New Orleans is adding to its already diverse collection of
attractions with new museums, exhibits, casinos, theme parks and
gardens. The new attractions alone would be enough to fill most
tour itineraries. Following is a sampling:
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art will be a
one-of-a-kind museum when it opens next year. The facility will
tell the story of the visual arts in the American South, showcasing
the best of the past, present and future in Southern culture.
A $13.5 million development, the Ogden will be located at Lee
Circle, a historic city district where several buildings are being
restored to serve as the University of New Orleans' Lee Circle
Center for the Arts. The cornerstone of the Ogden's collection is
about 600 works from 15 Southern states donated by Roger Ogden, a
New Orleans real estate dealer and art collector. The collection
includes 19th- and 20th-century paintings, watercolors, prints,
ceramics, sculpture and photographs.
Last December the museum received its first gift -- 378 works by
Will Henry Stevens, a professor at Newcomb Art School from 1921 to
1948 and one of New Orleans' modern art pioneers. The artist's
daughter, Janet Stevens McDowell, donated the $3.7 million
collection, which includes charcoal drawings, paintings, pastels
and watercolors. Call (504) 539-6900.Evergreen Plantation, the largest intact
antebellum plantation in the South, has been opened to the public
through New Orleans Tours. Located on 2,268 acres on River Road in
St. John the Baptist Parish, the plantation house is a Greek
Revival structure dating to 1790. It includes a double row of 22
Guided tours are offered daily Tuesdays through Saturdays. A
full-day excursion leaves New Orleans at 9:30 a.m. and arrives at
Evergreen for a morning tour. Before continuing to Laura
Plantation, another historic area estate, lunch is available at a
nearby Cajun restaurant. The tour returns to New Orleans by about
4:30 p.m. A half-day trip leaves at 1:30 p.m., visits Evergreen and
arrives back in the city at about 4:30 p.m. The full-day tour is
priced at $48 for adults and $24 for children. The half-day program
costs $36 for adults and $18 for children. Call (504) 592-0560.Harrah's New Orleans Casino is slated to open
next fall between Canal Street and Poydras Street on the
Mississippi River in the heart of the tourism and convention
district. The $119 million facility will feature 120 table games
and 2,900 slot machines as well as a 250-seat buffet
The casino will have five separate themed sections or "courts."
The Court of Good Fortune will be a VIP players' area. The Jazz
Court, the casino's grand foyer, will feature 55-foot ceilings and
an artificial live oak tree more than five stories high with limbs
spanning 50 feet over the casino.
The Smugglers Court, one of the casino's main attractions, will
house a 30-foot-long animated pirate ship on a fantasy-like
shipwreck scene with "real" pirates. The Mardi Gras Court will
feature three 30-foot-long Mardi Gras floats plus French Quarter
building facades. The Court of the Mansion, the facility's
nongaming area, will include a New Orleans mansion facade and a
10,000-square-foot ballroom. Call (504) 533-6000.The National D-Day Museum is slated to open
next spring. The country's first museum dedicated to the Allied
invasion of Normandy in World War II, the facility will be located
at Magazine and Howard streets in the Warehouse District. Exhibits
will tell the story of American amphibious operations around the
world during World War II, with emphasis on the Normandy landings.
Period film footage, uniforms, maps and documents, weapons,
artifacts, photos and military equipment will be featured. Call
(504) 527-6012.Jazzland, a 140-acre theme park, is expected
to open by next year. Located about 12 miles from downtown New
Orleans, the park will offer entertainment, regional food, a
variety of music, a lawn amphitheater, games and more than 25
The Great Lawn will feature outdoor concerts, while the Jazz
Plaza will take visitors back to old New Orleans with the Jazz
Hall's shows and cuisine. The Pontchartrain Beach area will
re-create an amusement park with rides, shops and waterskiing
shows. There will also be a Children's Area and a nightly Mardi
Gras parade. Call (504) 586-8305.ArtWorks, scheduled to open next year in the
Warehouse Arts District, will be a new home for Louisiana visual
artists and a showcase for the Louisiana Artists Guild. It will
also offer a range of educational programs. Call (504)
523-1465.The Longue Vue House and Gardens has opened
the new Lucy C. Roussel Discovery Garden, an interactive facility
for children. Elements of natural and designed whimsy found
throughout the half-acre garden include a bamboo tunnel, a
participatory human sundial, a secret garden with magical "rooms"
to discover, a maze of herbs, a hydroponic garden where the kids
can learn about the relationship between plants and water, and a
design area where children are encouraged to create their own
garden designs by raking patterns and arranging plants. Other
garden activities for the kids include planting, potting, tying,
staking, watering, composting and worm-digging. The center for the
garden's activities is the renovated Lath House, an historic
Longue Vue is an eight-acre city estate that was the home of New
Orleans philanthropists Edgar Bloom Stern, a cotton broker, and his
wife Edith Rosenwald Stern, daughter of Sears entrepreneur Julius
Rosenwald. The Classical Revival mansion was built between 1939 and
1942. Extensive gardens surround and complement the estate.
Longue Vue is open Mondays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for
children. Call (504) 488-5488.The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is
presenting Degas and New Orleans: A French Impressionist in
America. The exhibit, to run through Aug. 29, is being held in
association with FrancoFete, the 300th anniversary of French
influence in Louisiana.
The exhibition brings together works painted by Edgar Degas
during his visit to New Orleans in 1872 and 1873. The artist's
mother was born in New Orleans, and he was the only major French
Impressionist to travel to the U.S. At the time of his visit, both
of his brothers were in business and living with their
French-Creole relatives in the city.
The exhibition features 17 of the 22 works he is thought to have
executed during his stay in New Orleans. Many other paintings on
loan from private collections and museums throughout the world are
included in the exhibition. Among them is "A Cotton House in New
Orleans." The Musee des Beaux-Arts in Pau purchased the work in
1878, making it the first Impressionist painting purchased by a
French museum. Objects documenting French-Creole life and Degas'
Louisiana relatives are also a part of the exhibition.
Individual tickets are on sale through TicketMaster at (800)
409-9959. Advance group tickets also can be reserved. Group
reservations for 20 or more clients can be booked through NOMA on a
first-come basis by calling (504) 488-2631.
The newly renovated Sheraton New Orleans, the official host
hotel for the exhibition, is offering specially themed packages for
clients, available through Aug. 29. The Degas Package includes
deluxe accommodations, two museum admission tickets to the
exhibition per room reservation and a welcome packet of premium
offers. The package is priced at $129 per night, double. The Degas
Deluxe Package features accommodations on the hotel's Club Level,
continental breakfast and evening hors d'oeuvres in the Club
Lounge, two museum admission tickets to the exhibition per room
reservation and a welcome packet of premium offers. The package is
priced at $159 per night, double. For more information, call (877)
66-DEGAS.New Orleans: Contact Information
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art: (504) 539-6900.
Evergreen Plantation: (504) 592-0560.
Harrah's New Orleans Casino: (504) 533-6000.
The National D-Day Museum: (504) 527-6012.
Jazzland: (504) 586-8305.
ArtWorks: (504) 523-1465.
Lucy C. Roussel Discovery Garden: (504) 488-5488.
The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA): Individual tickets are on
TicketMaster at (800) 409-9959; Group reservations for 20 or more
can be booked through NOMA on a first-come basis by calling (504)
For more information, call (877) 66-DEGAS.