Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Orleans Museum of Art & Afternoon in French Quarter


NOMA entance

Esplanade Avenue
 It was a gorgeous day in New Orleans today and the perfect day to visit New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and Besthoff sculpture Garden.  The sun filtering through the old oaks canopying over Esplanade Drive was a picturesque entrance  to NOMA's 100 year old institution.

 NOLA, onced named the Delgado Museum of Art, was built in 1910 through the bequest of Isaac Delgado.  It is New Orleans oldest fine arts organization with permanent collections in French & American Art ranging pre Renaissance to contemporary, as well as extensive collections in arts of the Americas, Africa and Asia.
"Still life with Candle" Picasso
Local residents often fondly call the NOMA the Degas museum as it houses works by the noted French Impressionist, which he painted during his visit to New Orleans during 1871 and 1872.  Many of Degas contemporaries' works are also part of NOMA's collections. The collections are housed on three levels with the third level dedicated to arts & artifacts of  Indonesia, Africa, Japan and the Americas and lower level housing the early European & French painters collections alongside a separate gallery exhibit area of glass.
Adjacent to the museum  outdoors is the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.  The park-like setting, opened in 2003, displays a permanent collection of 20th and 21st century artists' scultpures on a five acre parcel of land that abutts New Orleans City Park.  Entry into the sculpture park is free and is a definite must see.  As one enters the park, a Henri Moore sculpture casually rests on its side, reminding the visitor to take time, relax, and reflect upon the arts in the green space with gondola graced waterways.

 On a day such as this one, A Paul & I stretched our legs, took our time and soaked up the arts and sun.

If you are planning a trip to this area, make sure to take time to visit the museum and the scultpure garden.  You can also visit the museum's website at

After departing the museum, A. Paul & I caught up with our friend  Dan from Provincetown who also calls New Orleans home for half the year.  Dan was kind enough to give us a personal tour through the city, offering insights we would not have had otherwise.  We lunched at Coops, a great local restaurant in the French Quarter, visited the oldest Catholic church in the United States (different from the oldest Catholic church of the United States-it is a case of symantics, Dan explains, as this church was built before the formation of the US during Spanish rule).  We listened to street performers and met many locals as we passed through the streets of the Quarter.  It was an informative tour to see New Orleans through a local resident's eyes.  Thank you , Dan, for making this last day in New Orleans so enjoyable.

Street musician

Tomorrow, A. Paul & I depart for a 15 hour drive to our next destination, Santa Fe, via Texas.  The drive will take place over the next two days so although we will not be visiting any art venues we will be posting our photographic journey from NOLA to Tyler, TX to Amarillo, TX, and finally to Santa Fe, NM.  Until then, I leave you with the sights and sounds of the French Quarter of New Orleans.


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