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A world-class museum focused on the stories and heroics of a bitter global war 

We are approaching a time when only a few people who served in World War II and even those who were children at the time are elderly. So, with this generation leaving us what is the context of a museum dedicated to this war. Well, as with all history there are hopefully lessons we can learn from past mistakes and successes. Sadly, looking at what is happening in the world today humanity seems to forget all too easy its part errors.

Anyway, what took me to the World-War II museum is my love of history. When I was at school in the UK I spent many months studying the wars of the 20th Century – particularly World War I and II. So, I was curious as to how this museum would deal with this subject – would it be just a celebration of the contribution of the United States?

A powerful bronze statue outside the National WWII Museum
The main entry hall

The Museum

The Exhibits

A Dakota hanging from the ceiling in the main entry hall

Once you have bought your entry ticket you are given a dog tag and boarded upon a train carriage. The carriage doesn’t move, just made to feel too, and there is a short movie that runs on a screen on the back of the seat in front of you that introduces you to the museum. Here you are introduced to the person whose journey you follow throughout the museum using the dog tag (there are several stations to explore his or her story en route).

The museum is made up of a complex of buildings. The first building is dedicated to the build-up to the war, the mobilization inside the US and the D-Day landings. 

World War II armaments
The Nation goes to War
The US forces were greatly outnumbered
Uniforms of German and US soldiers
A display of German uniforms and weapons

There was one display that really caught my eye it covered the role of minorities who bravely fought in the US forces, despite being treated as second class citizens at home and the shocking internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps.

African Americans signed up to fight despite the way they were treated at home

To access the rest of the halls you have to cross the street via a sky bridge. There are two major exhibitions covering the war in the Pacific and the war in Europe. These galleries are extremely well done with a focus on multimedia displays and tableaux of scenes from each theatre of war. I loved it. I especially loved the journey through the war in the Pacific. When I studied World-War II in school, in the UK, it obviously had a strong focus on Europe so I hadn’t learned a lot about Pacific theatre – I have read books and seen films but this exhibition really helped me understand how the war developed in this region leading the devastating nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Scene from The War in Europe display
The War in Asia display
Scenes from the War in Asia displays

Well, that was all very intense. Moving on from these two major exhibits I went to check out the gallery sponsored by Boeing, which is of course focused primarily on aircraft (there is oddly a submarine exhibit here too). This galley is used for functions, indeed it was being set up for one when I toured, so most of the exhibits are suspended in the air above. Quite fitting for a display of aircraft! Anyway, you are not restricted to viewing these classic flying machines looking towards the sky – there are two levels of walkways (those suffering from vertigo beware) that take you in and above the planes.

Mustang PII - The Boeing Gallery
Vought F4U Corsair
SBD-3 Dauntless Dive Bomber
Boeing B-17E Flying Fortress
North American B-25 Mitchell

Planning your visit to the World War II Museum

Getting around New Orleans

The best ways to get around New Orleans are on foot and by public transportation. The city’s neighbourhoods are very compact, making them perfect for strolling sightseers. If you don’t feel like walking, hop on one of the famous streetcars. Another option is cycling. Since New Orleans is flat, it’s easy to get around by bike. You can rent a bike from several companies. To get into the city from the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) – located about 15 miles west of downtown New Orleans – you can take the Airport Shuttle for $24 per person one-way or $44 per person round-trip. The shuttle services the downtown and uptown districts as well as the French Quarter. Taxis are also available, but you can expect to pay $36 to get from the airport into the Central Business District and the French Quarter. Uber and Lyft are also widely available.

Streetcars, run by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority, have been a staple attraction ever since Tennessee Williams’ play, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and they are a fun way to navigate the city. While many of them were replaced by less romantic buses, they have since made a comeback and are once again running in central New Orleans. The bus – although less charming than the streetcar – features more extensive routes. Operating hours for both streetcars and the buses vary by line. Consult the RTA website for more information. Nearly all of the city’s top attractions, such as the Garden District, City Park and the New Orleans Museum of Art, can be reached via streetcar or bus.

