New Orleans - 300 years Young and Counting

Written by  Lillian Africano

Cruise passengers whose boats dock in New Orleans always have a rich variety of activities and culinary options. And those who have a pre- or post-cruise stay in the city also have an opportunity to dig deeper into the pleasures of the French Quarter.

This year, in celebration of the city’s 300 years of history, cruise passengers have even more to celebrate, with special events and special promotions throughout the city. Here are just a few.

Through June, the iconic St. Louis Church will feature an exhibition that includes photographs, portraits, letters and incredibly preserved artifacts to depict the 300-year history of the Catholic church in the Crescent City.

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art has staged “Salazar: A Portrait Painter in Spanish New Orleans” showcasing the portraits of Louisiana’s earliest known artist. The exhibit aims to contextualize his art, created during Spanish rule of Louisiana, by illustrating the lives of his subjects.

This fall (October 25, 2018 – January 27, 2019), the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) will present The Orléans Collection, an exhibition of selections from the magnificent collection of the city’s namesake, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans (1689-1723). His exceptional collection included some of the world’s greatest works in the history of art, including paintings by Raphael, Titian, Veronese and Rembrandt. At the Duke’s death, the collection of 772 works remained in his family for two generations until it was sold in London. Its dispersal contributed to the formation of Europe’s first public museums. The Orléans Collection now brings together some of the Duke’s masterpieces for the first time since their dispersal, telling the story of the collection’s formation and character.

Also in the fall, the third campus of the Historic New Orleans Collection, the renovated 19th century Seignouret-Brulatour Building, will open in the French Quarter with the exhibition titled “Art of the City: Postmodern to Post-Katrina,” presented by The Helis Foundation. It will feature works of contemporary art from more than 75 artists.

In November, the French-American Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Coast hosts the Tricentennial Fête des Fromages at the Old U.S. Mint in the French Quarter, featuring cheeses from around the world.

At year’s end (December 1-31, 2018) , the Arts Council will present Luna Fête, whichfeatures an unusual art installation a festival of light that uses the city’s iconic architecture as the canvas for large-scale and inspiring contemporary light and video mapping.

A number of hotels are offering special tricentennial packages. A sampling:

The Ace New Orleans, a vibrant boutique hotel where there is always a celebration of some kind going on, is located in the Warehouse District near art galleries, shopping, museums and bars. It’s also easily accessible to the iconic French Quarter and the South Market District, as well as the Sports and Arts Districts. Using the code Tricentennial, guests can get 15% off weekday rates and 10% off weekend rates.

Dauphine Orleans has a package that includes 3-night accommodations, a welcome beverage, complimentary light continental breakfast, a Super City Tour for two, a daytime Riverboat Tour for two, beignets and coffee for two at Cafe du Monde and admission for two to the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. Guests also get complimentary Wi-Fi, plus in-room bottled water and coffee. Bookings must be made at least three days in advance; use promo code CCC.

The package at the Bourbon Orleans also requires the code CCC and booking at least three days in advance. It includes 3-night accommodations, a welcome cocktail at Bourbon “O” Bar for two, a Super City Tour for two, a daytime Riverboat Tour for two, beignets and coffee for two at Cafe du Monde and admission for two to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. Also included: complimentary Wi-Fi, as well as in-room bottled water and coffee.

The NOPSI Hotel, the former historic headquarters of the New Orleans Public Service, Inc. (NOPSI), has a Thrice is Nice package with a 3-night minimum and includes 30 percent savings off regular rates, with $100 per day credit that can be used at any of the hotel’s F&B outlets. This offer is valid Sunday-Thursday.

The package at the Hotel Mazarin requires 3-day advance booking and uses the code CCC. It includes 3--night accommodations, daily deluxe continental breakfast, a Super City Tour for two, a daytime Riverboat Tour for two, beignets and coffee for two at the renowned Cafe du Monde and admission for two to the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. Other perks: a complimentary cocktail at the property’s 21st Amendment at Louisiane Bar, complimentary in-room bottled water and coffee and complimentary WiFi.

Throughout the city, various restaurants and bars have their own celebrations. The much-celebrated Arnaud’s in the French Quarter is celebrating its 100th anniversaries with special events throughout the year.

At Commander’s Palace, which celebrates its 125th birthday this year, the famous weekend Jazz Brunch is better than ever.

The city’s bartenders have come up with a variety of tricentennial cocktails, for example SoBou’s specialty cocktail, the grilled satsuma-infused Vieux Carré cocktail made with rye, cognac, sweet vermouth, Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters--or Compère Lapin’s the Ti’ Centennial Punch. But the Gray Line offers what they call “The Original Cocktail Walking Tour,” with opportunities to sample and learn about classics with a New Orleans history, from the Sazerac and Pimm's Cup to the Ramos Gin Fizz and Absinthe.

Bottom Line: The Crescent City is even better this anniversary year.


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