It’s Mardi Gras week in New Orleans, and even though there are festivities galore to keep people busy, I thought I’d share a few of our favorite stops off the beaten path.
Preservation Hall: If you’ve ever wanted to step back in time to a 1920s back room, this is the closest you’ll come. It’s a tiny room right off Bourbon Street just three blocks from the Mississippi River. Originally a private home, Preservation Hall opened its doors in 1961 as a sanctuary for the historic jazz music that shaped New Orleans culture and gave way to modern music. Performances are offered nightly and tickets can be hard to come by (fortunately, we were able to catch two shows the week we went). When you’re sitting in the dimly lit hall on benches or seat cushions, nestled closely beside your neighbors and listening to the Basin Street Blues, it’s very easy to forget where you are in place and time.
New Orleans Pharmacy Museum: If not for the brightly colored apothecary bottles in the window, we might have passed right by. From live leeches to an old-fashioned soda fountain, this museum showcases the history of medicine in New Orleans and the early America. With the opportunity to examine historic surgical instruments, voodoo potions, and patent cure-all medicines, I left very happy to be living in the 21st century and much more informed about how our modern Sprite and Dr. Pepper came to be.
New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden: The NOMA is located just inside City Park, known for its historic Southern Oaks. Right behind the NOMA is a sculpture garden with over 60 sculptures, meandering pathways, and reflecting ponds, making it a wonderful resting place after days (and nights) in the French Quarter. The journey to the NOMA is an adventure as well with the option of hopping on the Canal Street Streetcar.
We were also incredibly fortunate to visit during Halloween. Even though Halloween fell on a weekday, the streets were crowded with costumed people. Dressed in our matching Walt and Jessi Breaking Bad costumes, we followed behind a jazz parade in the pouring rain while people threw black and orange Mardi Gras beads into the crowds. Visiting New Orleans on Halloween was certainly a treat…