New Orleans’ Art District

March 2, 2012 by

Free Things to Do, Sightseeing, Things To Do

Contemporary Arts Center

The Contemporary Arts Center - Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz via Flickr

What once was the New Orleans‘ Warehouse district has been revitalized by an ongoing urban renewal project, and like many other cities where there was once cheap housing and a culturally thick vibe (Seattle’s Georgetown and Manhattan’s Meat Packing districts come to mind), this artistic haven has been lovingly re-dubbed the “Arts District.”

Originally established as an industrial area in the 19th Century to store the grain, coffee, and produce shipped through the port of New Orleans, the vagaries of time cast the business aside and the streets became eerily quiet. In 1976, the building of the Contemporary Arts Center turned all that around. The 10,000 square foot arts center is a beacon for all artists and art-lovers and has been inspiring and enlivening the area ever since with dance troops, cutting-edge artworks, and a wide variety of music New Orleans has become famous for.

The area’s abundant open floor plans lent themselves perfectly for those who needed lots of room to work, namely photographers, painters, sculptures, metallurgists, and the like. A southern renaissance seemed to catch-on in the area, and today New Orleans’ Arts District serves as one of the city’s highlights. Today, more than 25 galleries call the area home, and on the first Saturday of every month, an evening gallery hop mixes art lovers, music, and socialites in an art crawl down the numerous galleries on Julia Street. In addition to art, one can swing by and see the National World War II Museum while here, or swing by the original Emeril’s restaurant, or catch some blues at the iconic Howlin’ Wolf.

A trip to New Orleans isn’t just about the French Quarter and Garden District anymore. Those that know are staying in the Arts District.


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