Celebrate New Orleans style all year long

Beth D'Addono

By , Local Expert, New Orleans
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Nobody knows for sure, but New Orleans just may have invented the festival.

People in this town dress up at the drop of a hat, show up at the opening of a door and party like rock stars for no discernable reason, other than it may be a Wednesday. Some of the more oddball fetes including the running of the bulls, a harebrained recreation of the San Fermin scramble, given a New Orleans spin. The July festival replaces bulls with Big Easy Rollergirls and participants from other roller derby leagues across the country. You have to see this to believe it. Then there's the annual Red Dress Run in August, with more than 100...  Read more »

  • 1

    Mardi Gras

    • Neighborhood: Cbd

    While the lore and pageantry of Mardi Gras runs as deep as the mighty Mississippi, the bottom line is, this is some party.

    Local Expert Tip: "The smaller neighborhood parades are magical. One not to miss is 'tit Rex (short for Petite Rex) a smaller-is-better parade of cigar box-sized floats that kicks off at St. Roch and N. Robertson around 5 pm the two Saturdays before Fat Tuesday."

     
  • 2

    New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

    A dozen stages, big names like Bruce Springsteen and Chaka Khan, local talent and out of sight food. It doesn't get any better than this.

    Local Expert Tip: "Before the fest stop at Liuzza's at the Track for a party kick off and one of the best Bloody Mary's in town. "

     
  • 3

    French Quarter Festival

    The largest free city music fest in the country is in New Orleans. Did we mention that it was free?

    Local Expert Tip: "Don't miss the second line kick off parade Friday night at Bourbon and Iberville."

     
  • 4

    Tales of the Cocktail

    New Orleans invented the cocktail so it makes perfect sense that cocktail culture and mixology trendsetters a come together in this popular fest.

    Local Expert Tip: "Don't just sip in the French Quarter. Tales includes events at bars and lounges in neighborhoods like the Bywater, Marigny and MId-City - these are not to be missed. "

     
  • 5

    Satchmo SummerFest

    This festival pays homage to Satchmo with a wealth of local live music, all free, and jazz related seminars and special events.

    Local Expert Tip: "Don's miss the Second Line in honor of Satchmo's'birthday August 4. "

     
  • 6

    New Orleans Wine and Food Experience

    NOWFE is a rite of passage for local foodies, drawing thousands of residents and out of towners for a weekend of wine tasting and grazing.

    Local Expert Tip: "Eat and drink without feeling guilty - NOWFE has raised more than $1 million for non-profit organizations supporting culinary education and fighting hunger in New Orleans to date. "

     
  • 7

    Southern Decadence

    Southern Decadence is gay Mardi Gras for GLBT locals in New Orleans and draws a huge crowd of gay tourists from the U.S. and abroad.

    Local Expert Tip: "The Golden Lantern bar at 1239 Royal is the unofficial headquarters for the festivities, a great spot to people and costume watch."

     
  • 8

    Tennessee Williams Literary Festival

    From just 500 attendees in 1986, the festival now draws more than 10,000 fans of the great writers' work.

    Local Expert Tip: "Williams set his play Vieux Carré at 722 Toulouse St. in the French Quarter, one of his local addresses."

     
  • 9

    Essence Music Festival

    • Neighborhood: Cbd

    Essence Music Festival is the biggest African American culture and music festival in the U.S.

    Local Expert Tip: "Evening events are strictly dress to impress- no slumming or you'll stand out."

     
  • 10

    Voodoo Music Experience

    This alt and rock music fest has attracted more than one million music lovers over the past 15 years.

    Local Expert Tip: "Don't forget your costume! Get into the spirit of this festival that takes place over Halloween. Voodoo festival-goers love to dress up, so join in on the fun. "

     

 

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