10 Best Burlesque Shows in New Orleans to Get Your Tease On

Burlesque has a storied history in the city of New Orleans. Against a soundtrack of early jazz, the city's first burlesque performers pleased and teased in the Storyville red light district as early as the beginning of the last century. 

Ever since Storyville, visitors have been coming to New Orleans looking for racy entertainment. Scantily clad women bumping and grinding in a performance that combines striptease, comedy, costumes and showmanship is burlesque in a nut shell.  There are plenty of intimate venues around town to enjoy the sassy performance art.

Whether a venue has an in-house troupe like the House of Blues does with Bustout Burlesque or hosts nationally touring acts like the Allways Lounge does, there are plenty of options. You can choose from an authentic retro performance, or experience neo-burlesque which may have elements of circus arts, variety acts and always music. There are burlesque pop-ups too - or is that pop-outs? at places like Bar Redux in Bywater and Gravier Social Club in the CBD, with dates and times varying and always subject to change.

Burlesque has experienced a revival in New Orleans and across the country, thanks to its combination of production values, sex appeal and hard working entertainers who don't take themselves too seriously. Shows are usually inexpensive, and involve a lot of audience participation. Most of the venues that harbor these acts are small, so you can get up close and personal with the performers as they strut their stuff.


French Quarter
Bourbon Pub

In a city where gay-friendly is beyond the obvious, Bourbon Pub dishes regular boy-lesque shows with plenty of theatricality and high style. Every flavor is onstage during the regular Blue Book Cabaret upstairs at The Bourbon Pub, which features A-list burlesque, variety and drag artistry. Also, a kickin' dance club, this Bourbon Street venue seduces a predominantly gay clientele, but all are welcome. Drag is an art form here, with out of town performers like Lipstixx "Ladies on Parade" and the only drag queen you can see from outer space, Big Shirli Stevenz from North Carolina. During Southern Decadence, you never know what you'll see at Bourbon Pub.

Recommended for Burlesque Shows because: This popular dance and burlesque venue features peek-a-boo burlesque from all genders and in between.

Beth's expert tip: This is one of the most popular gay bars during Southern Decadence, aka gay Mardi Gras.

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The Republic is a posh and cavernous dance club where you might find the electronica meets R&B act FKA Twigs one night, a house DJ another and a who's who of the world of burlesque the night after that. The place is pretty, with crystal chandeliers and two floors for dancing and watching the action. There are multiple bars, efficient and gracious staff and an enthusiastic and generally young crowd. The crowd tends to be a little younger, but that doesn't stop all ages from having a great time here as well. The club hosted a burlesque tribute to New Orleans to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Recommended for Burlesque Shows because: This CBD dance club offers a lively club scene along with a regular menu of special burlesque shows.

Beth's expert tip: Check the club's calendar at the beginning of your stay in New Orleans. If there is something that sounds even slightly interesting, get to it.

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Photo courtesy of Max Cusimano

How about some legs with your eggs? Sobou dishes brunch with a sassy kick every Sunday from 11:30-1:30. World-famous burlesque dancer Bella Blue performs to live music while you dine on three creative Creole courses by Chef Juan Carlos Gonzalez. New Orleans has a long history with burlesque dancing. Our city was a burlesque hot spot from the 1940s to when clubs were shut down in the 1960s. This fun brunch is Sobou's homage to this historic and beautiful art form. The Burlesque show begins between 11:45 and noon, followed by two more performances between then and 1:30 p.m.

Recommended for Burlesque Shows because: SoBou in the French Quarter is always on the cutting edge.

Beth's expert tip: You'll want to make a reservation for this scintillating Sunday brunch as it's always busy.

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Society of Sin

Talk Nerdy To Me is a weekly burlesque revue featuring the dirtiest nerds in New Orleans. The troupe that brought you Arkham ASS-ylum: A Batman Burlesque Play and A Thong of Ice and Fire: Game of Thrones Burlesque presents Talk Nerdy To Me, a burlesque revue presented by The Society of Sin every Saturday at The Dragon's Den just off Frenchmen Street on Esplanade. Every week there will be a different show filled with new burlesque acts as well as the talents of local comedians, sideshow performers, and musicians. Tickets are $10, available online or at the door. Founded by Xena Zeit-Geist in 2014, The Society of Sin is a group of New Orleans burlesque and variety performers known for creating burlesque shows with a narrative. Though the Society of Sin specializes in burlesque plays, variety shows include sideshow, drag, comedy, singing, dancing, and neo-burlesque.

Recommended for Burlesque Shows because: Burlesque takes on narrative from this creative troupe of performers.

Beth's expert tip: This troupe includes performers of all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, ages, backgrounds, orientations, and lifestyles - the idea is that all bodies are sexy and that the art of burlesque is about expressing beauty in its many different forms.

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Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

Siberia is an alt music venue that rises to the top of the dive bar heap in a city that may just have invented the genre. Every Monday night, some of the best (and worst) comics in New Orleans join burlesque dancers (and one fainting, talking dog) for a very funny and fun open mic night. Comics sign up at 9, show starts at 9:30 pm and there's no cover. Siberia has multiple personalities - one night you'll find comedy, another live rock and roll, or maybe Goth heavy metal venue. If you're lucky, a somber Balkans folk trio that inspires what looks like Greek dancing. There's a convivial live and let live attitude here that is one of the best things about this town when it really comes together.

