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The Ogden Museum houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art

I have recently been on a run of visiting art museums, so in visiting New Orleans I thought I would drop into the Ogden Museum of Southwestern Art. Located in the vibrant Warehouse District, not too far from the ever-popular French Quarter, this museum holds the largest collection of Southwestern Art. The actual exhibits change frequently, there were some under construction when I visited, so I would check the website to see what is currently showing.

The exhibition spaces cover four floors, each with several galleries. This is not a huge place so, depending on how long you spend admiring the works you can fit this comfortably into an hour or two.

I went in with little expectation, but I was wowed by the quality of the artwork, most of which is contemporary (which I prefer!) So, having thought this might be a quick half-hour jaunt I actually ended up spending 90 minutes perusing the galleries. I loved it! It also helped that it was very quiet – unlike my recent visit to the Rijksmuseum – so I was in a serene setting that allowed me to enjoy the works of art and soak in the atmosphere.

There are some other museums and galleries in the adjacent area, including the fabulous National World-War II Museum – so you can easily make a half or full day of exploration without going too far.

Planning your visit to the Ogden Museum

Location: 925 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Website:ogdenmuseum.org

Hours:

Daily 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM (open to 8 pm on Thursdays)
Admission fees:Adults: $13.50; Seniors (65 and over), Students, Active Military $11; Children (5-17): $6.75, Children (Under 5): Free

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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