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Upcoming Events

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“Awash with Color:…

Feb 9 - May 21, 2016
Join us at the Historic New Orleans Collection for the new exhibition… more

18th Annual Dr.…

Feb 9 - Mar 31, 2016
Join us for the opening reception for the 18th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King… more

2 Chainz + Migos…

Feb 9 - 9, 2016
MARDI GRAS MADNESS with 2Chainz and Migos more

2016 Mardi Grad…

Feb 9 - 9, 2016
Mardi Gras - 2016 Parade Schedule Sat,… more

David Hansen's Garden…

Feb 09, 2016
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

Maple Leaf Bar…

Feb 9 - Sep 27, 2016
Join us for live entertainment featuring the Grammy Award winning ReBirth Brass… more

Mardi Gras Balcony…

Feb 9 - 9, 2016
MARDI GRAS BOURBON STREET BALCONY TICKETS 6 HOURS OPEN BAR, LOUISIANA BUFFET… more

Mardi Gras Day 2016

Feb 9 - 9, 2016
Fat Tuesday! Mardi Gras remains an event and a spirit that must be… more

Patriot, Planter,…

Feb 9 - Mar 20, 2016
NOMA will present the first exhibition to focus on the works of Pierre-Joseph… more

Singer/Songerwriter…

Feb 09, 2016 - Jan 06, 2026
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages. House of Blues New Orleans hosts a new weekly… more

The Foundation…

Feb 9 - 28, 2016
*Opening Reception: January 15, 2016 - 6pm-10pm The Foundation Gallery will be… more

The Historic New…

Feb 9 - May 7, 2016
In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War I, The Historic New… more

The Photography of…

Feb 9 - Mar 1, 2016
The Photography of Modernist Cuisine: The Exhibition, a collection of over 50… more

Tim Youd: 100 Novels

Feb 9 - 21, 2016
Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Tim Youd will visit NOMA to perform the… more

Ultimate Louisiana…

Feb 9 - 9, 2016
This is a three-day festival from Feb 7th-9th, 2016. The Human Circuit plays… more

Architecture Camp

Feb 10 - 10, 2016
Learn about the unique Architecture that makes our city special. Practice your… more

Blaze Pizza's Wine…

Feb 10 - 24, 2016
Join as at Blaze Pizza New Orleans for Wine Down Wednesday. Purchase a glass of… more

Comedy Gold hosted by…

Feb 10, 2016 - Jan 07, 2026
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages (content may not be appropriate for all ages).… more

Elixir (Vintage Night)

Feb 10, 2016 - Jan 11, 2017
Elixir (Vintage Night) is every second Wednesday of the month!!! Featuring… more

New Orleans Pelicans…

Feb 10 - 10, 2016
New Orleans Pelicans vs Utah Jazz. Come experience NBA basketball at its best… more

“Awash with Color:…

Feb 9 - May 21, 2016
Join us at the Historic New Orleans Collection for the new exhibition… more

Seeking the Unknown: Natural History Observations in Louisiana, 1698–1840 at the Historic New Orleans Collection

The exhibition Seeking the Unknown: Natural History Observations in Louisiana, 1698-1840 presents objects that provide a broad historical background for the study of Louisiana's natural history-from taxidermied animals, specimens in jars, and pressed plants to lavishly illustrated folios.

The Historic New Orleans Collection relives the romance and mystery of Louisiana's early scientific expeditions with its latest exhibition, Seeking the Unknown: Natural History Observations in Louisiana, 1698-1840. On view through June 2, at 533 Royal St., the free exhibition is available to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Louisiana's lush and distinctive environment has long played into the state's identity, evidenced by monikers like "the Sportsman's Paradise," "the Bayou State" and "the Pelican state." Records from some of the first explorers prove that the area's flora, fauna and native people were compelling centuries ago. The new exhibition draws on reports from early European explorers, their accounts kicking off a flurry of interest in the New World's environment that lasted well into the 19th century. Scientific curiosity-in addition to economic potential and romantic notions-motivated the brave men and women who tackled the strange terrain and its sometimes harsh climate.

"The curious nature of many of the naturalists and explorers of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries is something that never goes out of fashion. Regardless of the era or the field, curiosity drives discovery," said John H. Lawrence, director of museum programs at THNOC and exhibition co-curator. "This exhibition will give visitors a better understanding of what early explorers and scientists saw in Louisiana's forests, swamps, rivers and shores."

Lawrence and fellow co-curator Gilles-Antoine Langlois of the National School of Architecture at Versailles, University Paris-Est Créteil, chose objects that provide a broad historical background for early observations of the Louisiana landscape. The display comprises selections from THNOC's holdings plus loaned items from several institutions in the state and four French archives. Together, these pieces spotlight particular individuals whose work was influential in recording the natural history of Louisiana.

"With rare exception, the often groundbreaking work of these men was, during their lifetime, known to a relatively small audience," Langlois wrote in his essay for the exhibition catalogue. "They were unacknowledged collectors of scientific treasures, operating in the shadows, suffering fevers and other unimaginable hardships, rarely receiving widespread recognition or other acclaim. This exhibition finally brings some of their previously invisible work to light."

Items on display include centuries-old plant and animal specimens-including a bobcat, a cougar and a Mississippi map turtle-collected by various explorers and scientists. The exhibition even features several reptile specimens in jars that were collected in the 1830s. Detailed drawings, watercolors and illustrated folios-including several by John James Audubon-are also part of the display.

"It's pretty amazing to see examples of plants and animals that were collected in Louisiana hundreds of years ago," Lawrence said. "Many of them seem so commonplace to us today-a brown pelican, an alligator gar, Spanish moss-but just imagine seeing something like that for the first time. That's what this exhibition is about."

This exhibition is presented in conjunction with the 18th annual Williams Research Center Symposium Seeking the Unknown: Perspectives on Louisiana's Natural History.