The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) was gifted to the city by the wealthy plantation owner Isaac Delgado in 1911. The building has been renovated several times since then, but always in a sympathetic way that has retained and enhanced its original features. Its world-class collection is particularly strong on American and French art, photography, glassware, and African and Japanese works. It also offers an extensive survey of Louisiana’s rich cultural heritage from the 19th century to the present day, including many valuable artworks that have been donated by local families.
The European Art galleries include paintings and sculptures by Monet, Braque, Dufy, Picasso and Miro, with a special emphasis on the work of the famous French Impressionist Edgar Degas, who spent time with relatives in New Orleans, just a few streets away from the museum. Among the paintings he completed during his stay is a portrait of his cousin Estelle Musson, which hangs on the second floor.
The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden features more than 60 sculptures from all over the world set amongst mature trees in two hectares of landscaped parkland. The free-to-download audio tour will help you navigate the garden and explain the art along the way. The garden is also the picturesque location for regular tai chi and pilates classes, which you can join in find full details of times and prices on the NOMA website. The website also gives information about temporary exhibitions and other events happening at the museum during the year.
NOMA is at the southern end of the City Park and both the museum and the sculpture garden are open daily except Mondays. There is an on-site shop where you can buy unusual souvenirs of your visit, including work by local artists. The site is well served by local transport and parking is free.