New Orleans Curiosities

Today’s guest blog post highlights some of the more unusual parks, exhibits, and collections in the New Orleans area. This post comes from Annie Peterson, who is the preservation librarian at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library at Tulane University

New Orleans Area Curiosities

This is your guide to the more curious, bizarre, offbeat, wondrous collections that can be found in the New Orleans area. If you’re in search of a more unusual museum experience, check out some of these collections while you’re in town. Collections are listed in order of geographic proximity to the convention center; some locations are a bit far and require a car to get to.

 

Audubon Insectarium

Audubon Insectarium

Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
The Insectarium has live insects and a few cases of pinned insects too. You can catch a preview of the cockroach kitchen here via this live stream to animalplanet.com: http://www.apl.tv/cockroaches.htm, but it’s better in real life. There’s also a tank with baby alligators in it, and you can eat bugs at the bug buffet.

423 Canal Street, .8 miles from the convention center.
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm.
$16.50 adult, $12.00 child, $13.00 senior
http://www.auduboninstitute.org/visit/insectarium

 

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
The first floor of the Pharmacy Museum looks like an apothecary and includes a soda fountain, surgical instruments, and a live leech. The second floor has a spectacular collection of spectacles and a recreation of 19th century living quarters.

514 Chartres Street, 1.1 miles from the convention center.
Tuesday-Friday 10am-2pm and Saturday 10am-5pm. Guided tours on Thursday and Friday at 12pm.
$5 adults, $4 students and seniors, free for children under six.
http://www.pharmacymuseum.org/

Arnaud’s Mardi Gras Museum
Located above Arnaud’s restaurant, the Mardi Gras Museum displays elaborate, sequined, Mardi Gras costumes from the 1940s-60s and other Mardi Gras-related items and ephemera.

813 Rue Bienville, New Orleans, LA. 1.1 miles from the convention center.
Open during restaurant hours: nightly from 6pm, Sunday Jazz Brunch 10am-2:30pm
Free
http://www.arnaudsrestaurant.com/contact/

 

House of Broel

House of Broel

House of Broel
This house on St. Charles is a venue for wedding ceremonies and receptions, but the entire second floor is dedicated to displaying the venue owner’s former hobby: dollhouses. There’s also a collection of frog-related things on display.

2220 Saint Charles Avenue, take the St. Charles streetcar to Jackson and St. Charles. Tours M-F 11am to 3pm, but may also be available for tours at other times–call 504 494 2220.
$10 for adults and $5 for children.
http://www.houseofbroel.com/

 

City Park Botanical Garden

City Park Botanical Garden

City Park Botanical Garden
The City Park Botanical Garden is mostly a nice, ordinary botanical garden, but it also has a miniature railroad with tiny houses representing various New Orleans neighborhoods.

City Park.
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4:30pm.
$6 adults.
http://www.neworleanscitypark.com/garden_sales.html

 

 

House of Dance and Feathers

House of Dance and Feathers

House of Dance and Feathers
The House of Dance and Feathers is a collection of artifacts from Mardi Grad Indians, Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, and Skull n Bone Gangs and Baby Dolls. The curator Ronald Lewis is a great source for New Orleans history, and is incredibly generous with his time and knowledge.

1317 Tupelo Street, New Orleans, LA 70117
Open by appointment, just call Mr. Lewis at 504 957 2678.
Free, but donations are accepted.
http://houseofdanceandfeathers.org/

 

Abita Mystery House

Abita Mystery House

Abita Mystery House (UCM Museum)
The Abita Mystery house is a wonderland of miniatures, strange taxidermy (like Darrel the Dogigator), old broken things, and live turtles. It’s somewhere in between a cabinet of curiosities and a roadside attraction, and the whole experience is magical.

22275 Hwy 36, Abita Springs, LA 70420 Nearly an hour from New Orleans, but completely worth the drive. Go to the Abita brewery for free beer while you’re there. $3 adults.
http://abitamysteryhouse.com/

 

Kenny Hill Sculpture Garden
Kenny Hill built a watchtower, covered it in sculptures depicting cowboys, angels, jazz musicians, and other scenes. He also built concrete angels, other religious figures, and mysterious human forms and you can see them all in his sculpture garden in Chauvin. Hill was a bricklayer who disappeared and left behind this magical place.

5337 Bayouside Drive, Chauvin, LA. About an hour and a half drive from New Orleans.
Free
http://www.nicholls.edu/folkartcenter/park.html

If you have any questions about the collections listed, or know of any others that should be added to this list, contact Annie Peterson at epeters5@tulane.edu