Uptown’s La Crepe Nanou, with its oh-so-French flavor, has seduced New Orleanians for 33 years with its culinary charms and cozy ambiance.
But who ever thought they could be wined and dined in France with Crepe Nanou’s founder and co-owner? What are your plans for July 16-24?
The nonprofit Southern Food and Beverage Museum hopes you’ll consider its Special Journey to Paris and the Loire Valley.
“I’m glad to show France the way I grew up there,” said Nanou de Raczynski, who is limiting his tour to 12 people. “There will be great dinners, visits to chateaux. A dear friend is a cheesemaker, who’s becoming known worldwide. Restaurateur friends will bring food and wine to a picnic. And in their restaurants in Paris, we’ll get the full treatment.” The price: $3,939 per person, plus airfare.
New Orleanians who have the money and interest are being tempted frequently by such tours sponsored by non-profits, offering experiences and access not ordinarily available.
In return, the organizations sometimes find new and stronger supporters for their museums, schools and other facilities.
“A special bond is often developed between the museum and our tour participants,” said Stephen Watson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the National World War II Museum. “They visit the museum, take follow-up trips, attend our conferences, and donate to support the museum. We help form many close friendships.”
While Tulane’s Alumni Association tours, the University of New Orleans summer school in Innsbruck, Austria and other enrichment travel programs have been around for years, what’s new is the resurgence since Hurricane Katrina of programs from a variety of non-profits, most of which work with outside travel agencies.
The undisputed leader is the National World War II Museum’s travel division, which began in 2004, when it chartered a cruise ship for 300 members to attend the 60th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion.
Now it has a staff of six, and averages a dozen annual tours to Europe and the Pacific. Reading the itineraries is inspiring. Going results in way more than a history lesson.
The student-oriented Normandy Academy in 2015 “was the best summer of my life,” said Lawrence Arceneaux, 21, who just graduated from Nicholls State University. “Never having left the country before, it was like a fairy tale being there, walking on Omaha Beach where the troops landed, picking up the sand, feeling the cold water.”
The museum’s most popular tour, a week in Normandy, includes dinner with a woman who was 16 when she helped nurse those in the French Resistance.
“She tells her story and speaks with such passion that sometimes she forgets to let the translator have a turn,” said Nathan Huegen, director of Educational Travel.
Darleen Landry and her husband, Glenn, took the Normandy trip last September. “What was so amazing is it covers all of Normandy, not just a dash of it like other tours, said Landry, a retired Jefferson Parish special education teacher and supervisor, who’s now a New Orleans tour guide.
“We went to every beach, every museum. And two curators with doctorates in history talked about everything from the strategic planning of the D-Day Invasion by Churchill and Eisenhower to the end of it all. When you finish, you think, I saw what I came here to see.”
A sample of New Orleans nonprofits offering tours:
THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MUSEUM
The weeklong tour of the Normandy battlefields is offered several times a year. Cost: $2,995 per person in a double room, plus airfare (the case with all but one museum tour).
The biggest tour this year is to Oahu, Hawaii Dec. 1-8 for the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pear Harbor; it includes a symposium, four military guides and accommodations at the beachfront Moana Surfrider in Waikiki. $7,995 before June 30.
Among others, with prices from $4,000 to $6,000, are Battle of the Bulge, June 18-25, “Band of Brothers,” Sept. 11-23; French battlefields in World War I and World War II, Sept. 21-28, 2016; Soldiers and Spies with author Alex Kershaw, Oct. 9-15.
Student tours include the Normandy Academy, June 19-30, $3,695 (includes international airfare), and the Pacific Academy in Hawaii, June 13-July 10, $5,825.
Details: (887) 813-3329, ext. 257; ww2museumtours.org. All tours, except for Normandy in September, are still available. Airfare extra.
National WWII Museum, 945 Magazine St., NOLA
International Jazz Festival of Havana, Dec. 10-18, with overnight in Miami, seven nights at Hotel Nacional in Havana, and five-night festival pass. $4,450 per person, from Miami.
Details:(800) 723-8454, earthboundexpeditions.com/December-2016-wwno-goes-to-cuba/.
WWNO, 89.9 FM, wwno.org.
SOUTHERN FOOD AND BEVERAGE MUSEUM
Paris and the Loire Valley, July 16-24, escorted by Nanou de Raczynski, of Crepe Nanou. $3,939. A tour to Burgundy is planned for October.
Culinary tour to Cuba, June 19-23, sold out.
SoFab Museum, 1504 Oretha Castle. Haley Blvd., NOLA
PRESERVATION RESOURCE CENTER
Preservation Resource Center’s tour to Italy, “hosted” by PRC Director Patty Gay and George Schmidt, artist, musician and co-founder of the New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra.
$4,497 from New Orleans (airfare included), Nov 4-13.
Details: (504)581-7032, firstname.lastname@example.org
HISTORIC NEW ORLEANS COLLECTION
A Louisiana Weekend in Chicago, Oct. 14-16, examines links between New Orleans and Chicago, with visits to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Driehaus Museum, dinner at the Metropolitan club, a performance at Lyric Opera of “Lucia di Lammermoor.” $1,250 for HNOC Laussat Society donors ( $1,000 or more), $1,400 others.
The Netherlands, April 30-May 7, 2017, Behind-the-scene tours at Rijksmuseum and others; visit Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, National and Amsterdam Archives to see documents pertaining to Louisiana Purchase. Also headquarters of Arcadis Amsterdam to learn about work it did in New Orleans re flooding containment after Hurricane Katrina. $6,900 without airfare.
Details: (504) 598-7171, hnoc.org.
HNOC is at 533 Royal St., NOLA
AUDUBON NATURE INSTITUE
A group just returned from a May 20-June 1 tour to Tanzania ($3,295 without airfare) , the first tour in a resurrected travel program. Audubon is looking into tours in 2017 to the Galapagos and Costa Rica, with a focus on animals and conservation. Each will be escorted by an Audubon animal expert, said Katie Smith, director of public relations.
Details: Emails go to Audubon members; also look for announcements at audubonnatureinstitute.org.
Audubon Zoo in Audubon Park, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, 1 Canal St.
NEW ORLEANS MUSEUM OF ART
Denver and Aspen, Colo., Sept. 25-28, escorted by museum director Susan Taylor, with deluxe hotels and museum visits with curators, private collections. $2,150 per person in a double. Airfare extra.
Domestic trips, which are sponsored every two years, are open to NOMA Fellows and Circle members, who donate $1,500 or more. Foreign tours, which occur in alternate years, can be taken by those who donate $5,000 or more.
Details: Brooke Minto, (504) 658-4107 or email@example.com .