You already know to order the French 75 at Arnaud’s in the French Quarter. What you may not know is that after you’ve sipped your cocktail and tipped your bartender, you should ask to tour the upstairs. Chances are, you’ll have the Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum all to yourself. The private collection is named for the reigning queen of Mardi Gras balls from 1937 to 1968 (who also happened to be the daughter of Count Arnaud). Sparkling tiaras, sinister masks, fancy krewe invitations, black & white photographs, and other memorabilia tell the unique story of Carnival, but what’ll really bowl you over are the elaborate costumes—more than 24 of them encased in glass, including 13 that belonged to Mrs. Wells and four worn by the King Count himself. The museum is free to visit and open any time the restaurant is serving.
813 Bienville Ave., Second Fl., New Orleans, LA; 504-523-5433.