Museums, Galleries and Cultural Sights in Louisiana
The minute you set foot in New Orleans the sights and sounds of an unmistakable culture are there to great you. The New Orleans Museum of Art, the Audubon Nature Institute, the National World War II Museum and a stop by Jackson Square barely scratch the surface of what New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana have to offer.
Notably, properties of the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans, including the two-century-old Cabildo, the Presbytere and Old U.S. Mint, house changing and permanent exhibitions that range from contemporary art to historical artifacts. LSM properties in Baton Rouge, Patterson, Natchitoches and Thibodeaux also showcase regional and national exhibitions.
Other attractions in and around the New Orleans area include Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, Louisiana Children’s Museum, Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts, New Orleans City Park, Botanical Gardens, Southern Food and Beverage Museum in Riverwalk Marketplace and the Steamboat Natchez paddlewheel tours.
A trip into Plantation Country grants access to the communities of Baton Rouge, St. Francisville, Port Allen, Donaldsonville, Vacherie, New Roads and Burnside. More than antebellum homes grace this area; the Pointe Coupée Parish Museum, the West Baton Rouge Museum, the Old Louisiana State Capitol, performance theaters and several art galleries are just a few of the worthwhile cultural stops.
From galleries and shops to signature events, Baton Rouge's art scene is busting at the seams. Whether you're an art enthusiast looking for a unique gallery experience or a novice simple wanting to enjoy art without the fuss, Baton Rouge has it all! Offering a bevy of world-class and local art exhibits, downtown Baton Rouge is home to the Shaw Center for the Arts featuring the LSU Museum of Art and the Manship Theatre. Impressively spanning the entire fifth floor, the LSU Museum of Art is a stunning showcase of fine art and artisan works. The Manship Theatre evokes old-world intimacy alongside state-of-the-art technology - quite a unique performance-theatre experience. As an added gem, the LSU School of Art Gallery features emerging artists and contemporary works from faculty to students. Not forgetting the music lovers, Baton Rouge is also home to a much-heralded symphony - the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.
Be sure to allow time to explore Lake Charles, Lafayette, New Iberia, Morgan City, Houma, Thibodaux and Grand Isle as well. The Cajun culture comes to life at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park’s Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette and the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux. Lake Charles is a bustling, progressive city, with two major resorts that offer gambling opportunities and great dining and live entertainment.
While on this side of the state don’t miss nearby Avery Island, which not only offers beautiful Jungle Gardens, a bird sanctuary and wildlife refuge, but also is home to the McIlhenny Co.’s famous TABASCO® Sauce bottling plant. Other stops include the loops of America’s WETLAND Birding Trails, the Laurel Valley Village in Thibodeaux, Brimstone Museum and Henning Cultural Center in Sulphur, the Crystal Rice Heritage Farm in Crowley and the Wildlife Gardens in Gibson.
Central Louisiana reveals its devotion to history and culture at the River Oaks Square Arts Center, the Alexandria Museum of Art, The Arna Bontemps African-American Museum and Cultural Arts Center, T.R.E.E. House Children’s Museum and Tunica-Biloxi Indian Center and Museum.
Further north visitors will find the Stage of Stars and Legends Museum in Shreveport and learn about the famous Louisiana Hayride radio show, which launched Elvis Presley into his musical career and helped turn the likes of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Kitty Wells and Slim Whitman into big-name talents. Shreveport is also home to the Sci-Port Louisiana Science Center, offering several floors of entertaining and informative science, math and space exhibits, including the Space Dome Planetarium and IMAX Dome Theatre.