Rainy Days and Mondays
Indoor activities for a rainy Memorial Day weekend
For as much as we pretend we are in control of our natural world, harnessing the power of mighty rivers, splitting atoms and whatnot, when we book those flights and hotel rooms for a vacation there is no way to really plan for Mother Nature’s mood.
Showing up early and in a very unladylike manner, Mother Nature is starting hurricane season sooner than usual in New Orleans this year. As of Tuesday night, the National Weather Service is predicting a 50 percent chance that a tropical cyclone will develop in the Gulf of Mexico and bring heavy rains to the Gulf Coast. It’s still too soon to tell how much rain we’ll get, but a wise person might want to have a game plan at the ready. Here are a few of my favorite indoor adventures.
Go see a movie.
If you are younger than 25 years old, let me explain: There are places called “movie theaters” where large groups of people convene to watch the same movie at the same time on one big screen, rather than each watching individual YouTube videos on individual smart phones. It’s fun. This weekend brings the next installment of Disney getting my money with “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” There are superhero movies out too and the one I’m most excited about is “RGB,” the biopic about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Cinebarre Canal Place 9 is a fancy theater for ages 18 and up that offers adult beverages and a menu of specialty popcorn, sandwiches and pizzas. For a throwback movie experience, head to The Prytania Theatre. It was established as a neighborhood theater in 1914 and remains a local favorite today.
Get lost in a museum.
New Orleans is a little big city. We benefit from a variety of traditional cultural institutions, all of which have air conditioning. The National WWII Museum was ranked the No. 2 museum in the world and in the U.S. by Trip Advisor. It has so many intriguing exhibits it’s easy to spend an entire day there. It also has a good restaurant, live performances and a gift shop that is as well-curated as the museum itself.
For art lovers and fashionistas, New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) currently has its first exhibition of fashion design, in addition to other special exhibitions ranging from the Renaissance to the radio with “Lee Friedlander: American Musicians,” works of photography of mid-century musicians. If the rain stops, you can also head outdoors to the sculpture garden, one of my favorite spots in NOLA.
Pick a bar and stay there.
Some of the best conversations are had at bars when the patrons had other plans, but somehow ended up together in the same spot in the same moment. Getting caught in the rain can force all sorts of people into places they wouldn’t normally visit. Take advantage of the situation and strike up a conversation with a stranger over a Sazerac or a club soda. And here’s a life tip: there are usually a bounty of unclaimed umbrellas in a bar’s lost and found box. Be nice to your bartender and they will probably let you have one if you need one.
Walk in the rain.
Hear me out. If there is no thunder and lightning, and it’s just raining, taking a stroll along the Mississippi in the rain can be pretty exceptional. Leave your cell phone in your hotel room, put your ID and credit card in your pocket, and head outside like a person who doesn’t realize they are soaking wet. Watch the other people scurry and try to stay dry as you literally couldn’t care less about the rain. The best part is when the rain stops, and the puddles in the French Quarter are definitely rain, there is a stillness that takes over which few people get to experience. Who says rain will ruin your day?