Arts & Culture in Greater New Orleans
New Orleans has long attracted visitors from around the world to experience its unique history, music, food, and culture.
With the city welcoming more than 17 million visitors per year, New Orleans has more to offer than ever before. There are more than 45 museums throughout the city to choose from – and another 34 throughout the region – making it easy to immerse yourself in the city’s history, culture, and arts.
New Orleans is also home to unique and historic architecture influenced by the many cultures that settled in the area centuries ago. Today, you can find the various styles of architecture in neighborhoods around the city, with several preservation groups charged with ensuring that home and building styles reflect the cities roots.
Honoring the legacy of Andrew Higgins, the New Orleans-based manufacturer of the Higgins boats used on D-Day, The National World War II Museum is one of the crowned-jewels of the South Louisiana and consistently ranked one of the best museums in the world.
New Orleans is the place for works of art, from today and yesterday
In the Warehouse District, you will find the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and Contemporary Arts Center, as well as galleries galore. Julia Street is a top destination for regional and national artists and is the setting for the annual White Linen Night when locals enjoy local art and live music each August dressed in white linen.
In true New Orleans fashion, cheeky locals also hold the satirical Dirty Linen Night one week later on Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter. Royal Street is home to dozens of galleries, including the late George Rodrigue’s art studio, a Louisiana native and creator of the famous blue dog photos.
Inspiring and interesting artwork is prevalent throughout the region. Sculptures and murals commissioned by Art Council New Orleans are displayed throughout the city. In neighboring Jefferson parish, there are art installations along Veterans Memorial Boulevard. The New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park has a wonderful collection and regularly hosts traveling exhibits, as well as boasting an incredible, recently expanded outdoor Sculpture Garden (which is free year-round). The McKenna Museum of African Art is a boutique- style museum celebrating the visual aesthetic of people of African descent in North America and beyond.
Spanish, French, Greek Revival, even Craftsman - Greater New Orleans has it all
Recognizable around the world, the historic French Quarter is largely Spanish-influenced with stucco buildings and beautiful wrought-iron balconies. The nearby Marigny/Bywater neighborhood features shotgun homes and Creole cottages, many restored to their original Caribbean-inspired colors. Upriver you’ll find Greek Revival and Victorian homes dating from the 1800’s.
In suburban and rural communities throughout the region, you’ll find an even greater variety. Residential areas near the city center offer inviting homes built in the twentieth century. As you move further from downtown, you’ll find a charming mix of both old and new architectural styles to suit every taste. Acres of available land make the region an exceptional place to build your dream home.
Greater New Orleans is home to some of the South’s most beautiful plantations on sprawling estates. Guided tours offer opportunities for architecture buffs to admire the craftsmanship and the history of plantation homes such as Oak Alley and the Whitney Plantation, which is dedicated exclusively to telling the story of slavery.
Opera, ballet, musicals, and plays throughout the region
Theater is alive and well in New Orleans. The region boasts multiple stages from the modern Mahalia Jackson to the classic Saenger Theatre. Local and touring plays and musicals run throughout the year, including Broadway shows.
Smaller neighborhood venues offer intimate and avant-garde performances. Children’s Theaters give budding thespians a nurturing place to learn their craft. On the Northshore, the North Star Theater, Little Slidell Theater, The Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts stage productions. The Jefferson Performing Arts Society hosts over 150 annual performances, and is local theater at its best.
Known as America’s First City of Opera, the New Orleans Opera Association and local ensemble Bon Operatit keep the tradition going. The New Orleans Ballet Association and New Orleans Ballet Theatre hold performances throughout the year. The renowned Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra performs throughout the Gulf South, ranging from the traditional to eclectic (think classically-trained orchestra plus the all-male Mardi Gras dancing krewe 610 Stompers… only in New Orleans!). New Orleans Concert Band, and dozens of ensembles and solo artists, offer a wealth of performances to enjoy classical music throughout the year.