New Orleans' Old World roots have created a strong foundation and long-standing appreciation for the arts. Early residents of the city often traveled back to Europe for musical instruction or training in the visual arts, and operatic performances took place in the city as early as 1796.
Today the scene thrives via countless galleries, performance spaces and museums. But perhaps what sets our cultural institutions apart from those of other cities is their ability to embody the joie de vivre (joy of life) so prevalent in New Orleans. So whether it is a Ralph Brennan restaurant in the New Orleans Museum of Art or Thursday night musical performances at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans' unique culture and love of food, music and fun blends perfectly with our vibrant arts scene creating experiences you can't find anywhere else.
Here you can learn more about some of the city's most popular cultural institutions and attractions.
This opera association carries on a performing arts tradition dating back to 1796, when the first opera in North America was performed in New Orleans.
The only musician-owned orchestra in North America is led by musical director Carlos Miguel Prieto, a rising star in the U.S. and Mexico for his dynamism and expressivity.
This nationally-recognized ballet association is the region's premiere presenting and service organization dedicated solely to the art of dance. NOBA's dynamic season features stellar performances from a variety of world-class dance companies.
New Orleans' only year-round professional theater, focuses on bold new-world and regional premiers by American playwrights.
The premier art museum of the Gulf South is world-renowned for its photography, decorative glass collection and its collections of French, Asian, African and American art.
This University of New Orleans museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and home to the largest and most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world.
Located in the heart of the New Orleans Arts District, the CAC is home to bold experiments in painting, theater, photography, performance, music, video sculpture and more.
This studio offers breathtaking demonstrations of glassmaking and invites visitors to participate in the design process. The studio offers a range of demonstrations, from glassblowing and glass torch-working to copper enameling and Italian-style marbling.
Over 20 local artists own and operate Dutch Alley Artist Co-op. Any day there are three or four artists working at the gallery. Local art from Katrina salvaged materials, blown glass, wood-turnings, Raku pottery, hand-dyed silk items, custom jewelry, photography and paintings are just a few of the unique original artwork items that can be found in the gallery.
Located in the French Quarter, this collection is the best introduction to New Orleans history you can get. Four exhibition spaces depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays on the evolution of Louisiana to rotating art and history exhibits.
This flagship building of The Louisiana State Museum is the site of the Louisiana Purchase. The building served as the Louisiana State Supreme Court until 1908 and was the location of the landmark decision in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1892. Today it houses exhibitions on the Purchase and on Louisiana history, including one of Napoleon's death masks.
Designed in 1791 to match the Cabildo, the Presbytere is located beside St. Louis Cathedral and was originally the residence of the Capuchin Monks. The museum's two permanent exhibits include a celebration of Mardi Gras and a commemoration of Hurricane Katrina.
Located at 632 Dumain Street in the French Quarter, Madame John's is an excellent example of Louisiana Creole residential design at the end of the 18th century and is now a National Historic Landmark. The architectural complex consists of three buildings: the main house, kitchen with cooks quarters and two-story garconniere. It, too, is part of The Louisiana State Museum.
The Old U.S. Mint is the only building in America to have served as both a U.S. and Confederate Mint. In 1981, the Greek Revival-style National Historic Landmark opened to the public as a museum. The Mint now houses an extensive jazz exhibition, including Louis Armstrong's first cornet, Fats Domino's piano and much more. You can even catch live performances at the historic building as a part of their Music at the Mint program.
A prime example of antebellum architecture in New Orleans, the 1850 House offers a glimpse of middle- and upper-class life during the most prosperous period in New Orleans' history. The house is a part of the Lower Pontalba Building, which was built by the Baroness Pontalba and was the first apartment building in the United States.
Located in the historic Faubourg Tremé, one of America's oldest black neighborhoods, the museum is comprised of 7 historic buildings and is anchored by the lovely Tremé Villa. The museum features rotating exhibits as well as a fine collection of African artwork and crafts. The museum acts as a gateway the Tremé and offers walking and bus tours of the neighborhood.
This historical gem transports you to a time when victory hung in the balance. Guaranteed to move and educate, The National WWII Museum features a 4D cinematic experience, interactive exhibits, soaring aircraft, personal histories and more.