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Branding the City: Communications Itinerary

Discover New Orleans through the many subtle and more overt means of communication.

nola historical app
The New Orleans Historical App lends a helping hand on Magazine Street. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

New Orleans has hosted speakers of many languages throughout its history: Choctaw, French, Spanish, English, and Vietnamese to name a few. But communication comes in other forms as well, from music to the written word and beyond. Discover New Orleans through the many subtle and more overt means of communication.


nola historical app
The New Orleans Historical App lends a helping hand on Magazine Street. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Start with some tours to learn the “language”

New Orleans Historical’s smartphone tours — The New Orleans Historical app contains a wealth of knowledge about local history, places, and more. You can do a quick search for particular items that tickle your fancy, such as “Desire streetcar,” or you can follow one of the app’s mobile tours like “The Birthplace of Jazz,” or “Audubon Park: Site of the 1884 Cotton Centennial Exhibition” to get up to speed on local history.

  • Where: Citywide
  • When: Anytime
Brandan "Bmike" Odums' mural on Royal Street outside Studio BE
Brandan “Bmike” Odums’ mural on Royal Street outside Studio BE. (Photo: Emily Ramirez Hernandez)

Public art — Art is used in ways to communicate in powerful ways. Start off the day by exploring public art around the city. Ranging from murals to graffiti to sculpture, there is a little of everything. Use our guide on public art or simply trek along the St. Claude Avenue or Oretha Castle Haley corridors to sight some examples.

  • Where: Citywide (at Kerlerec and N. Rampart Street find a Banksy stencil mural, at Royal and Press Streets discover a mural by Brandan “bmike” Odums at Studio Be)
  • When: Any time

Check out local museums

Southern Food and Beverage Museum (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)
Southern Food and Beverage Museum (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

Southern Food & Beverage Museum — Originally a small museum in the Riverwalk, the Southern Food & Beverage Museum highlights the history and culture of Southern food and drink. Explore the museum’s display of bottles and their branding in the Museum of the American Cocktail (a museum within a museum), as well as restaurant signage and cooking utensils, while learning about the many influences that shaped Southern cuisine. The museum is organized by state.

  • Where: 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
  • When: Wednesday to Monday, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays.

The New Orleans Tattoo Museum & Studio — Ever considered tattoos a form of communication? Learn how this unique museum (and full-functioning tattoo parlor) promotes and preserves the history of tattooing in New Orleans by documenting tattoos across multiple generations. Visiting the museum is free.

  • Where: 1915 1/2 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
  • When: Monday (by appointment), Tuesday through Saturday, from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. Closed Sunday.

Grab a bite

dong phuong
Dong Phuong Bakery. (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

Dong Phuong Bakery & Restaurant — A little off the beaten path in New Orleans East lies Dong Phuong Bakery & Restaurant, one of the best known local Vietnamese restaurants. A result of the resettlement program of the local Catholic Church after the Vietnam War, many Vietnamese now call New Orleans home. Their food has a special place in the local culinary scene — their bread, for example, is used in many a po-boy around town.

  • Where: 14207 Chef Menteur Hwy.
  • When: Monday, Wednesday to Sunday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Tuesdays.

Lüke — A member of the Besh family of restaurants (among these are Borgne, August, Johnny Sanchez, the Caribbean Room, and Willa Jean), Lüke serves Franco-German fare paying homage to the brasseries that were once dotted across the city. Chef John Besh has managed to expand his restaurant empire to more than a dozen restaurants.

  • Where: 333 St. Charles Ave.
  • When: Daily, from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Performance as Communication

saenger nola
The Saenger Theater. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Saenger Theatre — Originally constructed in 1927 and described by advertisements of the time as “an acre of seats in a garden of Florentine splendor,” the Saenger hosts everything from Broadway musicals to stand-up comedians. The theatre was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina and remained shuttered from late August 2005 until it was reopened with much fanfare in September of 2013.

  • Where: 1111 Canal St.
  • When: Check the calendar for showtimes.

Frenchmen Street — Get an earful of live, local music at music clubs along Frenchmen Street in the Marigny. Tried and true clubs include Maison, Blue Nile, Cafe Negril, and Spotted Cat.

  • Where: Frenchmen Street between Esplanade Avenue and Royal Street
  • When: Any night of the week
Cafe Negril on Frenchmen Street. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)
Cafe Negril on Frenchmen Street. (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

The Moth StorySLAM — Taking place the second Friday of each month, the Moth is an NPR partner program that promotes live storytelling with a different theme each time. Attendees can choose to just listen, or they can throw their name in a hat and come prepared to tell a five-minute story. Winners are selected by judges. Tickets are $8.

  • Where: Cafe Istanbul (2372 St. Claude Ave.)
  • When: Any night of the week

Bring New Orleans back home

LGBT bookstore, gay bookstore
A quick stop at Blue Cypress Books on Oak Street. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Take a little something back with you like a coffee table book on local history and culture. Local book shops like Octavia Books, Garden District Book Shop, Blue Cypress Books, and Faulkner House Books are bound to have some hidden gems, in particular works written by local authors and published by local companies. In addition, these bookstores frequently host authors and other events.

  • Where: 513 Octavia St. (Octavia Books); 2727 Prytania St. (Garden District Book Shop); 8126 Oak St. (Blue Cypress Books); 624 Pirate’s Alley (Faulkner House Books)
  • When: Hours vary—check individual websites.

Emily Ramírez Hernández is the child of New Orleans natives whose families have been in the city for generations. Emily's earliest memories of New Orleans include joyful car rides over bumpy streets, eating dripping roast beef po-boys at Domilise's, and catching bouncy balls during Mardi Gras parades with cousins. An urban planner by day and freelance writer by night, when she is off the clock she enjoys biking around town, belly dancing, and catching nerdlesque shows.

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