It is time to let the let the good times roll, or as we say it in New Orleans, “Laissez les bond temps rouler!” Festival season is in full swing in the Crescent City and kicking it off with traditional purple, green and gold flair is none other than Mardi Gras. Floats are parked and ready to roll through the Quarter where everyone has been waiting, ready with waving hands, hoping to be showered in beads, chanting “throw me something mister!”
Parade-watching is serious business, so come prepared with comfortable walking shoes, a folding chair and cash on hand for snacks to keep you going. As far as attire is concerned, anything goes! Colorful wigs, tutus, masks, elaborate hats and costumes are all a part of the show — inside the float and among the crowds. Make sure you immerse yourself completely and join in the crazy and the colorful fun!
Insider Tip: Portable lavatories will be available for public use along the route, but I recommend you splurge on a bathroom ticket. Most restaurants and bars in the area will offer to sell all-day passes for $10 (or per visit for $2) to use their clean facilities.
For a complete list of parade routes and roll-out times, click here.
Explore the Irish Channel and do your best to catch a cabbage! Make time to stop by Molly’s at the Market for their signature Frozen Irish coffee and, of course, don’t forget to wear green!
Book-lovers and literary enthusiasts will relish in this festival created to honor the world-famous playwright. An impressive lineup of authors, actors, speakers and playwrights will be hosting over 30 panels and classes, presenting theatrical performances and other numerous events. Also, you won’t want to miss the “Stella!” shouting contest in the French Quarter.
New this year, Top Taco will be held at the Spanish Plaza on the Riverwalk, where attendees can eat their fill of every kind of taco and a variety of stellar craft cocktails. Proceeds for the event will benefit One Heart NOLA providing resources to families and children in need.
Arguably one of the biggest free music festivals in the country, FQF fills the heart of downtown with the sounds of big name artists and local musicians alike, along with the intoxicating scent of cajun cuisine.
Known to the locals as Jazz Fest, this spectacular lineup of artists will knock your socks off. This year, the stages will be graced with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Maroon 5, Usher, Meghan Trainor, Lorde and Snoop Dogg, just to name a few.
Insider Tip: Be sure to wear rain/hiking boots or shoes that are machine-washable. In case of rain, the fairgrounds become notoriously muddy and will not be kind to your choice of footwear.
Grab a paddle-board, canoe, kayak or even a foam noodle and take to the cool waters of Bayou St. John in Mid-City. This casual, free and fun-filled three-day music festival is all about floating around and having a good time.
Wine connoisseurs and culinary adventurers, this one’s for you. Explore the plethora of delicious food and tastings of fine vintages that carries on for four whole days. Over 250 wineries are represented and over 100 restaurants in the city join in to showcase their best dishes.
Wear the rainbow, spread the love and show your pride. Support the LGBTQ community and be a part of the largest pride parade in Louisiana!
Legends and world-changers such as Aretha Franklin, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Barry White and Etta James have all graced the stages of ESSENCE Festival since it began in the early 1990s. This festival brings people together to inspire and empower, celebrating the richness and beauty of African American culture, art and music.
If none of these festivals tickle your fancy, check out this complete list of upcoming events. There is always a party going on in New Orleans, and even if there isn’t, there’s always something to celebrate. So get on out there and find your fun.