WWII Museum and dodging Final Four fans
March 19, 2012 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone comment on the "Behind the Lines" tour at the National WWII Museum? And also, we'll be there on Final Four weekend, but care nothing for basketball; any ideas for what to do and what not to try to do?

My best friend and I are headed to New Orleans for a weekend of relaxation. On Saturday we're booked to do the "Behind the Lines" tour at the WWII Museum, in which you get three hours with a docent climbing on their tank and seeing stuff that's not on display, &c. Can anyone comment on this tour? Are there any items in the collection that we should be sure to see (or to skip)?

Also, we had no idea that the weekend we're going is the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament finals. (What can I say? I'm an idi0t!) We'll be staying on the edge of the French Quarter. Will we be miserable by trying to avoid drunken hoops fans, or should we be OK -- I mean, can the city absorb this many visitors plus the usual tourists?

There are so many good AskMe threads about New Orleans, and I have been reading them all. Thanks to everyone who's posted!
posted by wenestvedt to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As to the Final Four stuff, I'd just stay away from Poydras St near the Superdome and you should be okay. I've never done that tour at the museum but it sounds pretty cool!
posted by radioamy at 9:34 AM on March 19, 2012

Best answer: New Orleans is known for its capacity to absorb huge numbers of tourists. The NCAA tournament can't possibly be worse than Mardi Gras...one caveat is that traffic in the French Quarter can get really bad around when major sporting events at the Superdome start and let out.
posted by phoenixy at 10:27 AM on March 19, 2012

Best answer: I've never done the behind the scenes tour, but the museum is fantastic so I would expect it to be great.

The Final Four will obviously be bringing lots of people in, especially downtown, so make any dinner reservations immediately, if you haven't already.
posted by CheeseLouise at 1:30 PM on March 19, 2012

Best answer: I was there this past weekend, and in spite of the madness of St Patrick's day, I was still able to get a lunch seat at Antoine's, supper and drinks at the Napoleon House, lunch at the Green Goddess and Sunday morning breakfast at the Clover Grill all with no real issues and only a 20-30 minute wait at worst. Bourbon Street, Jackson Square and Frenchman Street were their usual madhouses, but the rest of the Quarter was no worse than any other springtime. On Poydras, the line for Mother's was about as long as ever, but if I hopped on the streetcar and headed out to Magazine, it was quiet and I had no problem finding places to eat with no wait.

Be warned that public transport was swamped all weekend (buses and streetcars full, the phone lines for taxi services constantly busy), and I expect that to continue. Bring good walking shoes so you always have a Plan B for getting around.

The WWII museum is an excellent museum, and while I haven't taken the backstage tour, I doubt that any history nerds would be disappointed. They have a LOT of neat stuff.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:51 AM on March 20, 2012

Response by poster: The "Behind the Lines" tour at the World War II Museum blew our minds. Well worth the money. Where else can I get behind the wheel of a half-track, touch Stephen Ambrose's Emmy award, hear a museum curator say "badass," and find out that their Luger really does jam a lot? A once in a lifetime event, to be sure.

I am preparing notes on the tour, and anyone who's interested should MeMail me if they want a copy.

The crowds weren't too bad. My friend made reservations at a few places a couple of weeks ago (Muriel's, Galatoire's for brunch, and Arnaud's) and we had no trouble -- we were seated a little early each time, in fact. Honestly, Palm Sunday Mass at 9am was the most crowding we saw...though maybe going to Cafe du Monde at 7:50 on a Sunday morning helped.

We didn't bother trying to get cabs anywhere without just having the bellman do it for us.

Thanks to everyone for their encouragement. We really had a fantastic weekend.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:10 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh, by the way, our tour guide turned out to be an actual local rock star, as well as a Total Rock Star guide. Thanks, Meg!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:56 AM on April 3, 2012

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