There are plenty of reasons why visiting New Orleans is on so many peoples’ bucket lists. Of course, all of the great food, drink and music are a major draw, but the Big Easy is a lot more than just the greatest party city in the world; it is also a hotbed for art and culture.
Most people visit the well-known areas such as the French Quarter and the Garden District, and rightfully so. They are definitely must-see destinations. But just adjacent to the French Quarter is an up and coming area called the Warehouse District, which is also known as the Arts District and has even been heralded as the “SOHO of the South.”
This historic neighborhood in the heart of downtown New Orleans is filled with amazing art galleries (on the first Saturday of each month, galleries host free receptions from 6-9 pm, often premiering new exhibitions), world-class museums, bars, hotels, and some of the best restaurants in the City.
Whenever I’m in NOLA, this is where I usually try to stay. It’s less touristy and more subdued than the French Quarter, but depending on where you stay, you’ll be close enough to walk to the Quarter and experience the wonders of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood. The Warehouse District is also where you’ll find the Convention Center, Harrah’s Casino, and The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, a shopping, dining and entertainment experience located on the majestic Mississippi River.
On my last visit I got the chance to do some museum-hopping, and one of my favorite stops was The Ogden Museum of Southern Art on Camp Street. Besides having the largest collection of artwork from Southern artists, the Ogden Museum also holds public events, lectures, film screenings and concerts. I began on the fifth floor, and was quite taken by the rich and vibrant paintings of local artist James Michalopoulos. Another current exhibit well worth seeing is the Colorful South exhibit, which has on display an array of fascinating color photographs depicting life in the South. The museum also has fun and educational activities for children, plus one of the best museum gift shops I have seen.
If you’re interested in war history, there are two museums in the Warehouse District that I highly recommend. The Civil War Museum houses one of the largest collections of Confederate memorabilia in the United States, including well-preserved uniforms, weapons, and personal items. You can’t miss the building: built in 1891, the brick Romanesque arches and columns stand in stark contrast to the modern buildings around it. The sprawling National World War II Museum is another treasure of the Warehouse District for war buffs. Featuring multimedia exhibits, immersive displays, and an expansive collection of artifacts, the museum highlights the major contributions the United States made during the war.
So whenever you get to cross off visiting New Orleans from your bucket list, make sure you don’t miss the bustling, vibrant Warehouse District!