Why The Higgins Hotel is Ideal for Art Lovers
arts district new orleans text over black and white street image

Expert ideas for exploring during your stay

Step outside the doors of the Higgins Hotel and you’re in the midst of a thriving arts district. Access to the world famous National WWII Museum is a given, but you’re also perfectly positioned to explore an area boasting free public art, along with intimate galleries where the artists themselves are ready to tell their stories.

Choose your artistic pleasure: 16 galleries sit along Julia Street and the surrounding area, stroll down Poydras Street to take in the Poydras Corridor Sculpture Project, or create a DIY tour of the “Unframed Mural” exhibit —with seven extraordinary works decking the streets of this unique area known as ADNO, “Arts District New Orleans.”

Whether it’s your first or 50th visit, the art scene in New Orleans is a constantly changing canvas with a parade of surprises. For some advice on how to explore during a stay at The Higgins Hotel, we turned to ADNO President Leslie-Claire Spillman.

“We know that if folks spend a day with us, they will fall in love with the district, and maybe experience an amazing part of New Orleans they didn’t even know existed,” says Spillman.

A Perfect ADNO Afternoon

“For my perfect afternoon, I would start on the 300 block of Julia (the first gallery is LeMieux) and walk up the street away from the river, dipping in and out of the galleries. Each gallery has its own aesthetic and there really isn’t much overlap,” says Spillman, pointing out that artwork normally rotates every 6-8 weeks, so even if you’ve been here before, you’re likely to see something new.

There’s no cookie-cutter art here; creativity abounds with original work from emerging to seasoned talent, with local, national, and international artists.

“Walking from one end of the district to the other, a guest can experience work in every price point, style and medium. With so many galleries, we really do have something for everyone,” says Spillman.

The art will feed your soul and imagination, but when you’re ready to feed your stomach, there are several delicious restaurants in the neighborhood, featuring everything from global cuisine to New Orleans specialties. Stop at the front desk on your way out for a recommendation to match your taste.

After lunch and weather permitting, Spillman recommends checking out some of the incredible Unframed Murals around the district, one of which she describes as, “a jaw-dropping 150-foot work by Quebec-based artist Danae Brissonet.”

Finished in 2020, the massive mural, titled “Ignite,” blends nature, symbolism, and brilliant colors to send a message about the power of community. It’s waiting for you at 315 Julia Street.

An Ideal ADNO Evening

If you’re fortunate to be here on a Thursday night, walk over to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and take advantage of “Ogden After Hours,” a weekly entertainment series that normally happens from 6-8pm. It’s less than $15 for the opportunity to take in the current exhibit to the sound of local live music. A bonus, if you’re traveling with kids: OAH always has a weekly art project designed to cultivate young imaginations.

Enjoy dinner at another local eatery (Craft cocktails and tapas-style, farm-to-table dining are current trends to be savored!) and finish the evening dancing the night away to whatever brass band or New Orleans legend is playing at The Howlin’ Wolf, a Nola institution with a great bar that stays open late.


• Be sure to grab a brochure with a map of the district; you can get one at the front desk or pick one up at one of the galleries.
• Wear comfortable shoes!
• Text “Unframed” to 56512 for a map and info on the Unframed Murals project
• Most places will ship, making it easier to get your treasure from the gallery wall to your own!
• Follow ADNO at @artsdistrictneworleans on Instagram

For more information:

The Arts District of New Orleans Association was created in the 1990s in an effort to improve the then neglected Arts/Warehouse District of New Orleans. For more information, click here.

Blog by Stephanie Oswald Langlois. Contact me at: travelgirlsteph@gmail.com