One of America’s most influential galleries celebrates the city’s rich cultural heritage as well as art from around the world.
The New Orleans Museum of Art, or NOMA, is the perfect place to explore the artistic heritage of Louisiana. Although most famous for its collection of American and French works, NOMA houses a world-class collection with a truly global reach. Collected works and exhibitions span from the pre-Christian period to the contemporary era, and include decorative, photographic and conceptual art.
The museum was a gift to the city in 1911 from Isaac Delgado, an elderly sugar plantation owner. While the building has been renovated several times over the past century, the vast majority of the original building is still intact and in use today.
Explore the European Art collection, including masterpieces by Monet, Lorrain and Picasso. Special attention is given to the French Impressionist Edgar Degas, who spent a few months painting and visiting with relatives in New Orleans in 1870. Look for a portrait of Degas’ cousin, Estelle Musson, on the second floor. You can also visit the Degas House, the residence in which he stayed, just a few blocks away.
Download a free audio tour to your cell phone and follow the twisting paths through the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. This five-acre (two-hectare) landscaped park set among mature oaks and pines displays more than 60 sculptures from all over the world. Grab a mat and join locals for a tai chi or Pilates class in the garden. Tai chi classes are also held in the museum’s galleries. Check the NOMA website for fees and times.
Wrap up your visit in the NOMA shop and find creative souvenirs of New Orleans, including work by local artists.
NOMA is located at the southern end of New Orleans’ City Park, in the city center. The museum is open daily except Mondays. The Sculpture Garden is free and open seven days a week. There’s free parking and it’s easy to find by car, taxi, bike, bus or the Canal Streetcar.