Unlike people in other cities who have to be cajoled to “be a tourist” in their own home towns, New Orleanians generally don’t need to be reminded to enjoy what makes this place so special to visitors.
Sure, it might be a while since you last wandered down Bourbon Street sipping on a Hand Grenade, but chances are you ate a great meal, watched a Carnival parade or blissed out on some live music in the not-too-distant past.
But when was the last time you treated yourself to a day at one of the world-class arts institutions the Crescent City prides itself on as well?
If the answer is “too long” or “can’t remember due to all those Hand Grenades I drank last night,” the upcoming Museum Day Live! event is the perfect opportunity to rectify the situation.
Sponsored by Smithsonian Magazine, Museum Day Live! will provide each household address two free adult admission tickets to nearly a dozen art, nature and historical museums in New Orleans on Saturday, Sept. 27 — and even more across Louisiana and the rest of the country if you happen to be out of town this weekend.
In New Orleans, that can translate to a considerable value — if you play your cards (or tickets) right.
That means, of course, taking advantage of the offer to visit a museum that charges an admission fee.
There’s no question that places like the Historic New Orleans collection (now hosting a dynamite show about New Orleans’ own Boswell Sisters) are absolutely worth visiting — but since it’s free every day, you might want to save your Museum Day Live! tickets for something that’s at least going to keep some money in your pocket for lunch.
Among the local museums participating are the expected heavyweights like the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the National World War II Museum (which was just ranked the fourth best museum nationwide in a TripAdvisor poll published last week).
Considering that general admission adult tickets to the World War II Museum are $23 a person, you can save some significant cash by making it your Museum Day Live! pick.
But don’t overlook some of the smaller gems in town. Another advantage of perusing the list of participating institutions is being reminded of some you may have forgotten about — like the French Quarter’s excellent Gallier Historic House and Hermann-Grima Historic House Museum — or never realized existed in the first place.
Did you know that there was an Irish Cultural Museum in the French Quarter? Well, now you do. (It also offers free admission every day, though, so you might want to think of it as an add-on bonus after visiting another place on Saturday.)
Further afield, attractions like the LSU Museum of Art in Baton Rouge and the Hilliard University Art Museum in Lafayette are good choices if you choose to make Museum Day Live! the occasion for a day trip out of town.
Any offer like this comes with a few restrictions. There’s a limit of two free tickets per household address, and the tickets must both be for the same institution.
And not every museum in New Orleans is participating, so be sure to check the website first.
You’ll also have to do a little planning in order to receive your free admission tickets for the museum of your choice, as tickets will only be available via the Museum Day Live! website and not at the entrance to whichever place you plan to visit on Saturday.
Still, being able to enjoy a great show like NOMA’s “Alexis Rockman: Drawings from the ‘Life of Pi’ ” or the Ogden’s “Louisiana Contemporary” with a culture-loving companion for free is worth the small amount of extra effort.
Cheap dates don’t get much cheaper than that.
Museum Day Live! takes place on Saturday, Sept. 27. For information, visit www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday.
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
925 Camp St.
Longue Vue House and Gardens
7 Bamboo Road
The National World War II Museum
945 Magazine St.
The Historic New Orleans Collection
(Free every day)
533 Royal St.
Hermann-Grima Historic House Museum
820/818 St. Louis St.
Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
423 Canal St.
New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum
724 Dumaine St.
Contemporary Arts Center
900 Camp St.
Gallier Historic House
1132 Royal St.
Irish Cultural Museum of New Orleans
(Free every day) 933 Conti St.
317 E. Main St., New Iberia
Paul & Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum
710 E. St. Mary Blvd., Lafayette
Alexandria Museum of Art
933 Second St., Alexandria
West Baton Rouge Museum
845 N. Jefferson Ave., Port Allen
3533 La. 119, Melrose
LSU Museum of Art
100 Lafayette St., Baton Rouge