For more information about the public transport options check out the Regional Transport Authority website: https://www.norta.com/

Best time to visit New Orleans

The best time to visit New Orleans is from February to May when the weather is comfortably cool and the celebrations are in full swing. If you’re not interested in Mardi Gras mania, plan to visit in December or January, when the city is calm and you don’t have to worry about making hotel reservations a year in advance.

Vegan dining in New Orleans

1. SWEET SOULFOOD

Sweet Soulfood, has a modest storefront, so you could easily miss it. Like the exterior, the inside is modestly decorated, definitely more cafeteria than home comfort, with plain wooden tables and not too comfortable chairs. I went there at the end of the day, so it was very quiet, but I understand it is often packed with people.

The food is buffet style, with a dozen or so options from entrees to veggie sides. The good thing is that this place is 100% vegan so you don’t have to think a lot about what you choose. You pay by the number of dishes you choose to have on your plate – I was definitely feeling peckish so I ended up with four different selections including an eggplant lasagne, a curry and a couple of veggie sides – including some delicious portabello mushrooms in gravy. The menu changes daily.

2. CARMO

From the descriptions and reviews, I had read of the CarmoI was really looking forward to trying this place out

“From Southeast Asia to West Africa, the Caribbean, South America & beyond, experience the world’s tropical foodways infused with flavorful local ingredients & narrative.”

Well, that sounded fun and reading on I discovered they have a strong commitment to sustainability. I didn’t need to hear any more so off I trotted to grab some lunch.

Immediately as I walked in I was impressed by how warm and friendly the staff were. Their greetings were totally effervescent. I also like places that have an open kitchen – for some reason, it comforts me to be able to see where the food is prepared (or not if it looks bad!).

I also fell in love with the layout of the place. There were cosy areas if you want a quiet place to chat with friends or big wide open spaces if you desire more air. They have also adorned their walls with some interesting and eclectic works of art.

Address: 527 Julia Street, New Orleans, LA, 70130

Telephone: (504)-875-4132

3. VEGAN WIT’ A TWIST

Three barbers decided to try their hands at running a vegan restaurant and the result was Vegan Wit’ A Twist.

This is fast food. Vegan With a Twist takes your favorite comfort foods and transforms them into delicious vegan dishes. Cauliflower tacos and wings, “hot sausage” burgers, wraps and more can be found at Vegan With a Twist. Just along St. Bernard Avenue, this is the perfect pre or post Jazz Fest spot to indulge in without the added guilt. 

 

Address: 514 South Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA

Where to stay in New Orleans

1. INN AT THE OLD JAIL

Lock yourself up at the Inn at the Old Jail for a unique vacation getaway. Originally built as a New Orleans police jail and patrol station in 1902, the striking Queen Anne-style Inn combines historic preservation with modern amenities.

Wanting to pay homage to the NOPD, the innkeepers restored the rooms and public spaces to salute the city’s brave men and women in blue. Its nine bedrooms are rich with architectural details and antiques, including original police memorabilia. Even the Inn’s Yvonne Bechet Library is named after the highest-ranking female officer in NOPD history, who served at the Old Jail stationhouse for 22 years.

If you’re curious about history, it’s the perfect place for you, but don’t forget to also enjoy the wonderful city of New Orleans. Stop by the Uptown New Orleans Historic District, drink your way through Bourbon Street or visit the infamous French Quarter.

2. OLIVER HOUSE HOTEL

Located in the heart of the French Quarter and just one-minute away from lively Bourbon Street, Olivier House Hotel is a charming two-and-a-half-pearl, boutique-style property with 42 guest rooms. This old courtyard mansion has oodles of Old World charm. Guest rooms are arranged around two delightful inner courtyards filled with plants and trees; while the balconies provide views of the greenery and swimming pool below. Rooms and suites are decorated in an old-fashioned style with antique furniture, fireplaces, and oil paintings. Downsides include noise and lack of a restaurant or breakfast service. A similar historic property in the French Quarter worth considering as an alternative is the mid-range Hotel Provincial. 

3. LA BELLE ESPLANADE

The most interesting place to stay in America’s most interesting city. Visit New Orleans like you belong here. Located in a picturesque neighborhood that is close to everything but off the usual tourist radar, La Belle Esplanade will surprise and delight with it’s quirky authentic details, locally sourced breakfasts, and lively intelligent conversation. You have at least two friends in New Orleans.

 

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