Recommended for Burlesque Shows because: Siberia is one of those places that feels slightly gritty and off the beaten tourist track.

Beth's expert tip: Head to the back of the bar to Kukhnya (kitchen in Russian), the Slavic soul eatery that dishes pretty awesome Polish and Russian specialties at rock bottom prices.

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Allways Lounge is a locals' favorite bar located on the edge of the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans. In the back, there is a relatively intimate theater known for hosting some pretty risque shows. Then there's Bayou Blues Burlesque, a delicious gumbo of music, circus, sideshow and burlesque with a Southern Gothic twist and modern flair. Allways is a frequent host to top nationally touring burlesque shows like "Boobs and Goombas" a burlesque adaptation of the Super Mario Bros. if you can imagine that. Dirty Dime Peep Show, Clue: A Burlesque Mystery and a drag burlesque show called Imposter - all great fun.

Recommended for Burlesque Shows because: St. Claude Avenue is a trending area on the edge of the Marigny with great entertainment and music.

Beth's expert tip: If you are looking for a bizarrely wonderful burlesque show at a great venue, head for one of the Freaksheaux to Geaux performance at Allways on St. Claude Avenue.

Read more about Allways Lounge →

French Quarter
Jazz Playhouse

Located inside the Royal Sonesta in the French Quarter, Jazz Playhouse offers local talent seven nights a week, no cover charge, in a swank, upscale setting. Some of the city's best jazz performers take the stage, including The James River Movement, Michael Watson's The Alchemy, Luther Kent and Glen David Andrews. A few others not to miss include Germaine Bazzle, a soulful jazz singer and Gerald French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, a troupe that defines old school class and style. Every Friday night around midnight, a few of New Orleans' best burlesque performers from the city's top troupes also perform.

Recommended for Burlesque Shows because: Centrally located at 300 Bourbon, Jazz Playhouse is a classy joint whether you come for music or a lot of skin.

Beth's expert tip: If you are a die-hard jazz aficionado, you'll be tempted to stay at the Royal Sonesta and visit the Jazz Playhouse every night.

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French Quarter
Slow Burn Burlesque

Roxie, Moxie, Ruby, and Lady are just a few of the beautiful performers with the Slow Burn Burlesque Troupe. Slow Burn is hugely popular in New Orleans due to its anything goes, outside of the box burlesque style. The producers often mix a little grunge and a little goth into their shows, and their MCs talking points are wittier and cutting then you would get with a traditional throwback burlesque performance. The troupe prides themselves on being different and edgy but definitely doesn't sacrifice beauty or grace while doing it. Slow Burn can usually be found performing monthly at the Howlin' Wolf backed by live band This Stunted Sextette.

Recommended for Burlesque Shows because: If you are looking for some outside the box burlesque, Slow Burn is worth checking out.

Beth's expert tip: Order tickets in advance and get their early, as the event, like most burlesque in the city, is open seating.

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French Quarter
Fleur de Tease

One Eyed Jacks in the French Quarter of New Orleans is known as a quirky venue with a wide range of shows. One of those acts is resident burlesque troupe, Fleur de Tease. Created and produced by Trixie Minx, this modern twist on classic vaudeville showcases plenty of skin along with magicians, fire eaters, comedians and aerialists. The shows are well-produced shows and the dancers adept. The troupe also performs at The Saint Hotel and the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Sly and funny, shows might include a burlesque Halloween Revue "We put the BOO in BOOBS!!!" and Creole Sweet Tease with a traditional jazz band. Boylesque is also featured.

Recommended for Burlesque Shows because: Sly and witty, the beautiful troupe of dancers and talented variety acts is a must-see for fans of the genre.

Beth's expert tip: Fleur de Tease puts on a monthly show at One Eyed Jacks (with 8 and 10 pm acts). An abbreviated crew performs at the Royal Sonesta every Friday for free.

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French Quarter
Burgundy Bar

This red hot bar in the sexy Saint Hotel on Canal Street might just be the perfect date night destination. Done up in sassy retro-Bordello decor, the backlit bar is known for potent swanky drinks (spendy too, but oh well) and a variety of entertainment options. Housed in the historic Audubon Building at the corner of Canal and Burgundy, the Burgundy Bar benefited from the $40 million-plus Saint hotel renovation, evident in details like scarlet Venetian chandeliers that shimmer overhead. Cocktails are inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins - how fun is that? If you're feeling peckish, Tempt Restaurant, home to chef Andrew Nguyen's creative fare, is across the lobby.

Recommended for Burlesque Shows because: This sassy bar offers both live music and burlesque.

Beth's expert tip: Trixie Minx presents burlesque in the bar most Friday nights.

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Meet Beth D'Addono

Beth D'Addono is a food and travel writer obsessed with flavor, exploring cultures, street music and the city of New Orleans.

Beth writes about New Orleans and other destinations for outlets...  More About Beth