New Orleans Things to Do Tips by VeronicaG Top 5 Page for this destination
New Orleans Things to Do: 1,045 reviews and 1,679 photos
Aquarium of the Americas
As we enjoyed pretty Woldenberg Riverfront Park, we passed Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and the IMAX theatre located on the fringe of this public green space.
Although we didn't visit this large complex which includes the Audubon Zoo (at 6500 Magazine Street) and the Insectarium (Canal Street at the Customs House), you might want to take the kids to see these fun venues!
For a day of family play you'll pay:
Zoo--adult $12.50; child age 2-12 $7.50; Sr. Citizen 65+ $9.50
Aquarium--adult $17.50; child age 2-12 $10.50: Sr. Citizen 65+ $13.50
Insectarium--adult $15.00; child age 2-12 $10.00; Sr. Citizen 65+ $12.00
IMAX--adult $8.50; child 2-12 $5.50; Sr. Citizen 65+ $7.50
Imax Double feature--adult $14.00; child 2-12 $8.50; Sr. Citizen 65+ $12.00
For times and combination package prices please see website below.
Address: 1 Canal St.
Directions: on the Mississippi
So often a trip can be enhanced by furthering your information with detailed street maps, attractions and activity brochures or by receiving help in booking tours, etc. Dropping by usually provides helpful tips.
We stumbled upon this particular tourist information center as we concluded our sightseeing in Jackson Square and the French Market. Oh yes...and after a satisfying little break at the Cafe du Monde for a cup of chicory coffee and melt-in-your-mouth beignet.
Hundreds of travel brochures filled the racks. Many of which I collected before leaving to resume our walking tour. I noticed a staff member scheduling a family for some type of tour. This location was quite ideal, as it was central to some very popular sights.
See address below for location.
Address: 529 St. Ann St., New Orleans, LA
Illuminata I by Frederick Hart
As we traveled the streets of the French Quarter, two New Orleans art galleries particularly caught our eye:*The Angela King Gallery and *The Mann Gallery.
This stunning lucite sculpture pictured at The Angela King Gallery is a piece by Frederick Hart, who also crafted a stone sculpture for the National Cathedral and a bronze sculpture for the Vietnam War Veterans Memorial--both pieces are in Washington,DC. What a multi-talented individual! We were given a thorough background on the late artist and his place in history by art consultant, Deborah Choate.
That same afternoon, we dropped by The Mann Gallery where we spied the Impressionistic work of French artist, Luc Didier, whose oil painting, Chaussee sur la vonne a Vivonne, truly moved us (pic #2)! After being briefly schooled in his body of work, we were guided around the gallery by assistant director, Jill McGaughey.
If you have a love of art and especially enjoy galleries, go to the website below for a list of other galleries to visit while in New Orleans.
*The Angela King Gallery, 240 Royal St., New Orleans (504-858-1609); see Deborah Choate, executive art consultant
*The Mann Gallery, 305 Royal St., New Orleans (504-523-2342); see Jill McGaughey, assistant director
Address: New Orleans, LA
Directions: 90 blocks between Canal, Rampart, Esplanade and the Mississippi
Here we are at Longue Vue Gardens
As we prepared for our weekend in New Orleans, I came across Tours by Isabelle on the internet. Their Post Katrina tour had been highlighted on the Travel Channel, but the agency had several other interesting tours, as well. We appreciated the fact that we were picked up at our hotel and did not have to meet at a central point.
After reviewing our choices, we selected the four hour Combo City Tour which hit these spots around New Orleans:
*the French Quarter
*Jackson Square:St. Louis Cathedral and the French Market
*a view of the mansions along Esplanade Avenue
*a stop at St. Louis Cemetery #3, where we walked briefly through the ornate family crypts and heard about Louisiana's burial traditions.
*a drive passed Lake Pontchartrain, the causeway and its levees for a tidbit of history on the effects of Katrina
*a tour of Longue Vue Mansion and Gardens
*a glimpse of St. Charles Avenue, the universities and Garden District
It was time well spent seeing the city through the eyes of a local native and we'd highly recommend this agency. The cost was $65 each. Jenny, our guide, was excellent!
