Layers of New Orleans’ French Quarter – Part Two

Continuing to inspect the many layers of this historic area of New Orleans, I decided to write one more post before I leave the city. It will probably be another year before we get back. Although not in the French Quarter, my only regret this visit was I didn’t get to go through Louisiana’s Civil War Museum (www.confederatemuseum.com). Better known as the Confederate Museum, it is located at 929 Camp Street right around the corner from the World War II Museum. Darn if it wasn’t closed during the month of September. One New Orleans native told me it was closed for dusting, like I believed that explanation. My husband says the lady could tell I have the word “gullible” printed in big block letters all over my forehead.

Wandering toward the Mississippi River from the French Quarter is the Audubon Aquarium of the America (www.AudubonInstitute.org). It is located at 1 Canal Street at the River. There is also a butterfly garden and insectarium, along with an IMAC theatre in the same area, but I focused on the aquarium since I would be meeting hubby for lunch during his seminar break. My one adult ticket was $22.50, which I thought was a bit pricy, until I spent some time wandering around the impressive exhibits. I loved the Caribbean reef tunnel with its array of sea life. The scuba diver hand feeding the stingrays was the highlight. For some reason I neglected to pick up a map. It actually made it more of a surprise when I happened upon all the different habitat areas containing penguins, sea otters, seahorses, the Amazon Rain Forest and so much more. There are combo tickets available which provide savings for those visiting multiple attractions, children and lots more time.

The Historic New Orleans Collection (www.hnoc.org) is a lovely museum located at 523 Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter. Closed on Mondays and some holidays, it focuses on the history of New Orleans, and what an interesting history it is! Hidden among the many galleries and shops along Royal Street, I know I’ve passed by the museum storefront a hundred times and never knew it was there. The Williams Galleries and special exhibits are FREE with lots of interesting art, maps and artifacts. The special exhibit that began October 1 and runs until March 9, 2014, is “Occupy New Orleans Voices from the Civil War.” They also offer docent tours of the Williams residence for just five dollars. I highly recommend this tour! It lasts about 45 minutes and starts with a short movie and then on through a historic counting house. You are also walked through the 1889 townhouse that was remodeled in the 1940’s. Containing several lovely courtyards and family possessions, it was owned by a prominent family in New Orleans. They took five small pieces of French Quarter property and combined it into one which now houses the museum galleries and townhouse as well as a great little gift shop. What a treasure … and right on Royal Street. Who knew?

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