In this post, we share everything you need to know about visiting the Presbytère in New Orleans. A popular attraction amongst both locals and visitors, the Presbytère is a part of the Louisiana State Museum and features many important cultural artifacts that showcase New Orleans' fascinating history.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
The Presbytère, located in the French Quarter at 751 Chartres Street, is one of the showcase units of the Louisiana State Museum. Built in 1791 as a matching structure for the Cabildo, The Presbytère is one of the most accurate examples of colonial Spanish architecture in the nation.
It sits beside St. Louis Cathedral, facing Jackson Square, and holds two permanent exhibits that tell contrasting sides to Louisiana’s story- one of commemoration and one of endurance. Visitors will absorb the rich culture that is the Mardi Gras celebrations and learn about Louisiana’s resilience through a time of devastation, Hurricane Katrina.
Location: 751 Chartres St. New Orleans, 70116
Hours: Tuesdays – Sundays 10 am – 4:30 pm (Closed Mondays and state holidays)
Cost: $6/adults, $5/seniors, students, military
TIP: Combination tickets for two or more sites within the LA State Museums receive a 20% discount.
Mardi Gras: It’s Carnival Time In Louisiana
This elaborate collection tells the story of Mardi Gras from its ancient origins to its modern-day celebrations. Visitors will get to see the exquisite costumes and historical throws that are on display, as well as many different artifacts that have graced the parades and balls of Mardi Gras past.
The exhibit is also interactive, as there are large floats designed by Blaine Kern studios ( New Orleans largest and most-famous float building facility), that guests are permitted to climb atop and somewhat feel the experience of what it’s like being a part of the parade. Guests will also learn about rituals and the secret social club society of which modern day Mardi Gras krewes evolved. There is also a gift shop where memorabilia of this one of a kind celebration can be purchased.
Be sure to read our Q+A Guide to Mardi Gras and Carnival.
Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond
An emotional and insightful walk-through connecting visitors to the devastating impact that hurricanes have had on New Orleans, namely Hurricane Katrina; this exhibit presents a powerful display of the resilience of the people of New Orleans. It took 5 years of collecting before museum staff members were ready to display the wide array of artifacts that tell a very personal story of the people affected by this life-changing disaster.
One of the most striking, a destructed baby grand piano from Fats Domino’s flooded 9th Ward home is the first that will meet visitors eyes. Perhaps the most striking, the “Mabry Wall”, a literal daily diary belonging to Tommie Elton Mabry, who used the walls of his apartment to document his inner thoughts starting the day before the storm hit and the weeks following.
The exhibit also features audio-visuals, including news tapings of relief efforts and oral accounts from residents. In addition, visitors will learn about failed levee system of New Orleans past and the infrastructure improvements and new initiatives that Katrina has inspired.
You might consider visiting some of the neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Katrina and witness the rebirth on our self-guided Katrina tour.
THINGS TO DO IN THE FRENCH QUARTER
Other than paying a visit to the immersive exhibits at The Presbytère, the French Quarter has plenty of attractions that are also worth visiting. St. Louis Cathedral and The Cabildo are very close by and exhibit some of the same beautiful architecture of the Presbytère. You’ll also want to get a picture in front of the Andrew Jackson statue. Our 7th president spent a period of time in New Orleans and it was here where he played a role in the victory against the British in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Other notable areas and landmarks include Preservation Hall, Napoleon House and of course, the famous Bourbon Street.
Read our post on Things to do in the French Quarter for a complete guide to the most famous district in New Orleans.
NEARBY ATTRACTIONS INCLUDE:
- St. Louis Cathedral
- Jackson Square
- The Cabildo
- Bourbon Street
- Tennessee Williams House
- Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
- Pirates Alley
- William Faulkner House
- And much more…
For even more ideas for things to do while visiting NOLA, visit our post on The Best Free (and almost free) Things to do in New Orleans.