As the birthplace of jazz and boasting nearly 50 museums in within the city, New Orleans, Louisiana is a mecca for arts and culture. In partnership with New Orleans, let’s explore the colorful and unique history that traverses food, literature, music, and art when you visit this vibrant city, and embark on experiencing the New Orleans, Louisiana arts and culture scene.
Head to the French Quarter to experience a bite of the original beignets. These pillowy, square, fried baked goods covered in a snowfall of powdered sugar is a must, and the place to get it is Café du Monde. Café du Monde is a New Orleans tradition. Serving up coffee and beignets since 1862 at the New Orleans French Market, today the 24-hour coffee stand has only beignets and coffee & chicory on the menu, but don’t let the simplicity fool you, it is one of the most famous and most memorable institutions in the city.
If you haven’t yet gotten your fill of beignets, or want to try beignets with a twist, travel to Magazine St. and visit The Vintage. The art deco-inspired café is enough to draw you in, but the beignet flight with rotating flavors will keep you coming back for more. Have your choice of three of the flavors of the day, including: raspberry, matcha, s’mores, and pineapple upside down cake.
America’s most charming bookstore is located on the hidden street of Pirate’s Alley, just off of Jackson Square. Founded in 1988, Faulkner House Books used to be a residence for the writer, William Faulkner, who is said to still haunt the indie bookstore. Nearby, Baldwin & Co. is a new, black-owned bookstore who use “the power of books to inspire social justice”. The bookstore frequently donates hundreds of books to impoverished communities and is a gathering place for writers and artists alike.
Ever wonder what it takes to make a float for Mardi Gras? Wonder no more. For a behind-the-scenes look at Mardi Gras, head over to Mardi Gras World. These bigger-than-life pieces of art range from recognizable characters to pop culture artists to everyone in-between.
We had the pleasure of visiting Mardi Gras World with Adriane “Missy” Butler, founder of Lasalle & Jackson™, a clothing and design wear company with unique, colorful prints and tropical patterns that carry Dutch, African, and vintage influence.
“After going to school in New York, I taught myself to sew a long time ago, and came back home to New Orleans. I make everything here in New Orleans, Louisiana,” says Butler, “New Orleans’ influence in my work is that there’s always a celebration of life and always a celebration, going on. I create garments that reflect that – that make you feel good.”
Sunset will never be the same after you come aboard the Steamboat Natchez for a riverboat ride on the Mississippi River. Enjoy a Creole dinner buffet on the lower decks and then climb your way to the top to listen to tunes from the Grammy-nominated Dukes of Dixieland Jazz trio. As the skies change colors from pink to purple, bask yourself to the relaxing and lively tunes of jazz.
For street art, delicious coffee and baked goods, head to La Boulangerie. Across the street from the bakery is the first mural that Danielle Hein, founder and artist of Miss Hein Art completed in 2019. We had a chance to sit down and talk to her about how being a “fish in a diverse, extraordinary pond” of New Orleans, Louisiana has influenced her worldly art.
As a nearby yoga teacher, Hein was bothered by the bland walls of the auto shop she passed by everyday on her way to the studio. Finally, she mustered the courage to approach the owner about commissioning a large-scale mural on his walls. He agreed, and despite many challenges, including a hurricane, scaffolding being taken, and multi-surfaces to work with, over a year later, “Stained Glass” was born.
“Because of the creative, hardworking, humble art community, there’s no VIP culture – here, in New Orleans, Louisiana, everyone is on the same playing field. This pushes me to experiment with different things,” says Hein, “I become my own character in the play of this life.”
The Best Western Plus Westbank will charm you from the moment you walk in, from its winding staircase in the lobby, to its hall of fame hallway that opens up into the atrium.
Start your morning with homemade beignets and fresh brewed New Orleans coffee – included with the complimentary breakfast and grab a drink or two at the Sportsman’s Bar in the afternoon. Your spacious, modern rooms are a perfect place to relax after a day of exploring.
From Southern hospitality to Cajun cuisine, to a spirit of year-long festivities, Louisiana is a place rich with history, arts & culture, and adventure. Start your Louisiana adventure today when you book your stay with Best Western® Hotels & Resorts Louisiana.