New Orleans Festivals, Museums and Art Exhibits
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New Orleans is a city that does not let anyone down. Known for its legendary festivals and significant centers of art and history, New Orleans is a complete experience in itself. Also known as NOLA and The Big Easy, the city lives up to its nicknames. Let’s delve into what New Orleans has to offer for festival lovers and art and history enthusiasts.
New Orleans, with more than 130 festivals in a year, can easily claim the crown of Festival Capital of the United States. From world-famous festivals like Mardi Gras to food events like New Orleans Oyster Festival, the city has something for every age group and every interest. Let’s see what some of them are.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Being one of the main centers of Jazz music, it is no wonder that the biggest celebration of Jazz music happens in New Orleans. With more than 50 successful years of the event, it has become one of the landmark musical events in Louisana. More than 100 artists perform in the festival, in diverse genres such as rap, blues, country, apart from the obvious Jazz. The Fair Grounds Race Course hosts the event, and thousands of people flock there to enjoy some great music with an amazing vibe.
Mardi Gras is probably the best-known festival in all of Louisiana. The history of the event goes back to 1699, when French explorers landed in New Orleans. The modern festival traces its history back to the 1830s and has since become an essential part of the New Orleans way of life. It takes place on ‘Fat Tuesday’ every year, which corresponds with Easter. The festivities, however, start in January. Some of the popular parades of Mardi Gras are Krewe of Rex, Krewe of Zulu, and Krewe of Endymion. The festival involves a lot of eating, drinking, and merry-making. The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold which symbolize justice, faith, and prosperity, respectively.
French Quarter Festival
The 4-day long French Quarter festival is a celebration of music, food, and Louisiana’s great weather. It takes place in the Spring, around the month of April every year. It is estimated that around 1,700 Louisiana musicians perform in the festival, making it larger than any other musical event in South New Orleans. The food and classic Louisiana cocktails keep up with the grandeur of the music festival.
Museums and Centers of Art
If you think New Orleans is all about its grand events and festive merry-making, you are mistaken. The city is an important center of history and art, and places around New Orleans reflect this. Let’s talk about some of the important centers of history and art.
The Museum of Death
The Museum of Death stands as a stark contrast to the festivities of New Orleans. It houses all things related to death and is definitely not for the faint-hearted. The exhibits are characterized by their loud, almost cartoonish appeal. It resembles a movie set with a spooky and macabre atmosphere. The place is full of graphic images. They also have a huge collection of writings and ephemera related to notorious serial killers. You can get souvenirs, postcards, and other items related to the collection in a small gift shop attached to the museum.
New Orleans Museum of Art
Shortened to NOMA, this museum is one of the most important in Louisiana. It has been in place since 1911 in the City Park. Exhibits include items from as far back as the Italian Renaissance, up to the modern era. Works of Picasso, Pissarro, Rodin, Braque, Dufy, Miró, Jackson Pollock, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe can be seen in their collection of art. It is an important center of American and French art, and the exhibits show the fusion of these two cultures. They even have a photography section that houses around 12000 photographs dating to the very inception of photography.
The National WWII Museum
Previously known as the National D-Day Museum, the National WWII Museum is dedicated to the contribution of brave soldiers of the United States in the second world war. Its accolades include the designation of America’s official National WWII Museum by the US Congress in 2003. The museum is a stunning complex of state-of-art buildings that accommodate thousands of visitors regularly. It has various theaters and pavilions dedicated to different wars or different aspects of the second world war. It houses exhibits of various items used in war and accounts of the horrors of WWII. The National WWII Museum is a must-visit if you want a broader perspective on the second world war and America’s role in it.