If you’re looking to immerse yourself in new orleans culture, then you should check out the city’s annual festival calendar. Besides Mardi Gras, which is arguably the most famous celebration in the world, there are plenty of other events you can attend that focus on music, food and art.
Each year in late April and May, this renowned music festival takes place at Fair Grounds Race Course. Featuring several days of headlining musicians, it’s a beloved New Orleans event that celebrates the city’s rich jazz heritage.
French Film Festival
The New Orleans French Film Festival, now in its 26th year, features a collection of contemporary and classic francophone films. During the festival, audiences can enjoy 13 films and three shorts from France, Belgium, Canada, and Italy.
During the week leading up to Mardi Gras, the streets of the French Quarter are filled with people dressed in costume and enjoying live music from local bands and DJs. There are also food vendors, a Mardi Gras parade and a variety of activities for kids.
Louisiana’s largest cultural festival, Southern Decadence, has been a popular Labor Day Weekend destination since it started in 1972. Often referred to as a “party with a purpose,” it’s a chance to catch some of the country’s most celebrated performers, including Snoop Dogg, Michael Jackson and Barack Obama.
Oak Street Po-Boy Festival
One of the most celebrated festivals in the city, the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival is a favorite among New Orleanians and visitors alike. It’s an all-day affair with music and food from some of the city’s finest restaurants.
A must-visit festival, the Creole Festival celebrates the unique blend of African, Native American, Spanish, French and Caribbean influences that have shaped New Orleans’ culture for centuries. It includes an exhibit of historic art, a parade, and a day of musical performances from local groups.
Tennessee Williams Literary Festival
If you’re a fan of the works of Tennessee Williams, then the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival is the perfect event for you. During this event, you’ll have the opportunity to attend author readings, panel discussions and more.
Mardi Gras Indians
The Mardi Gras Indians, or Krewe de Coeur de Feu, are the most famous of the city’s Mardi Gras groups, and you can see them in their full regalia during their weekly parades. The group also hosts an annual Mardi Gras dinner and party at the Mercer House in the Lower Garden District, with entertainment and dancing for both adults and children.
New Orleans Bourbon Festival
For bourbon enthusiasts, the New Orleans Bourbon Festival is an annual event that features distilleries, restaurants speakers and industry professionals. The event kicks off with a bartender competition at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and concludes with two grand tastings at the Contemporary Arts Center.
Praise Fest NOLA
This free event features gospel music and a variety of religious performances, as well as food and drinks. Located along the banks of the bayou, it’s an uplifting way to spend your evening.