One of the rooms in Hôtel Peter & Paul's Rectory building.
Photo: Christian Harder, Courtesy of Hôtel Peter & Paul

8 Reasons You Need to Visit New Orleans This Spring

From artful additions at the New Orleans Museum of Art’s sculpture garden to a colorful new Burgundy Street hotel, there are plenty of reasons to come to the Big Easy

New Orleans is a vibrant and historically rich city with a bevy of cultural destinations. A big draw this spring will be the expansion of the New Orleans Museum of Art’s sculpture garden which opens on May 15 with new sculptures and specially commissioned pieces. Here, we share highlights in art, design, hospitality, and cuisine that are must-visits when planning a trip to the Big Easy.

Galleries line the sidewalk on Julia Street in the Warehouse Arts District. Photo: Courtesy of neworleans.com

1. New Orleans perfectly blends new and old in its Warehouse Arts District. The galleries on this neighborhood’s picturesque Julia Street represent a collector’s paradise, with established and rising-star artists represented.

One of the rooms in Hotel Peter & Paul’s Rectory building. Photo: Christian Harder, Courtesy of Hôtel Peter & Paul

2. Housed in a former church, rectory, and convent designed by the influential 19th-century architect Henry Howard, the recently opened Hotel Peter & Paul was reimagined by ASH NYC, which sourced pieces from regional artisans and antiques from European and New Orleans estates.

Installations by Louise Bourgeois and Jean-Michel Othoniel. Photo: Courtesy of the New Orleans Museum of Art

3. The New Orleans Museum of Art’s sculpture garden, known for works by Jean-Michel Othoniel and Louise Bourgeois, is undergoing a six-acre expansion designed by Lee Ledbetter & Associates and Reed-Hilderbrand, which will double the size of the park. Twenty-six new sculptures will be added, including pieces by Frank Stella and Sean Scully and a commissioned work by Teresita Fernández, which will be installed under centuries-old oaks that are works of art unto themselves.

Absinthe Frappé cocktail from Couvant. Photo: Andrew Thomas Lee

4. Pedigreed chefs like Couvant’s Brad McDonald are reimagining classic French and Creole fare. Cocktails get a modern update, too, like the Absinthe Frappé, which mixes absinthe, crème de menthe, lemon, and lait sucré.

Recommended: Architect Lee Ledbetter Reimagines a New Orleans Landmark in the French Quarter

Abstract Expressionist George Dunbar’s living room in his New Orleans home. Photo: Paul Costello

5. Now in his 90s, Abstract Expressionist George Dunbar shows no signs of slowing down. After the artist’s recent retrospective at the New Orleans Museum of Art, his works are more in demand than ever, and he continues to work at his Lee Ledbetter & Associates–designed home and studio on Bayou Bonfouca, 30 minutes outside the city.

The exterior sign for Dunn and Sonnier Antiques, Flowers & Gifts. Photo: Courtesy of Dunn and Sonnier

6. Located on Magazine Street, which is known for its trove of antiques stores, Dunn and Sonnier stocks pieces that provide a touch of old New Orleans and offers complete floral services as well.

Colorful homes line Esplanade Avenue. Photo: Richard Sexton

7. On Esplanade Avenue, 19th-century homes preside over the scenic and quiet thoroughfare, which runs from the Mississippi River all the way to City Park. When French artist Edgar Degas lived in the city from 1872 to ’73, he stayed in a home on this street that belonged to relatives. (His mother was a NOLA native.)

A spread of dishes at Longway Tavern. Photo: Courtesy of Longway Tavern

8. Just a few steps from a bustling section of Bourbon Street, Longway Tavern, which opened this fall, serves up insanely delicious cocktails and delightfully inventive snacks. English peas with cauliflower cream and Bolognese served over spaghetti squash are just a few dazzling dishes coming out of the kitchen of John Sinclair.

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