If you’re going to Clean ’19 be sure to spend some time indulging in the local culture. There’s a lot to do in New Orleans when you have a spare moment.
One of America’s most vibrant cities goes by many names: The Crescent City, America’s Most Interesting City and, of course, The Big Easy. New Orleans offers a unique lifestyle to its residents and visitors. The sultry southern town nestled in the Mississippi River’s crescent is full of museums, activities, and amazing restaurants that are must sees while in town.
Located in the state of Louisiana, New Orleans is the state’s largest city and metropolitan area, and one of the United States’ biggest ports. The city was founded in the year 1718 and was named after the well-known Duke of Orleans. It is famous all around the world for its distinct and unique architectural style that encompasses French and Spanish elements. During the first half of the 19th century, New Orleans became the United States’ wealthiest and third-largest city. Its port shipped the produce of much of the nation’s interior to the Caribbean, South America and Europe. The historic heart of the city is the French Quarter, known for its French and Spanish Creole architecture and vibrant nightlife along Bourbon Street. The city has been described as the “most unique” in the United States, owing in large part to its cross-cultural and multilingual heritage.
A City of Many Attractions
New Orleans is bursting with so much entertainment, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the festivals, celebrations, and parties. Sometimes one forgets to slow down to take in some of the many attractions the city has to offer. Take time to visit New Orleans’ world-class museums, all found within a few miles of each other. From listening to a local jazz band while surrounded by some of the greatest Southern fine art, to watching actual WWII footage while walking through a simulated exhibit resembling Normandy, you never know what you’ll discover inside one of these institutions.
The National WWII Museum is outstanding with engaging exhibits and documentary snippets that tell the history of WWII. The museum is divided into three sections, with one section devoted to the war in the Pacific, another devoted to the war in Europe, and a third building that houses WWII aircraft. A film entitled “Beyond All Boundaries,” produced and narrated by Tom Hanks, is shown in a 4D Theater, with chairs that rumble as tanks go by on the screen and stage props that turn the film into a sensory experience. Short black-and-white documentary-style film segments give a real life look at how the items on display were involved in the war. Oral histories add to the impact. Part of the complex is the Stage Door Canteen, featuring entertainment from the 1940s, with matinees and dinner shows.
About a mile away from the convention center, at the Historic New Orleans Collection, the Hellis Foundation presents a six-month exhibit though October 6 entitled “Art of the City: Post-Modern to Post Katrina.” It displays the works of over 75 native and dedicated visiting artists depicting how the resilience of New Orleans has contributed to the city’s thriving contemporary art scene. This museum also provides a free exhibit that includes several works of art and authentic pieces that date back hundreds of years.
While casually roaming the French Quarter’s charming streets is a fine way to spend time, a bit of knowledge about the unique architecture and history will enhance your stroll. Embark on a walking tour to better understand the city’s beating heart and musical soul. Two Chicks Walking Tours takes you through the Quarter, known as Vieux Carre, past popular New Orleans attractions and sights, including Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, and the historic French Market. You’ll learn how the city was built, and about the multi-cultural influence of French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean architecture. Be sure to visit the French Quarter Visitor Center where National Park Service rangers lead free talks and provide printable self-guided walking tours. And, because it’s New Orleans, refreshment is always near.
Next week we’ll explore some food and entertainment options in the Big Easy.
All photos are courtesy of the New Orleans & Company
Top Left: French Quarter is credited to Paul Broussard
Mid Right: Brass Band is credited to Chris Granger
Lower Left: Garden District Architecture is credited to Zack Smith