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“The Presbytère: Katrina & Mardi Gras Exhibits”
Review of The Presbytere

The Presbytere
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US$25.00*
and up
New Orleans Cemetery and Supernatural Tour
Ranked #47 of 383 things to do in New Orleans
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: The Presbytere was designed in 1791 to match the Cabildo, alongside St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter. It stands today as a beautiful reminder of both Louisiana's singular past and its vibrant present.The Presbytere, originally called Casa Curial or "Ecclesiastical House," was built on the site of the residence, or presbytere, of the Capuchin monks. The building was used for commercial purposes until 1834 when it became a courthouse. In 1911, it became part of the Louisiana State Museum. Two exhibitions are on display-"Living with Hurricanes: Katrina and Beyond" tells of rescue, rebuilding and renewal, and "Mardi Gras: It's Carnival Time in Louisiana" captures the fun and fantasy of the annual celebration.
Reviewed 5 November 2013

Part of the Louisiana State Museum system, The Presbytère and its sister building (The Cabildo) bookend St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square. My husband and I toured the historic Cabildo (site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer) on a previous visit to New Orleans, so we decided to check out The Presbytère on our most recent visit. Upon entering, we were greeted by a fascinating and very moving art installation in the lobby area -- "Message of Remembrances" by Mitchell Gaudet. The bottles signify the lives lost to Hurricane Katrina, while the blue glass hands represent those who rendered aid to flooded Gulf Coast residents. Moving beyond the lobby, the first floor features a wide variety of exhibits relating to Hurricane Katrina. It was a somber reminder of all the lives lost, yet there was also a sense of hope and inspiring survival stories. We saw that NOLA residents maintained their sense of humor, creating festive Mardi Gras costumes from the blue tarps used during and after Katrina. This transitioned nicely to the Mardi Gras exhibits on the second level, which cover the history of this annual event and highlight some of the colorful characters and accoutrements -- from elaborate Zulu costumes to Krewe floats to mannequins in Baby Doll regalia.

Given the building's convenient location on Jackson Square and modest $6 admission fee (discounts are available for students, seniors, military, and AAA members), I would highly recommend The Presbytère to anyone visiting New Orleans' French Quarter. It's a great way to get a feel for the fun of Mardi Gras, especially if you're not planning to spring for a more expensive ticket to Mardi Gras World; and it's also a good history lesson for those who would like to learn more about Katrina and other Gulf Coast hurricanes.

2  Thank Escriteur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 November 2013

It's sad that this museum, in a beautiful building in one of the most popular squares in town is so often overlooked. Perhaps that's because the Presbytere is part of the Louisiana State Museum system, which has 12 museums, 8 of which are in New Orleans. Perhaps it's because it's next to the cathedral and the Cabildo, with its early NO history and Napoleon's death mask. In tours, it's often mentioned as an afterthought if at all. What a shame.

The extensive Hurricane Katrina exhibit will get you involved. As you move through the exhibit, you will experience it unfolding, day after day, and you'll hear the sound of the storm in the distance growing stronger. There are many personal stories to go along with the exhibit; however, many of the devices were not working, which significantly reduced the impact. You will be touched and saddened, you'll be amazed at the bravery of some, and you will shake your head in disbelief at some who lacked any common sense at all (like one who went to bed even though water was covering her floor and rising). You will learn a great deal about levees. The one thing that was barely touched upon (but acknowledged) was the fact that one of the main reasons for all the flooding problems was human interference with river flows and destruction of the natural wetlands that would ordinarily protect the city from most storm surges and floods.

It's certainly emotionally draining, so upstairs, the Mardi Gras exhibit was a welcome relief. Beautiful costumes and a little bit of history. It was nice to see. The museum is well worth the visit.

1  Thank spendley3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 September 2013 via mobile

The Mardi Gras and Katrina exhibits were fascinating, and the admission was only $6. Wonderful place to visit.

Thank Ljoson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2013

The exhibit of Katrina is harrowing and sad. There is a lot of personal testimonies and information about the breeches and the Hurricaine. Upstairs is all about Mardi Gras through the years along with some of the masks of Northern Louisiana which is different than NOLA. Good to see the Katrina visit but nice to change it up with Mardi Gras. Both well done exhibits.

1  Thank Dianne59-12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 7 September 2013

Glad I found out about this place from a walking tour or I don't think I would have known it was here. Great for $6.

Mardi Gras upstairs was very colourful. Makes me want to come back to see it all but the highlight for me, and main reason I came here was for the Hurricane Katrina Display.

It was very informative with pictures, videos, news reports, audio recordings of Hurricane Katrina. Highly recommended. Learnt so much about the build up to Katrina, what happened when it hit, and the suffering and fight for survival after. Well worth a visit.

Thank mambo202
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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