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Cool, calm, and collected at New Orleans art museums

By Mary Lou Atkinson

Cool, calm and collected

There’s an art to keeping your cool in the meltdown of a New Orleans summer. And you can cultivate it – where else? – at a museum of art.

Any time of the year, just an hour or so spent contemplating works of art can chill out a psyche. An art museum’s atmosphere alone can be an instant stress reducer.

But when the weather forecast includes a heat advisory, such an oasis of art offers an even more tangible balm for both body and soul: air conditioning.

What’s more, if you time it right, you can have your art and air conditioning, too, for free. Two major players on the local art scene, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, have weekly free days.

NOMA ( offers free admission to everyone each Wednesday; the Ogden ( offers free admission to Louisiana residents, with valid ID, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Thursday. Both freebies come courtesy of the Helis Foundation.

So there’s no need to be hot and bothered when you can be cool, calm and collected instead.

Mary Lou Atkinson offers observations on the art of living in New Orleans whenever the spirit moves her, for NolaVie. For more information on NolaVie, visit



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