Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Presbytere (a Louisiana State Museum) - 5/12/15

Two Louisiana State Museums are housed in historic buildings located on either side of the St. Louis Cathedral. The Cabildo has exhibits about Louisiana state history and Louisiana Rock 'n' Roll. We visited The Presbytere. 

The first floor houses the powerful exhibit entitled Living with Hurricanes: Katrina & Beyond. On display at the entrance is Fats Domino's piano that was destroyed in the hurricane, as were many other musical artifacts of historical significance that belonged to musicians of New Orleans. Also displayed at the entrance was this interesting bottle collection that hangs from the ceiling.

The displays are very powerful, and heart-wrenching. Concerns started when Katrina identified as a category 1 hurricane. In the end it was a category 5 hurricane with 160 mph winds causing devastating damage that is still very evident today and loss of life as well. Throughout the disaster though, there were amazing examples of heroism and caring for others. There were just so many aspects of the emergency efforts that were too little, too late. Honestly, these displays will make you cry and have a lasting effect.

This neighborhood was particularly hard hit. And the second photo is of an actual garage door documenting the situation found in that home after the owners were rescued.

The display of this filthy, dirt-crusted, teddy bear is a strong illustration of the damage to everything involved in the flooding. Seven Torah scrolls from the Beth Israel Congregation were lost. This Tallit (prayer shawl), menorah, and Shofar (ram's horn) were rescued.

I was surprised at how few pictures I took in this part of the museum. In retrospect, I think that was because it was so emotional to be immersed in the sordid details of the terrible destruction and loss of life that occurred here.

In stark contrast, the second floor of the museum houses the Mardi Gras: It's Carnival Time in Louisiana exhibit. I thought this was a great explanation of what Mardi Gras is. It is celebrated thoughout the state and not just New Orleans. And the countdown and schedule of Mardi Gras is shown is this display.

Parade displays. The costumes are so outrageous! And very beautiful.

There are marching clubs that participate and compete for awards in the Mardi Gras parades. This reminded me of those crazy Mummers in Philadelphia!

Here is a display of the torches, called flambeaux, used (past and present) for night parades.

I loved this carved wooden exhibit of some of the floats in Mardi Gras parades. Beautiful craftsmanship. Also, in rural parts of Louisiana these Arcadian masks are used for Mardi Gras celebrations.

Crowns and Scepters for the King and Queen of Mardi Gras.

Balls are also part of the Mardi Gras tradition.

The King Cake (with a small ceramic or, today, plastic baby hidden inside) is another long-standing tradition associated with Mardi Gras.

There was a hallway with what looked like porta-potties. Behind two of the doors were actual inside bathrooms.

Admission to the museum is $6/adults and $5/seniors. I am still thinking about the images and stories I learned about Katrina. And the Mardi Gras was very uplifting in comparison. Loved this museum. And it is located in a very convenient location across from Jackson Square and next to the St. Louis Cathedral. See their website for additional information and hours of operation.


No comments:

Post a Comment