Staying at home these days means playing your part in flattening the curve of the coronavirus pandemic. But, it doesn’t have to be boring, especially when you’ve got New Orleans on your mind. You see, the city is accessible virtually these days, first through our social channels, but also through the many museums, attractions, musicians, and online stores that bring a taste of the city right to our fingertips. These New Orleans boredom busters will keep kids and adults alike entertained for as long as we need it.
Read and Watch
Pick up a NOLA book or two, or stream your favorite TV show filmed in New Orleans
While you can’t get out and about to explore the city right now, why not see New Orleans through the eyes of your favorite author? Enjoy one of our favorite books set in New Orleans, from classics like A Streetcar Named Desire to new titles like The Yellow House, a memoir about a family home in New Orleans East. Perhaps you’d like to explore various recipes from New Orleans chefs. Learn how to cook like a pro with these cookbooks. Order from a local bookshop, while you’re at it.
Another way to experience NOLA from afar is through the set of a TV show. New Orleans has guest starred in a variety of shows throughout the years including Treme, American Horror Story: Coven, The Originals, and NCIS: New Orleans. Get a little taste of NOLA from home while watching these shows.
New Orleans Film Society knows how much we all miss being in the theater, so they’ve decided to bring the theater to you, streaming a new title every Thursday online. The films will be available to stream for two weeks, and a portion of the proceeds from the virtual tickets will support NOFS. Upcoming films include What She Said, a portrait of the work and life of controversial film critic Pauline Kael, and her battle to achieve success and influence in the 20th-century movie business. Be sure to check out the Film Society's new streaming channel, From NOLA with LOVE, a catalog of 40 films from New Orleans filmmakers, all exhibited in the most recent New Orleans Film Festival.
For an interactive movie-watching experience, check out The Historic New Orleans Collection's #NolaMovieNight. Each movie night will feature a group rewatch of a New Orleans-set (or New Orleans-shot) film. Staff experts will be joined by guest re-watchers to provide historical context, location-spotting, behind-the-scenes tidbits, accent critiques, and lots of participatory fun. Follow @visit_thnoc on Twitter to participate. Streaming options will be made available through THNOC.
Put the screen down and pick up some crayons with these creative activities
There are plenty of options for exploring your creative side, New Orleans style, during the stay-at-home order. Start by downloading a coloring page from WalkingMan Studios and sharing your art on social media.
Support local businesses while getting creative with a coloring book of NOLA architecture and local fauna from Ellen Macomber. The book is $25 and includes 22 high-quality pages of detailed images and six pages of colorable postcards that can be mailed out to family and friends. Artist Terrance Osborne has created a New Orleans coloring packet, which sells for $35 and can be purchased here. Lionheart Prints is selling calligraphy kits for those who would like to work on hand lettering, as well as watercolor sets and puzzles to keep your brain busy.
NOLA Craft Culture has glittering kits available for those who want to get ahead of their Mardi Gras crafting. Kids crafts, such as make-your-own friendship bracelets and picture frame decorating, are also available.
Banko Box, a New Orleans-based small business, is dedicated to bringing historic craft to contemporary audiences by cutting recycled cardboard into fun-to-assemble mementos—such as dioramas, tunnel books, and 3D puzzles—that capture the essence of place. Assemble your own 3-D St. Charles Avenue streetcar, for example. Shop the puzzles here.
For more local fun, shop the online storefronts of local businesses here.
Get creative in the kitchen with help from the New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute. With Cooking in Quarantine, chefs from the culinary school will come to you live via Zoom and teach you how to whip up a quick meal from your quarantine pantry. They’ll help you plan healthful and flavorful meals, put your kids to work in the kitchen, or just master that technique you've always wanted to learn. Tune in on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5 p.m. CST. NOCHI asks for donations in lieu of a fee.
Take a Virtual Tour
Science, nature, and more for children and adults alike
Explore New Orleans for free with these resources, including the many virtual tours being offered by local museums. Tune in for a livestream of an art class, or explore the online database of many diverse exhibits. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art is offering free downloadable activities including paper sculpture, drape painting, and mixed media collages, and the New Orleans Museum of Art is offering a wide range of web-exclusive features, for example.
The free online resources being offered by museums include activities and lesson plans for children and young adults. The National WWII Museum (which reopens in a limited capacity on Memorial Day) is a great place to start, where students and teachers are able to stream-on-demand lectures and conference sessions, articles, videos, oral histories, and more online and on social media. Download a STEM activity kit and learn how to make hand sanitizer at home or the basics of coding.
New Orleans Secrets Tours has adapted to offer a different type of virtual tour. Videos on their YouTube and Facebook show their guides diving into fun, often lesser-known New Orleans topics, such as the story behind Canal Street, and Audubon Park’s namesake. All donations will go directly to the out-of-work New Orleans Secrets tour guides. Books, cocktail kits, and other fun items are available in their online shop.
The Escape Game New Orleans has also gone virtual, where you can play a live game with friends and family from anywhere in the world using Zoom. The latest game, Ruins: Forbidden Treasure, will put your team to the test as you're tasked with recovering a hidden treasure.
Kids will enjoy going on a virtual safari or underwater excursion with the Audubon Nature Institute. Meet the animals online, and check the different social channels to see how the animals are coping while under quarantine (be sure to check out the penguins).
Let the New Orleans music come to you
Experience New Orleans from home by live streaming a performance of your favorite artist or musician. Check out the WWOZ Virtual Gig Calendar, or tune into one of these artist livestreams. Check out our Feel-Good NOLA Playlist, perfect for when you need a little boost.
For the Kids
For the little ones, or the young at heart
Turn your kitchen into a pizzeria with a little help from Reginelli’s. The Make Your Own Reginelli’s Pizza Kit is the perfect activity for kids and comes with everything you need to build your own 10” pie, including a ball of dough, cheese, sauce, and a coloring sheet with crayons and instructions, all for $9. Add toppings for an additional cost.
For the Birthday Girl/Boy
A birthday in quarantine can be extra special with these NOLA touches
The folks at Little P’nuts Toy Shoppe have been delivering joy in the form of balloon displays across the New Orleans area. Whether the birthday girl or boy is turning 5 or 50, a driveway balloon display is sure to boost their spirits. Lots of games, STEM activities, and toys are available in the online shop as well.
Plenty of New Orleans restaurants are open for takeout and delivery. While you can’t throw a party, celebrating with a delicious meal in the comfort of your own home is a great way to spend your birthday.
No birthday would be complete without a cake, and there are a few bakeries open for business in NOLA. Bittersweet Confections will deliver a cake right to your door, and some of the other bakeries offering sweet treats include Gracious Bakery, Blue Dot Donuts, and Bywater Bakery.