Memorial Day was initially known as Decoration Day, a day in which Americans decorated the graves of fallen Civil War Soldiers with flowers. Over time, the holiday evolved to honor American military personnel who died in all wars, and in 1971 Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday. With this change, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, establishing Memorial Day as the last Monday in May to provide a three-day weekend for federal employees. Memorial Day Weekend now serves as the unofficial start of summer. Let us help you kick off your summer season with a fun-filled patriotic weekend for the family in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Drop by the National World War II Museum
When it comes to telling the story of America’s war heroes, the National WWII Museum has it all. This military history museum in the New Orleans Central Business District will give you a front-row seat into the history of WWII and how the freedom fighters won it. It usually features Memorial Day events that include memorial ceremonies, guest speakers, and even unique performances from the Marine Corps Band. Visitors are encouraged to explore educational exhibits that offer insight into various aspects of World War II, from The Arsenal of Democracy to The D-Day Invasion of Normandy. Other memorabilia relating to the fallen soldiers include interactive images, stories, and artifacts. A trip to the museum is fun and educational for the entire family. Enjoy this opportunity to bond with your grandchildren by sharing important American history through this interactive museum.
Check Out Attractions With Military Perks
Are you a military service member or a veteran? Many museums and places of interest honor your service by providing discounts or free entry. Utilizing this perk on Memorial Day Weekend is a great way to celebrate the holiday and take advantage of your highly deserved perks. Here are some museums and attractions that offer discounts for service members:
Located in the Warehouse Arts District downtown, this museum is known for the most extensive collection of Southern art. It holds many public events and all types of educational programming.
New Orleans’s oldest fine art institution is home to over 40,000 pieces, including a substantial collection of French and American art.
Located in Jackson Square, in the French Quarter, this Spanish colonial building holds many rare artifacts related to American history.
Learn about the ways Jews in the American South influenced cultural heritage through programs and exhibits aimed at cultivating an appreciation and understanding of diversity.
This is the perfect Memorial Day visit if you are a music lover! Celebrate New Orlean’s rich jazz history through educational programming, interactive exhibits, and live musical performances.
Go Back in Time at Chalmette Battlefield
There’s no better way to celebrate Memorial Day than visiting an actual battle site to pay homage and remember history. Located alongside the Mississippi River near the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park, you can set foot at the location where the Battle of New Orleans in Chalmette was held. The Battle of New Orleans in Chalmette is considered one of the greatest battles of the War of 1812 and an American victory.
Enjoy All Things Greek at the Greek Festival
The annual New Orleans Greek Festival of 2022 is a local Memorial Day tradition! Activities run May 27 – 29 at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral. This is the place to enjoy all things Greece in New Orleans! With tons of Greek food, culture, and entertainment, there is plenty for you and the family to enjoy. You can watch a cooking demonstration, listen to or dance to live Greek music, check out the legendary Hellenic dancers, rent a canoe to Bayou St. John, or sample sumptuous Greek meals and drinks, including the iconic ouzo. There are also Cathedral Tours and even a Friday evening Run/Walk Race to get active and enjoy the outdoors!
Picnic at Scenic New Orleans Spots
Sometimes, all you need to have a fantastic holiday is a quiet and relaxing time in nature. Planning a group picnic is the perfect way to enjoy quality time and unwind by catching up with the family. New Orleans has many breathtaking gathering spots for your family get-together. Crescent Park features scenic city views and a dog run to walk your furry friends. Another option, The Fly at Audubon Park, is a wonderful site to play frisbee while taking in the magnificent Mississippi River views. Another great picnicking spot is Bayou St. John, where you can relax by the water and watch ducks swim by as you enjoy crawfish or po-boys.
Explore the Crown Jewel of New Orleans: The French Quarter
Dubbed the city’s historic heart, The French Quarter is a neighborhood where you are bound to have plenty of fun. Its central location makes it the perfect spot to discover all types of Memorial Day events happening in New Orleans. The French Quarter is lined with multiple fine-dining restaurants if you feel up for a culinary adventure. If Bourbon Street is too busy for your taste, focussing on quieter locations is always an option. Explore more adjacent streets leading to the French Quarter, and you are sure to discover local crafts and sample delicious gourmet food. Don’t forget to head over to Jackson Square, where you will be entertained and delighted by the numerous vibrant street performers.
Go on a Historical River Cruise
With so much to do and see in New Orleans, don’t forget to spend time on the Mississippi River. Here you will find plenty of shops to peruse and places to dine before or after you board The Creole Queen Cruise. This 880-passenger Paddlewheeler is New Orleans’ sole historic cruise and offers hundreds of years of New Orleans history. The Creole Queen provides multiple types of cruises. You can take a historical cruise and view the French Quarter, the Port of New Orleans, and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve or join the Creole Queen Jazz Cruise at night or even have a delicious morning meal during the Creole Queen Jazz Brunch.
There are so many activity options throughout New Orleans on Memorial Day weekend. We hope that this article helped inspire some ideas for you to share with your family so that you can plan your next memorable moments together. Whether you visit historical museums, American battle locations, or cruise on the Mighty Mississippi, we know your Memorial Day Weekend will be jam-packed with exciting opportunities to laugh and share time with the ones you love the most.
Article written by Beau West – providing assisted living in Mandeville, Louisiana.