Easter Weekend in New Orleans

During this busy festival season in the Crescent City, it can be hard to keep up with all of the fun activities going on! Here are the main events, parades, and celebrations for this Easter Weekend:

Saturday, April 4th:

8:00AM Crescent City Classic Race

11:00AM Freret Street Festival

Sunday, April 5th: 

10:30AM Historic French Quarter Easter Parade

1:00PM Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade

4:30PM Gay Easter Parade


Happy Easter!

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day New Orleans Style!

New Orleans is a gumbo of cultures and traditions and we are glad to have every ingredient, especially the Irish!   St. Patty’s day is another time we can celebrate who we are and share the spirit with our fellow neighbors and anyone else who wants to join one of the best parties of the year.   Come on, who doesn’t like green beer?!   While today is the feast day of St. Patrick, here in New Orleans, we celebrate for at least a week!  Don't miss the Irish Club Parade running through the French Quarter at 6:00 today. Click here for the route map. 

Where Y’at?

New Orleanians have a distinctive dialect, but beyond that there are certain terms and phrases which are unique to the city and our culture. If you have ever felt confused or ignorant in conversation with a local, this post is for you!

New Orleans Vocabulary (the essentials):

  • Bywater (BAI-waw-t@) – An area just due east of the French Quarter.

  • The Causeway (KAWZ-wey) – refers in particular to the bridge running from Metairie to Mandeville across Lake Pontchartrain. This was actually the longest bridge in the world up until a few years ago, at 24 miles.

  • Coffee and Doughnuts – refers to begneits and cafe-au-lait in this sense, like 'Let's get coffee and doughnuts'

  • Go cup – a plastic cup thrown at Mardi Gras Parades that fits easily into drink-holders in cars. The name comes from the fact that they are used to serve drinks in bars so that people can drink on the street. Drinking on the street in most places is fine, but glass bottles or beer cans are prohibited. (the exception is Mardi Gras parades)Lagniappe (LAEN-yap) – it means 'something extra', like when you get a free coke with a meal, or you buy a pound of ham and get an extra two ounces. The point is to bring return business, as well as friendship and good will.

  • Neutral Ground (NOO-tr@l GRAEWND) –  It's widely used even nowadays by all generations in the city, it has a cool historical background, and it in itself is more important in New Orleans than in many other cities. Oh yeah, it means 'median'. The term 'median' is never used, ever. In fact, many New Orleanians will not understand you if you call it a 'median'. In New Orleans, they can be very very wide between streets (kids play football on them). Uptown, they're essential to parade routes (You're either on the curb side or the neutral ground side of a float) and streetcar lines. The name comes from the fact that in the really old days of the city, Canal Street divided two distinct neighborhoods: The French creoles on the east side, and the newly-arrived Americans on the west. There was not much amity between these two groups, but on Sundays they met in the middle of Canal Street to exchange goods and conduct other business. In this way, the piece of ground in between two streets became known as the 'neutral ground'.

  • Po-boy (PAW-boi) – a wonderful New Orleans sandwich on french bread, packed with lettuce and tomatoes and all kinds of meats, like hot roast beef, ham and cheese, fried shrimp, fried oysters, and much, much, more. a roast beef po-boy is by far the best sandwich in the universe. the sandwich was traditionally a cheap lunch for blue-collar workers in the city, stuffed with all kinds of stuff, but today, they're still pretty affordable but not dirt cheap, as they once were.

  • Streetcar (STREET-kaw) – a type of trolley that runs the length of St. Charles Avenue and parts of Carrolton Avenue uptown and Canal Street downtown.

  • Throw me something, Mister! (THRO mee S@M'n MIS-t@) – This is what you say to a guy up on a Mardi Gras float when you want him to throw you beads, cups, doubloons, trinkets, etc.

  • Uptown, Downtown, Lakeside, Riverside – the four cardinal points, West, East, North, South respectively.

  • The Westbank (WES-beynk) – the area across the River from the city proper, it includes AlgiersHarveyMarreroBridge CityWestwego and other towns. The funny thing is, the Westbank is actually south of New Orleans.

  • Where Y'at? (WHAE YAT) – supposedly means 'how's it going?'

  • Zatarain's (ZAT-t@-RAENZ) – a local spice company, this is often used as a generic term for 'crawfish boil' or 'crab boil'.

Learn more New Orleans vocabulary here.

Christmas Decorations in New Orleans

December is a special time in New Orleans. The twinkling lights and festive holiday decorations overpower the Mardi Gras beads still hanging in the trees and balconies from years past, which typically adorn our beloved city. The whole city is decked out in lights, bows, and sparkle for this seasons' fetes.  Besides Celebration in the Oaks and the meticulous decor of the stately Garden District mansions, the hotel decorations of some of New Orleans' oldest landmarks are not to be missed!  The Roosevelt, The Monteleone, and The Columns hotels have earned the top 3 places for best decorated hotels. The Roosevelt, easily the most famous, stands above the rest with a block-long marble hallway glowing with holiday spirit! 

Post-Katrina New Orleans Education Systems

New Orleans is now ground zero as a national model to learn how a school system can recover from a disaster.  The city has created a charter school system which is trying to help compensate for a large section of the population still mired in poverty. Besides the existing population living in poverty, Post-Katrina New Orleans has received a new wave of immigrants and their children. We need to learn on the national level how a city like New Orleans can absorb the influx of Hispanic children being integrated in our school system. New Orleans is a laboratory, a leader in experimental education. An experiment for this type of public school could become a model on the national level for rebuilding from scratch. New Orleans is on the way to becoming a market driven system empowering students and parents with more decision making.

4.0 Schools is a local organization working on building solutions to the difficult issues facing education as an institution. As a learning innovation ecosystem, 4.0 Schools is giving New Orleanians the foundation to implement innovative strategies to quickly make a difference in the lives of our youth.  See some of the positive changes being made in education at 4.0 as part of NOLA Tech Week.  Operation Spark, a non-profit organization empowering schools and underprivileged kids in New Orleans with the literacy of software creation. This Saturday, their students will be teaching adults how to code!

The Port of New Orleans Then and Now

In 1718, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, “Bienville,” founded New Orleans along the Mississippi River. This trade-friendly location later became the capital of the French colony of Louisiana and shaped the future of the United States. Today, the Port of New Orleans continues its crucial operation as a transportation and distribution hub for waterborne commerce in the U.S. It ranks 5th in the nation based on volume of cargo handled, and 12th in the nation based on value. Thanks to our strategic location on the Mississippi, our city and region support a broad range of industries and specialty services including oil and gas, coffee production, and tourism. If you come to our fine city on a cruise, we will welcome you through the Port of New Orleans!