Backstreet Cultural Museum#17 in Best Things To Do in New Orleans
One of the best places to get a feel for the city's unique identity is at the Backstreet Cultural Museum. This off-the-beaten-path attraction was established by local photographer and history buff, Sylvester Francis. Visit his museum to view an eclectic collection of costumes, memorabilia, photographs, films and other artifacts related to African American culture. Fans of HBO's "Treme" may also recognize the museum from its brief cameo in the series.
Tours of the hodgepodge collection are often given by Francis himself, which many recent travelers found to be the highlight of the museum visit, who say he is a wealth of knowledge. While the facilities aren't as polished as other museums in the city (the site is family-run, so don't expect a gift shop or cafe), the no-frills presentation is what continues to draw visitors.
Tucked away in the Tremé district (about half a mile northwest of the French Quarter), the Backstreet Cultural Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10. For more information about Francis and his collection, check out the Backstreet Cultural Museum website.
More Best Things To Do in New Orleans
#1 Frenchmen Street
If you want an authentic New Orleans experience more removed from the touristy areas of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, head to the lively Frenchmen Street. A popular spot for locals, Frenchmen Street is a four-block stretch of live music, bars, restaurants, night clubs and art galleries. Here, not only will you find fewer crowds (albeit not by much), but you'll also encounter cheaper eats and drinks, and better music – it's kind of like Bourbon Street's hipper, trendier cousin. If you don't consider yourself a night owl, the Palace Market (open daily 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.) is a shopping haven where locals sell homemade art and jewelry.
Recent visitors agreed that a trip to New Orleans isn't complete without stopping by Frenchmen Street. Some even suggest skipping the more crowded and touristy Bourbon Street and instead meandering along Frenchmen Street where you'll find live music, specifically jazz, and great bars. Travelers and locals alike love The Spotted Cat, Three Muses and d.b.a thanks to their extensive beverage selections, fun atmospheres and, of course, talented musicians. "Frenchmen Street is what Bourbon Street used to be ... it's about four blocks of more laid-back, old-style jazz clubs. Nothing fancy to them, very local with great music. A much more laid-back area to stroll from bar to bar and listen to music," said Isabelle Van Bockel, a concierge at the JW Marriott New Orleans for 10 years.
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