Other tours are:
The Post Katrina City Tour (8:30am-12:00N or 1:00pm-4:30 pm) A 70 mile tour featuring facts and history, includes 5 levee breaches. A drive through the French Quarter where you'll hear about its history, architecture, Mississippi River Port, levees and flood wall. See Esplanade Avenue's lovely mansions and Bayou St. John. View Lake Pontchartrain, the causeway and levee systems and travel to Lakeview and the 17th St. Canal Breach. Refreshments and restroom break. Onto Gentilly and New Orleans East to the M.R.G.O. Channel; learn about marsh erosion and loss of wetlands. View the Chalmette devastation and witness the rebirth. See the Industrial Canal breach and end at the Musicians Village-- $60 each
The Cajun Bayour Tour (1:00 pm-5:00 pm) A peaceful 1 1/2 hour narrated boat tour and Cajun country--$65 each
Grand Tour (8:30 am-5:30 pm) Cajun Boat Tour/ 2 Plantations: Oak Alley and Laura with lunch included for $136 each
Westbank Plantation Tour (8:30am-2:00 pm or 12:30 pm-6:00pm) A pilgrimage back in time to the Antebellum South with guided tours to Oak Alley and Laura Plantations. No lunch--$76 each
Airboat Tour (9:00am-1:00pm and 1:00pm-5:00 pm) Two hour ride on 7 passenger airboats and a visit to the remote Cajun Village of Lafitte--$95 each
Half Day Airboat Combo (9:00am-2:30pm or 11:00am-4:30pm) the Airboat Tour, plus visit to Destrehan Plantation--$135 each
Ultimate Combo (9:00am-5:00pm) the Airboat Tour and the Houmas House Plantation with gourmet lunch included--$175 each
Address: New Orleans, La.
Being old house lovers, my husband and I were eager to explore the interior of the Pontalba buildings located on both sides of Jackson Square, erected by Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, daughter of the benefactor of St. Louis Cathedral, the Cabildo and the Presbytere, Don Andres Almonester y Roxas.
The 1850 House is a National Historic Landmark overseen by The Louisiana State Museum. Each room has been furnished as though the Baroness herself was reigning over this Antebellum-style home. It was a very prosperous time in the city and this is reflected in the beautiful decor.
An immense carved bed holds sway over the Master bedroom and not too far from the parents room is the children's bedroom, a dear little space with tiny tea set and small scale furniture (pic #2)while on the lower level, a kitchen staffed by slaves was located (pic #3).
We missed the guided tour, which I believe is scheduled twice a day. Visitors have access to this historic home during normal business hours for a self-guided tour.
Admission is adults $6; Students, Seniors and Active Military $5; Children 12 and under are free. If combined with other museum tours, a 20% discount is applied.
Hours are Tues.-Sat. 9am-5pm; Sun. 12n-5pm; Closed on Mondays and major holidays,
Address: Plaza de Armas, New Orleans
Directions: between Decatur and Chartres Sts. near St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square
Other Contact: http://lsm.crt.state.la.us/visit
Phone: 1-800-568-6968; 1-504-568-6968
French Market Stalls
The French Market has existed at this site for over 200 years (1791). Native Americans were the first to recognize that this spot, on the banks of the Mississippi River, would make a grand trading post.
Following the years of Spanish and French control, it became of prime importance in the purchase of the Louisiana territory by President Thomas Jefferson
African-Americans brought calas (a type of fritter), caffeine and pralines to the early market; while the Choctaws, traveling from north of Lake Pontchartrain, offered herbs, spices and handmade beads.
As it evolved, Gascon butchers, Italian and Spanish fruitsellers, German vegetable women and Moors bringing trinkets from the Holy Land helped to create the CULTURAL GUMBO it is today.
pic #2 Entrance denoting the French Market
pic #2 Joan of Arc statue, welcoming one and all
I thought it was interesting to note that even in the mid-1800's coffee drinking was a favorite thing to do here. In fact, Cafe du Monde, where you can grab a cafe-au-lait and sugary beignet, is the oldest tenant in the French Market.
In the mid-1800's a Bazaar Market was built; grocery goods were sold in Red stores and in 1924, a farmers market with stalls was added. This rich heritage of commerce grew into what is now a 'cultural, commercial and entertainment treasure'.
*For more info. on The French Market, go to the website below where you'll find a detailed history of this site
Address: 1001 Decatur St.
Directions: between St. Ann and Barricks Sts.
Although we were hoping to tour an Antebellum plantation or two, they were not in the general vicinity of the city so we had to leave that for a future visit. Longvue House and Gardens, however, was a stop on our tour and gave us a peek at how the genteel class lived.
Longue Vue was constructed through the years of 1939-1942 for Edgar and Edith Stern, a couple prominent in New Orleans society. Their home, a Classical Revival style designed by architects William and Geoffrey Platt, was one of the "last great custom built homes" in America.
