Things to Do in New Orleans - page 3
The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) has one of the biggest art collections in the American South, with an impressive selection of French, Japanese, American, and African art, as well as the Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Visitors stroll the gardens, explore the permanent collection, and attend oany of the many interesting temporary exhibits.
Little else sits as entrenched in the collective American history as the history of the Civil War. The history of the American South and its role in the greater United States is rooted in this war, and its fascinating history. The Confederate Memorial Hall Museum, also known as Louisiana’s Civil War Museum, is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting authentic historical material of the Civil War. In an ongoing effort to maintain egalitarianism and diplomacy, the museum presents its information in a non-ideological way, instead educating and entertaining visitors with the stories of courage, valor, courage and patriotism that these soldiers maintained. Artifacts include weapons, flags, uniforms, and introspections into the daily lives of the Confederate soldiers and the organization of the southern confederate as a whole.
If you’re at the Port of New Orleans, you’re most like beginning or ending your cruise, so get there a day early or stick around afterward for a chance to explore the Big Easy.
The French Quarter is, of course, the main attraction, but if you’ve been there, done that, take a shore excursion into the countryside to see some of Louisiana’s grand plantation homes, or experience the swampy waterways on an airboat tour.
The New Canal Lighthouse has, like many things in New Orleans, a long history behind it. Originally built when Congress issued a $5,000 grant towards the construction of lighted pathways along the “new” New Orleans canal, the New Canal Lighthouse was built to guide vessels navigating this once expansive waterway that stretched into the very heart of the city.
Today, however, the canal has been filled in, as has the water that once ran under the lighthouse. Thanks to the Lake Pontchartrain basin reclamation efforts, the New Canal Lighthouse now stands on solid ground in the popular Lakefront Park.
Unfortunately, in 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita proved damaging to the ancient structure, but thanks to New Orleans’ signature spirit and commitment to things they love, the New Canal Lighthouse has been restored to its original glory – built “new” again.
See the octagonal structure, play in the park, and learn about one slice of this incredibly rich tapestry of New Orleans history with a visit to the New Canal Lighthouse.
A four-star luxury hotel with boatloads of charm and antebellum swank, Hotel Monteleone is a family-owned and -operated slice of quintessential New Orleans. Built in the Beaux-Arts style, this beautiful and stately building opened in 1886 and is now part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The grand hotel is as much a literary landmark as it is an architectural one; writers like Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner frequented the Monteleone’s Carousel Bar, and the hotel offers literary author suites, each dedicated to a famous American writer from the south who either visited or wrote about Hotel Monteleone.
In the heart of the French Quarter lies Napoleon House, a historic landmark named for the French emperor, part of a daring plan to rescue him from exile. Napoleon never visited the city, but the building—which now houses a restaurant serving classic NOLA cuisine—remains a testament to the ingenuity of the city’s inhabitants.
A romantic courtyard restaurant that’s a stalwart in the New Orleans dining scene, the Court of Two Sisters is named after Emma and Bertha Camors who once ran a shop here on Royal Street in the French Quarter. The place is famous for its daily jazz brunch.
Showcasing the wealth of marine life found throughout North and South America, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. From the colorful recreated Caribbean reef to a penguin colony, there’s plenty to entertain all age groups.
If you (or your kids) love everything creepy-crawly, make sure to visit the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans. With different exhibits looking at the life of bugs, plus a walk-through butterfly garden, where bright butterflies swoop around you, the insectarium offers the chance to get to see nature’s smallest critters.
This small pocket of outdoor space on Bourbon Street is dedicated to the renowned musicians of New Orleans. Stop in to listen to jazz music daily from 10am to close. The stage is small, but the setting and music make for a great place to sit and listen for a stretch. Tables and chairs are mixed in among statues of musicians, and Café Beignet calls the back of the courtyard home. Plan on snacking on warm beignets or order up a Cajun specialty for breakfast, lunch or dinner while listening to local musicians do what they do best.
More Things to Do in New Orleans
Renowned as one of the wildest and most pristine swamplands in the United States, the murky, algae-coated waters of Honey Island Swamp are a prime habitat for native wildlife, including alligators and wild boar. Plus, according to local folklore, the lake houses an even more menacing resident—the notorious Honey Island Swamp monster.
Just downriver from New Orleans lies the neighborhood of Chalmette, and within it, the Chalmette National Historic Park. Just a few minutes in the car from downtown New Orleans, it’s here in this removed subsection of New Orleans that the famous Battle of New Orleans was fought in January of 1815. Many believe that this last great battle of the War of 1812 against the British was fought in vein, since the Treaty of Ghent that ended the war was signed in late 1814, but a provision of that treaty needed to be ratified in order to cease fighting, thus necessitating the epic battle that secured New Orleans as property of the United States and not that of the British.
Located within the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve, today, the Chalmette National Historical Park is home to the Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery. The cemetery attracts historical buffs and holds he remains of both Union and Confederate soldiers, as well as soldiers from the Spanish-American War, the First and Second World Wars, and the Vietnam War.
Today you can visit the battlefield or even enjoy a reenactment of the famous battle, staged periodically throughout the year, or learn more about the war and New Orleans’ role in it from the visitor center.
When in New Orleans, there's no better, more classic way to experience the mighty Mississippi than on a river tour aboard the Steamboat Natchez. The historic stern-wheeled steamboat makes its home on the riverfront next to the French Quarter, and slowly and gracefully plies the river for brunch, lunch, or dinner cruises with live traditional jazz on board.
The Audubon Nature Institute is a collection of museums and parks, including a zoo and an aquarium, celebrating the natural world. With sites across New Orleans, the institute provides visitors the chance to enjoy a wide range of nature experiences and see all kinds of animals, from big game to tiny insects.
Hard Rock Café New Orleans is home to classic American fare, music memorabilia and plenty of good times.
Visitors who venture to this Bourbon Street staple in the heart of world-famous French Quarter will find the live music New Orleans is known for, complete with strong drinks, a mouth-watering food menu and a touch of Creole flare. Personal effects from the likes of Billy Holiday, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan decorate the towering walls of this establishment and provide the perfect backdrop to performances by both local and global artists.
Hard Rock Café New Orleans is perfect for families with small children (thanks, in part, to several menus to meet even the pickiest taste buds). Prix-fixe options that include live performances of bluegrass, hip hop or jazz music are one of the top-draws at this Big Easy attraction.
More than 8.5 acres (3.4 hectares) of indoor and outdoor immersive fun await at the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans. Visitors of all ages can interact with a replica Mississippi River, explore food pathways from farm to table, spot wildlife from binocular stations, or get hands-on with the music of the Big Easy.
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