was rebuilding; in fact, he might have his new place open.
I know there are other guides out there who are starting to specialize in fly fishing for reds. You might want to check out this web site:
Again, I really can't make much of a recommendation, since I've only been on one guided trip. One thing is for sure - you will catch fish. Louisiana is home to 40% of our country's wetlands, and the vast marshes are fish factories. We produce fish in far greater numbers than our neighboring gulf coast states, because of the superior habitat.