Blues & BBQ

Blues and BBQ are ubiquitous in the South, even here in Louisiana where we like to do our own thing. But we’re embracing everything about these two classics this weekend at the 2013 Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival! The festival will take place this year in Lafayette Square Park from Friday, October 18, through Sunday, October 20, and is presented by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation. Featured artists this year include Johnny Lang, James Cotton, Shemekia Copeland, Mightly Sam McClain, Mel Waiters, the Lee Boys, Sonny Landreth, the Iguanas, Cedric Burnside, Alvin Youngblood Hart, John Mooney, and Blind Boy Paxton. As with any New Orleans festival, there will be plenty of great food, too–after all, it is the Blues and BBQ Festival! You can find more detail on the festival, including a schedule of musical performances, here.

Southern Decadence 2014

Southern Decadence, the famous and fabulous New Orleans pride festival, was founded on a sultry August afternoon in 1972 as an amusement for a group of tight-knit friends living in a ramshackle house near the French Quarter: part going away party for one member of the group and part distraction for a new member (from New York) who kept complaining about the New Orleans heat. The theme of the event was named Southern Decadence Party: Come as Your Favorite Southern Decadent, and all participants were to dress in costume as their favorite decadent Southern character. And so it was that another one-of-a-kind New Orleans event was born.

This year’s Southern Decadence festival will take place, as always, over labor day weekend. This year’s event will include a free outdoor concert starting at 5pm on Saturday, August 30, at the corner of Bourdon and St Ann. You can find more information about the Bourbon Street Extravaganza, as well as full details of the four day event, here.

Festival Weekend: White Linen & Satchmo

The first weekend in August means two things in New Orleans: the end of summer is in sight and we’re being rewarded with the winning combination of Whitney White Linen Night and Satchmo Summerfest, two of the best summertime festivals here in the Crescent City. White Satchmo Summerfest celebrates the legendary New Orleanian Louis Armstrong with fabulous music and jazz education in the French Quarter, Whitney White Linen Night is a one night only chance to check out the galleries in New Orleans’ arts district while wearing (you guessed it) white linen. Satchmo Summerfest will be kicking off Friday at 11:00 a.m. with music and seminars at the old U.S. Mint and continues through Sunday. You can find more information, including a complete schedule of both seminars and musical performances, here. Whitney White Linen Night will take place in the 300-600 blocks of Julia Street on Saturday evening with free entry into galleries throughout the arts district as well as live music, cocktails, and local cuisine. You can find more information on White Linen Night and the official after party hosted by the Contemporary Arts Center here. Happy summertime!

Bastille Day 2013

Bastille Day is the French celebration of Independence, and here in New Orleans, the most French city in the U.S., we’re celebrating all weekend long! Even certain iconic elements of New Orleans that weren’t originally French have been taken over by this heritage! One such example is the French Market, which was actually started by the Spanish in 1779. In the 1850s, however, the trading center was officially designated as the French Market as it was located in the French part of town and had become the domain of French and Creole butchers. Café du Monde, the famous hot spot for beignets and chicory flavored café au lait, is located in the French Market on the same site where these French butchers used to hawk their wares.

To celebrate our French heritage, the Bastille Day Fête 2013 will be celebrating all things French, from the silly to the serious, including a French dog contest, judging by doggie dress rather than breed, a vintage car show, French cooking demonstrations, walking tours, and, of course, the ubiquitous duo found at all New Orleans festivals: great food and great music! You can find a full schedule of events here, and if you’re interested in learning a little more about the French influence on the local population, join us for the Oak Alley and Laura Plantation Tour to learn all about a Creole plantation!

Creole Tomato Festival

Here in Louisiana, we not only love our food, but we really appreciate it–we even have an entire festival dedicated to just our tomatoes! The Creole Tomato Festival is a celebration of our farmers, produce, and  our uniquely cultural cuisine, all of which are perfectly represented by our signature homegrown tomatoes. Creole tomatoes were originally imported from the West Indies, and they thrive in our rich alluvial soil here on the banks of the Mississippi. The climate is perfect for them as well; many tomatoes will wilt and wither in the heat and humidity of sub-tropical New Orleans, but the Creole tomato is made of hardier stuff. This year’s Creole Tomato Festival will be partnerning with the Cajun-Zydeco Festival, so not only will there be plenty of tasty tomatoes (and other foods) but there will be great music as well in the French Quarter this weekend! The festival starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday, so be sure to check it out while you’re downtown.

Celebration of the Berry

You would think there wouldn’t be much of a festival season here in Louisiana considering we have more than 400 festivals every year (yes, that’s right, more than one a day!), but although festivals can be found in full swing year round the spring is when they seem to be even more prevalent than usual. One of the juiciest festivals by far is the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival, which takes place this weekend kicking off on Friday, April 12, and continuing through Sunday, April 14. Aside from the obvious berry-licious offerings, the festival will feature more than 60 food vendors, midway rides, three full days of live music, and tons of family activities including sack races, an egg toss, a 10K an fun run on Sunday morning, and (of course) a parade on Saturday morning. Find all the info you need here.