Inside we saw fine English and American antiques, plush European carpets, Modern and Contemporary art and the Stern's original furnishings. This was not only their beloved home, but was also utilized as a place to entertain and raise funds for their benevolent causes.
They truly welcomed the public into their lives... albeit, the well-heeled public. Celebs of the time, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, John and Robert Kenendy, Pablo Casals, Jack Benny and other famous persons were wined and dined within these walls.
The gardens were the creation of Ellen Biddle Shipman, who worked closely with Edith Sterns to transform ordinary areage into a stunning landscape (pics 2-4). A graceful tree-lined drive, bubbling fountains, romantic outdoor rooms, English-style hedges highlighting vibrant floral displays, goldfish pond and Greek columns accenting the patio areas combined to create a place of beauty and serenity.
A small gift shop is on the premises. Hours are Mon.-Sat. 10am-4:30 pm; Sun., 1:00 pm-5:00 pm. Admissions is $10 for adults; $5 for students; under 5 is free. For more info. or directions see website below.
Address: #7 Bamboo Road, New Orleans, LA
Crypts of the Dead
New Orleans is plagued with soggy soil in low lying areas, so time has shown it futile to bury one's beloved underground in these places. Just as the Europeans discovered the advantages of above ground vaults, New Orleans has adopted that style of burial, as well.
Crypts provide a beautiful resting place and put an end to coffins rising up from the ground each time flooding is experienced. St. Louis cemetery #3 somewhat reminded us of Argentina, where we visited a very famous cemetery, Recoleta, where only the upper crust or the famous were permitted to lie within these elegant crypts.
Cautioned not to explore any of the cemeteries alone, we were able to do so through Tours by Isabelle. We skirted the edges of the cemetery, paying mind to the various styles of crypts but not venturing into the center of this city of the dead.
Address: 3421 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA
The Calbildo, St. Louis Cathedral, The Presbytere
Magnificent St. Louis Cathedral presides over Jackson Square as the oldest Catholic cathedral in the United States. Established as a place of worship in 1716, the structure was completed on this site in 1727 then destroyed by fire in 1788.
A generous benefactor, Don Andres Almonester y Roxas, enabled the church to be rebuilt and it reopened its doors in 1794. A sketch shows that it was smaller in scale than the church you see today and had three rounded towers, rather than outright spires.
The present-day church was built and enlarged over the Spanish foundations in 1851. This massive cathedral is crowned with three dramatic spires which point heavenward and bears a clock beneath its tallest spire.
Inside, an atmosphere of sanctity envelopes the visitor. At the front of the sanctuary, a gilded work entitled Sacrifice of the Lamb of God hangs over the altar; throughout the sanctuary statues of the saints peer down from their pedestals (pics # 2 & 3)
Flags representing the countries once dominant in New Orleans hang high overhead on the right side; you'll see the Papal flag, the coat of arms of the Basilica and coat of arms of the dioceses of the Metropolitan Province of New Orleans...creating a dramatic effect!
Address: 615 Pere Antoine Alley
Directions: Facing Jackson Square
Steamboat Natchez at Riverfront Park
Beyond the busyness of the French Market and up a block or two, the Mississippi River flows. A scenic walkway edges along this well-known river at Woldenberg River Front Park, where numerous sculptures are tucked here and there and where the Aquarium is located, as well as, the Steamboat Natchez, a vessel formally christened in 1975.
Our original plan was to take a two hour harbor cruise on the Natchez Friday afternoon, but we opted for a Tours by Isabelle City/Garden Combo instead. I hope we can return to see New Orleans from the vantage point of the river someday.
A unique feature of the steamboat is a steam calliope, exactly copied from an instrument in use 100 years ago. It's distinctive whistle can be heard twice daily (except on Sundays)--at 10:45 am and 1:45 pm directly before the harbor cruise. Colored lights follow along with the music.
The harbor cruise departs daily from 2:30pm-4:30pm and on Fri.-Mon. on 11:30 pm-1:30p.m. Tickets are $24.50 for adults; $12.25 for children age 6-12 and free for children 2-5. Lunch is an option and is extra.
A dinner jazz cruise departs daily from 7pm-9pm. Tickets are $40 for adults; $20 for children age 6-12 and free to children 2-5. Dinner is an option and is extra.
Address: Canal Street Dock/Aquarium Dock
Directions: End of Canal St. in Downtown area, at French Quarter entrance
Other Contact: www.neworleansonline.com
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