New Orleans is a culture capital par excellence. My inimitable hometown offers the opportunity to enjoy a diverse array of high-quality musical performances alongside a fascinating, complex history and the best food you may ever eat in your entire life (I'm not biased, I swear). Some of my favorite New Orleans cultural tips:
Historic New Orleans Collection: Important repository of art and artifacts covering the history of the city. HCNO has preserved and renovated seven buildings in the French Quarter, housing an extensive collection and a research center. (Also, the gift shop is fantastic.) Take a break at Café du Monde afterward. The Presbytère: In addition to an eye-opening display on the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, you can visit a fascinating and thorough permanent Mardi Gras exhibit which provides a deep dive into the various ways Carnival is celebrated by the many different cultures found in South Louisiana.
Coolest walking tours: New Orleans is noted for its elaborate above ground cemeteries, best enjoyed with a tour guide who can provide context and history. A tour of the architecturally stupendous Garden District usually includes a stop in the local cemetery. "Haunted" tours are also very popular in the French Quarter in the evening.
Warehouse District: In this neighborhood you'll find numerous art galleries along Julia Street. Nearby are the humongous National World War II Museum (allow at least a half day) and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. If you hit the WWII on a Thursday, you can then stroll over to take in the Southern art collection during Ogden After Hours, usually accompanied by live music.
Green spaces: City Park, with its majestic moss-draped live oaks, is 50% larger than New York's Central Park. It's here that you'll find the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, and City Park mounts an extravagant array of Christmas lights among the oaks during the holidays. Audubon Park, near Tulane and Loyola Universities, is home to the outstanding Audubon Zoo. At Woldenberg Park in the French Quarter, you'll get a swell closeup view of the Mississippi River.
Festivals: My favorites are French Quarter Festival, Gumbo Festival
(although technically in Bridge City), and the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience. Of course, the grandaddy of them all is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which should be on every sane person's bucket list. There are also smaller neighborhood festivals dotted throughout the calendar year. Rock n Bowl: Why not bowl a few frames to the beat of some terrific live music? Mid-City Lanes has you covered, from zydeco to swing. For a truly indulgent experience, think about visiting New Orleans in mid-December. The city puts on a dining show like no other during Réveillon. You'll want to skip lunch so you can handle a four-course dinner every night at the finest restaurants (like The Pelican Club and Arnaud's). In New Orleans, we definitely live to eat!
Mon Voyage is French for "My Trip"--and your trip is all about you: your travel style, your interests, your budget.
I plan customized travel itineraries for history, arts, and culture enthusiasts to destinations in Europe and beyond. I also offer escorted Small Group Trips, where you will engage with other curious travelers as we explore the world together.
Let's make that dream trip (or return trip) to New Orleans come to life. The appeal of New Orleans never wanes! Contact me today if I can help you with my hometown or any other travel planning, domestic or international.
Last but not least: never forget that looking forward to travel has been scientifically proven to be good for your mental health!