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Arts & Culture

Be A Tourist In Your Own Hometown: The Art of the New Orleans Staycation, Part Three

In our last Be A Tourist in Your Own Hometown adventures in New Orleans, we visited the National World War II Museum and Schiro’s Cafe in the Marigny.

After our royal feast, we were able to walk off some calories en route to our final destination. If you’re interested in merely perusing The National WWII Museum, you could realistically do it in under two hours. But, like any other Smithsonian-affiliated facility, to really absorb all the information, images, exhibits, and interactive features, it could take you the better part of a day. The museum has an amazing permanent array of photographs, film footage, documents, recorded personal accounts, and artifacts that mainly focus on D-Day. It also hosts traveling exhibits, such as the current one, Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race. Though disturbing, it shares fascinating insights into the scientific origins of the Nazis’ horrific campaign.

New Orleans world war II museum
One of the planes displayed at the National World War II Museum (Photo from Flickr by ~Life by the Drop~)

Whether or not you’re the museum type, you really owe it to yourself to go see Beyond All Boundaries in the Solomon Theater across the street. Tom Hanks is the executive producer, and lots of famous actors lent their voices to the stunning production, created exclusively for this museum. In addition to presenting a moving account of the war, the 4-D components are absolutely incredible. Images are often accompanied by rumbling seats, or props, like airplanes and lookout towers, that are lowered from the ceiling or raised from beneath the screen. Snow falls, smoke billows – it’s not just a movie, it’s an event.

Also included on this ever-expanding campus are the old-fashioned Soda Shop, Chef John Besh’s American Sector restaurant, and The Stage Door Canteen live performance venue. Multiple visits are required to hit all these!

Schiro's Cafe New Orleans
The bright and colorful Schiro’s Cafe nestled in the heart of the Faubourg Marigny. (Photo from Flickr by Eating in Translation)

We were only slightly peckish after all the walking and touring, so we ventured away from the teeming festival crowds in the Quarter and headed to the Marigny. We wandered into funky little Schiros Cafe for a grilled shrimp wrap, fruit salad and iced tea. As we decompressed and soaked in the colorful ambiance of this tucked-away joint framed by tropical plants, we waved the white flag.

To be honest, we simply ran out of steam and time before we got to everything we’d planned to visit. There’s just too much fun to be had in this city to cram it all into a weekend! We meant to take an early morning stroll to Café Du Monde for beignets and coffee, while the streets of the Quarter are freshly hosed down and the balconies are raining with run-off from the freshly watered plants and flowers. We meant to take a streetcar ride down St. Charles to either The Columns or Superior Grill for drinks. We wished we’d booked an extra night at a bed and breakfast in the Marigny.

But, the beauty of vacationing in your own town is that you can do it all over again the next weekend! We’ve got all the time in the world to enjoy our city, but what better time to get out and about than during this off-peak season? Plus, we’ve only have until the end of September to take advantage of all the New Orleans CVB’s Be A Tourist In Your Own Hometown deals!

Be sure to take your shot at fabulous “staycation” prizes in the  Instagram Contest, featuring eight weekly themes and giveaways. Fun!

This is the third and final installment of the Be A Tourist In Your Own Hometown series, that shows how locals enjoy New Orleans chronicled by GoNOLA writer Liz Genest Smith. Check out part one and two of our staycation adventures! All photos by Liz Genest Smith.

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