The City of Gretna has numerous attractions and events that we encourage visitors to explore. The partial listing below is a good sampling of opportunities for visitors to our City. We encourage all visitors to stop by Gretna City Hall or the Gretna Tourism Office (Heritage House) and introduce themselves. Please check the Upcoming Events page for things that may not be highlighted below.
Sites of Interest
Gretna Heritage House Welcome Center, 2014: It has relocated to Heritage Square at 1035 Huey P. Long Avenue and serves as the City’s Tourism Office. It is open to the public Tuesday through Friday, 10am-3pm. The circa 1840 center was a residence originally located at 111 Lavoisier Street. It was built by businessman and politician John Linden. The Tourism Office can be contacted at 504.363.1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heritage Square Playground & Gardens, 2013: A recreational park in the historic downtown area on the grounds that were once the home of Gretna High School, these Playgrounds & Gardens boast scenic landscaping, play structures, benches and other amenities to compliment Gretna’s fine quality of life.
German-American Cultural Center (GACC), 1911: Open Wednesday-Saturday, 10am-3pm. Located in the heart of Gretna’s National Register Historic District, it was settled by German immigrants in the mid-1800s. The GACC interprets the unique German immigrant contribution to Louisiana’s history through exhibits, lectures, programs and other educational activities. Exhibits depict the colonial experience, immigration, world of work, culture and religion. The GACC is supported and operated through memberships in the Friends of the German-American Cultural Center and other fundraising activities. You can find out more at http://gacc-nola.org or 504.363.4202.
Historic Post Office – Gretna’s Cultural Center for the Arts: Formerly a United States Post Office built in 1936, this historic space is transformed into a Black Box Theater available for public events and private rentals.
Southern Pacific Freight Depot, 1906: Open one Saturday a month from 8am-12:30pm, it is located on Huey P. Long Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets in historic Downtown Gretna.
Illinois Central Caboose, 1951: Built in 1951 by Illinois Central Railroad, in 1986 it was relocated to its present site behind Southern Pacific Train Depot and filled with railroad memorabilia. The acquisition and relocation of the caboose was a community effort, adopted by the Sesquicentennial Committee as a special project.
Gretna Farmer’s Market & Art Walk, 2005: Shop dozens of local vendors. Find fresh fruits & vegetables, flowers, dairy, meats and baked goods. Also available are prepared foods by local restaurants.
Texas-Pacific Passenger Depot, 1905: The Gretna Railroad Station facing Third Street was built at the turn of the 20th century and was approved for construction by the Texas-Pacific Railroad in 1901.
Gretna City Hall, 1907: Erected in 1907 as a courthouse, the grandest structure of its age in Jefferson Parish today reflects a picture of historic preservation of Gretna and its people. For more information contact the Gretna Tourism Office at 504.363.1580.
Jefferson Memorial Arch, 1923: Built in 1923 to honor our Jefferson Parish war veterans. Inscribed are names of soldiers from The War Between the States, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II.
Riverfront Amphitheater, 2009: Sitting at the edge of Huey P. Long Avenue with the skyline of New Orleans as a backdrop, the Riverfront Amphitheater is host to the Gretna Heritage Festival, Fall Concert Series and other events throughout the year.
Gretna Ferry House: In 1818, the ferry services were established between the village of Mechanickham and the then City of Lafayette (New Orleans) by the St. Mary’s Market Ferry Company. The Gretna Ferry would bring passengers from Huey P. Long Avenue to the Jackson Street Ferry. In 2013 the Department of Transportation and Development shut down operations the Gretna Ferry, though the City is working diligently to resume service.
Bike Path, River Overlook, 2004: Completed in 2004, the Gretna Bike Path is a local favorite for those who want to exercise by walking, jogging and biking. It’s the perfect place for those who want to enjoy a beautiful view of the New Orleans skyline or simply watch the ships of the world pass by.
St. Joseph Church and Gardens, 1926: Enjoy a peaceful moment at this 1926 Catholic Church featuring Spanish Baroque-style architecture and a beautiful Meditation Garden.
Hook & Ladder Cemetery, 1859: This cemetery has beautiful statues adorning the above ground tombs our region is known for. Begun in 1859, it has several interesting monuments, including one dedicated to Louis Oscar Fried who was the first casualty during the 1914 Mexican-American War.
Gretna Historical Museum (GHS): Operated by the Gretna Historical Society, the museum is located at 209 Lafayette Street, the Museum was founded in 1969 by Lloyd E. Gomez who descended from Gretna pioneers, German immigrants Claudius and Catherine Nuss Strehle. The articles of incorporation for the GHS were drafted by Gretna attorney Everette F. Gauthreaux and signed in his law office on October 26, 1969. The Gretna Historical Society Museum Complex at 209 Lafayette Street consists of three 19th century Creole cottages, a blacksmith shop and the Louisiana Fire Museum. Contact the Tourism Office at 504.363.1580 or email@example.com for current hours and more information.
