Out + About
Where to chill when the mercury soars
Cool ways to beat the August heat, from museum must-sees and guided beer tours to deep dining savings and the deep end of the pool.
Come on, it’s August in New Orleans; what did you expect? A quick Google search shows the average local temperature for the month to hover around the mid 90s … with the occasional spike here and there. It only feels like it’s 108 degrees. Sure, you could hole up all day in a dark-lit Bourbon Street bar—as many do—but there are lots of cool alternatives to keep you
active and air-conditioned at the same time.
PUBLIC POOLS A dip in the pool always helps to lower body temps. Don’t have one at your hotel? Dive in at The Country Club (p. 24), where a mere $15 provides all-day access. For just a few bucks more, the rooftop pool at the Ace Hotel is all yours, while $20 at the W French Quarter secures a place poolside (Fri.-Sun.), along with two cocktails. Splashy cabana rentals are offered at both the Roosevelt and Le Méridien hotels.
MUSEUMS August is New Orleans Museum Month, making it an ideal time to explore the city’s various cultural institutions; purchase membership to one, and visit other participating venues for free all month. Among the must-sees are
“Constructing the Break,” a group exhibit of regional artists at the Contemporary Arts Center (p. 40), “Changing Course: Reflections on New Orleans Histories” at the New Orleans Museum of Art (p. 41, which also offers free film screenings Aug. 11 and 25 at 2 pm) and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s (p. 41) annual “Louisiana Contemporary” juried exhibit.
RESTAURANTS August also brings COOLinary menus of prix-fixe specials at area restaurants (coolinaryneworleans.com). Never eaten at Commander’s Palace? Here’s your chance. Bargain-hungry diners should also check out the Temperature Lunch menu at Palace Café (p. 22), priced at the previous day’s high (92 degrees = $9.20), and Bayona’s (p. 19) 28th Anniversary Lunch (Wed.Fri.), featuring three courses for $28 … and 28-cent martinis.
THE SHOPS AT CANAL PLACE Remember when the local mall was the summertime go-to? It still is, just kicked way, way up a notch. While away a few hours in the marble-floored Shops at Canal Place (p. 31) trying on workout wear at lululemon, scouting out Saks Fifth Avenue and ogling glittery gewgaws at Tiffany & Co. Then ascend to the third-floor, state-of-the-art movie theater for an old-fashioned Hollywood escape, replete with cocktails.
AUDUBON AQUARIUM Big-screen fans will also want to settle in for a show at the nearby Audubon Aquarium (p. 36), where the Entergy Giant Screen Theater is included in admission. Outside are a number of splash pads to help quell the heat, while inside you’ll discover “Washed Ashore,” an exhibit of fantastical sea creature sculptures created from plastic pollution gathered from West Coast beaches—a perfect complement to the aquarium’s Aug. 16 Summer of Sustainability seafood dinner spotlighting leading local chefs.
BREWERY TOURS Over the past few years Crescent City craft brewing has seen a substantial upswing, with close to a dozen breweries now in operation. To help visitors tap into the local suds scene, the NOLA Brew Bus (nolabrewbus.com), New Orleans Brews Cruise (p. 39) and New Orleans Brewery Tours (premiumtoursandtransportation.com) have gotten rolling. Though they differ slightly, all offer at least three brewery stops with free samples at each.
CHURCHES The Big Easy’s well-earned reputation as a bastion of debauchery might explain its vast number of places of worship, many of which are also architectural wonders. St. Louis Cathedral (p. 38) is the city’s most visited, but it’s St. Mary’s, adjacent to the Old Ursuline Convent (p. 38), that really wows with its coffered ceiling. Just off Magazine Street, the side-by-side Italianate St. Alphonsus and German Baroque St. Mary’s Assumption compete for over-the-top ornateness, while Immaculate Conception, a Moorish-inspired structure built by Jesuits across from the Roosevelt Hotel, melds Christian, Jewish and Islamic influences and features wrought-iron pews. Now, how cool is that?
“Constructing the Break”
The Shops at Canal Place