Beat the Heat
All the cool kids are inside
We are well into summer in New Orleans. The lines at Hansen’s Sno-Bliz snake out the door and clock hour-plus wait times (since there are no shortcuts to quality). The loop around the Big Lake at City Park has only the bravest of runners and cyclists. Sunglasses fog up from humidity when you leave air-conditioning and hit the great outdoors. It’s time to plan our days to spend as much time in climate controlled comfort as possible. Here are some of my favorite places to avoid the heat.
The New Orleans Museum of Art is home to a permanent collection of art that is diverse and exciting. Categories include African Art, Asian Art, Native American Art, Textiles and Sculpture, to list a few. I can spend a solid hour studying just the glass and pottery in the Decorative Arts collection. The exhibitions on display now also reflect a diverse curation. Any visitor to New Orleans must see “Pride of Place: The Making of Contemporary Art in New Orleans” and “Japanese Landscape: Inner Journeys.” Friday Nights at NOMA always offer special events, often including live music, discussions or film screenings.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
What better way to keep cool than to surround yourself with water at The Audubon Aquarium. The marine life on display ranges from sharks to seahorses. The Great Maya Reef, Amazon Rainforest and Mississippi River are just three of the varied habitats at the Aquarium. My favorite animals are penguins, so I usually time my visit for 10:30 a.m. or 3:00 p.m., when then African Penguins are fed and staff is available for questions.
Historic New Orleans Collection
As we close in on the 300th Anniversary of the founding of the city of New Orleans, there is no denying the relevance of history to New Orleans. Our architecture, vernacular and recipes all come with stories attached, many of which are hundreds of years old. An excellent place to explore our past is at the Historic New Orleans Collection. Located at two nearby campuses in the French Quarter, its permanent collection is intriguing and a current temporary exhibit, “Storyville: Madams and Music,” is titillating.
Louisiana Children’s Museum
One of the most challenging aspects of summer for parents is finding a place where their kids can roam but not suffer heat stroke from running around outside. The Louisiana Children’s Museum is the perfect solution. Two floors of activities and exhibits will keep kids engaged for hours. Simple machines, bubbles, and “makin’ groceries” at the Lil’ Grocery Store are just a few of the educational and interactive areas. Their calendar of events has information on art events, story times and STEM labs for children (and their parents) to enjoy in the chill of the indoors.
Let’s face it, if you are on vacation in New Orleans it’s likely that you enjoy an adult beverage from time to time. A great way to keep cool and learn some folklore is to pony up to a bar and make friends with the locals. Pick your poison and strike up a conversation with a stranger. The condensation on your glass beats the perspiration on your forehead.