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The Advocate: In New Orleans, find cheap movies, free laughs, more!

Person looking at a painting in NOMA

New Orleans summer is here. You know this because your sweat-drenched shirt is sticking to your body, and all you did was walk outside.

Our challenging relationship with the summer months isn’t a new thing. As described in Richard Campanella’s book, “Bienville’s Dilemma,” one observer looked at what was then back-of-town swampland and said, “This boiling fountain of death is one of the most dismal, low, and horrid places, on which the light of the sun ever shone.”

But we New Orleanians are a fun-loving people. We won’t be denied entertainment for a full quarter of the year! So we went on a quest to find some nice, cool fun in and around the Crescent City that won’t break the bank.

When we asked friends for suggestions, one said, “I work longer hours for fun during the summer, because my office has air conditioning.” Another said, “Just give up and go on vacation to Iceland.”

We won’t be defeated so easily, and neither will you. Here are our picks!


Want proof God loves us? Art can be damaged by extreme temperature. That means museums have to be temperature-controlled! Combine that with the fact that museums often offer free or discounted entry once each week, and now we’re in business.

The New Orleans Museum of Art, for example, offers Louisiana residents free entry every Wednesday. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art does the same on Thursdays, and The Contemporary Arts Center follows suit on Sundays and offers free entry to children until grade 12 any day of the week.

The Historic New Orleans Collection offers free access to its many art and history-oriented exhibitions at both its Royal and Chartres streets campuses.

And the Audubon Nature Institute offers free admission — plus four guest passes — to a different Audubon attraction each Wednesday to anyone with a valid government-issued photo ID proving they live in New Orleans. Check the Institute’s Community Connect page to see whether it’s the Aquarium, Butterfly Garden, Insectarium, Planetarium or Zoo offering free admission that week.


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