David Crocket Fire Co, No. 1: Home of the oldest continuously active volunteer fire company in the state. Originally incorporated on May 7, 1844 as the Gretna Fire Engine Company No. 1, they acquired the site of the present day museum in 1859. For more information contact the Gretna Historical Society at 504.362.3854.
Kittie Strehle House, 1845: This Creole Cottage was built circa 1845 by Claudius Strehle, one of the German immigrants who first settled Mechanickham, later named Gretna, in 1836. He and his wife, Catherina, raised nine children in the cottage’s four rooms and garret. For more information contact the Gretna Historical Society at 504.362.3854.
William D. White House, 1845: This 1845 Creole Cottage was the home of village blacksmith, William D. White, his wife and nine children. One of the daughters was Lily White Ruppel, a teacher and principal from 1904 to 1944, whose home was in the cottage for many years. For more information contact the Gretna Historical Society at 504.362.3854.
Ignatius Strehle House, 1880: This Creole Cottage was built in the 1880s for Ignatius Strehle, a son of Claudius Strehle. The cottage was renovated and now houses displays depicting the History of Gretna, Louisiana. For more information contact the Gretna Historical Society at 504.362.3854.
McDonoghville Cemetery, 1850: John McDonogh founded this plot of land in 1850 to serve as the final resting place for his former slaves. Born in Baltimore in 1779, John McDonogh moved to New Orleans in the early 1800s. McDonogh was passionate about public education and is best known locally for funding the construction of over 30 schools. Only one school remains in the City of Gretna that bears his name – McDonogh 26.
Gretna Heritage Festival: Every Fall, nearly 20 city blocks in Gretna are transformed to host the Gretna Heritage Festival, a large music and cultural event. This festival has been going strong since the 1990s, and it always brings in massive music stars, especially those of the classic variety, like Joan Jett, The Guess Who and Eddie Money. This multi-stage, multi-day festival doesn’t just focus on music. There is also a large German Beer Garden, the Italian Village, carnival rides and games and countless arts and crafts vendors. Free shuttles and ferries to and from the festival are typically included with the price of a ticket. More information can be found at http://www.gretnafest.com or 504.361.7748.
Back to the River Fall Concert Series: Located at Huey P. Long Avenue and the Mississippi River Levee. Enjoy free live entertainment with food and refreshments that are available for sale. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets! Contact the Tourism Office at 504.363.1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Gretna Maifest “Stroll the Avenue:” A springtime Saturday affair with art, craft and plant vendors alongside a traditional German Maifest. Bring your friends, children and other guests to this huge pre-Mother’s Day event. Contact the Tourism Office at 504.363.1580 or email@example.com for specific dates.
City of Gretna Oktoberfest: This year Oktoberfest will be held on September 24, 2022, with a Friday night concert, Saturday cooking demo under the market, German beer, music and brats along with the Gretna Citywide Yard Sale and German Dinner at the Red Maple. Contact the Tourism Office at 504.363.1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Gretna Goblin Night: A yearly Halloween Celebration in Downtown Gretna. Come enjoy an alternative to trick-or-treating in your neighborhood. Contact the Tourism Office at 504.363.1580 or email@example.com for more information.
John McDonogh Day: This annual program in May honors public school philanthropist John McDonogh. The presentation includes speeches and presenting flowers at his portrait and former tomb. See the 2019 presentation here: 2019 John McDonogh Day Presentation
Back to the Drive-In Fall Movie Series: Usually every Saturday in October following the Gretna Heritage Festival and located at Huey P. Long Avenue on the Mississippi River. The City’s Tourism Department hosts family movie viewings with an inflatable screen set up alongside the Mississippi River. Questions regarding films and screening times should be directed to the Tourism Office at 504.363.1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Gretna Food Truck Festival: A recurring Saturday evening event in the Spring. This event welcomes food trucks from around the Greater New Orleans Region to convene under the Market for an evening of food and entertainment. Contact the Tourism Office at 504.363.1580 or email@example.com for upcoming dates and more information.
Ringing in the Arts: An annual winter celebration featuring local artists, live music and refreshments. For more information, please visit www.ringinginthearts.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soup Cook-Off: Annual soup cook-off with teams from all over Louisiana, generally held in either January or February. All guests get to vote on their favorite creamy (chowder/bisque/gumbo) or stock soup. For more information contact the Gretna Farmer’s Market Coordinator at 504.361.1822 or email@example.com.
Citywide Yard Sale: A yard sale featuring assorted vendors on the neutral ground along Huey P. Long Avenue and numerous residents and business hosting their own yard sales. Generally, hosted in the Spring and/or Fall. For more information contact the Tourism Office at 504.363.1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christmas Tree Lighting: Generally held the first Sunday in December, the event features a celebration around the large Christmas tree in the City’s central public plaza, directly in front of City Hall.