Bursting from the retro ambience of a refurbished art-deco movie theater, the renowned hand-blown-glass art studio boasts a multihued array of gaffer-made accoutrements. Keep wine from escaping on a post-party spree with a decorative bottlestopper ($62), a hand-crafted sculpture complete with elegant metal fitting designed to hold in liquid and libation secrets. Showcase seasonal candies or secret-admirer notes in a fluted dish ($65), available in intricate designs of blue, salmon, white, and more. The New Orleans paperweight adds personality to desks and gravity to astronaut homework with the classic Big Easy fleur de lis etched in a heart shape atop a round paper anchor ($50). For a romantic shimmer, check out the pointed oil candle with a stand, a teardrop-shaped candle perched in a three-pronged mini-tripod that imbues romance with long-lasting light ($50), similar to a triple showing of Gremlins under an Alaskan summer sky.
The Southern Food & Beverage Museum quells culinary curiosities with ongoing exhibits celebrating the unique bites and beverages of the South. Permanent exhibits include Tout de Sweet: All About Sugar, which examines the role of sugar production in Louisiana, and A Table at Galatoire’s, which traces the venerable restaurant’s history through artifacts such as original plates and salvaged blue-cheese crumbles. Inside the museum, guests encounter The Museum of the American Cocktail, a Martha Stewart brand-endorsed knowledge vault that explores the history of mixed drinks from the 1800s to the modern day, housing original absinthe fountains and Prohibition-era flasks crafted from Al Capone’s day planner.
With its imposing, slate-gray façade, the 170-year-old U.S. Custom House may be the last building in which you’d expect to hear the delighted squeals of children. But behind the steely columns, the building erupts into 23,000 square feet of colorful displays and fluttering, scuttling insects, courtesy of the Audubon Society and Insectarium. In the Asian garden, hundreds of butterflies dodge shafts of sunlight to alight on tropical ferns and the shoulders of young visitors. And at the Insects of New Orleans gallery, visitors can ogle the pink katydids, cockroaches, and lovebugs that contribute to the city’s heritage.
These bug-filled displays are all part of the insectarium’s mission to conserve Louisiana’s indigenous species and inspire stewardship in its visitors. While adults can sate their curiosity with the vast array of exotic species, curators gear many displays toward young guests by making them lighthearted and interactive: the Field Camp’s entomologist answers questions about how to collect bugs or break up flea-circus strikes, and at Bug Appétit, chefs dole out insect-filled delicacies to adventurous palates.
For more than three decades, Save Our Cemeteries has preserved the architectural and cultural beauty of historic cemeteries with restoration work, lectures, photography sales, and guided tours of the city's above-ground coffin repositories. At 10 a.m. from Friday through Sunday, cemetery sightseers can take a gander at the oven wall vaults and stone tombs of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, which was founded in 1789 as the burial ground for famous Louisianan revolutionaries, chess champions, and voodoo queen Marie Laveau.
Paddle the river in style on the luxurious Creole Queen, aquatically equipped with heat and air conditioning, modern restrooms, and wheelchair accessibility and replete with old-time accents such as Victorian-style draperies, gaslight-inspired period lighting, friendly ghosts, wooden parquet dance floors, and Louisiana cypress bars and brass railings. Disembark and change out of pedestrian threads and into something more heroic during the 2.5-hour Chalmette Battlefield tour, which includes informative narration on noteworthy landmarks, local river lore, and crock-pot recipes and a visit to the historic battlefield. On the jazz tour, passengers embark on a two-hour cruise filled with peppy live jazz, cocktails, a Creole buffet, and starlit views of the city's skyline. Dinner (though not included with this Groupon) can be purchased on board for $24 per person.