HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >


Festivals, Events

I've been to New Orleans twice in the past 4 years and thoroughly enjoyed both visits, although they were both WAY too brief.
I am thinking of returning this spring/summer and have a question. Can someone list some of the premier events/festivals that are worth planning a visit around? I know about Mardi Gras and the Jazz festival , but what are some other events that would make it worth planning a trip. Food type events are what I'm thinking about, but other suggestions would be welcome too. And really, they could be anywhere around New Orleans or southern LA. I'm hoping to drag my motorcycle down with me and do some riding while we are there so we will be mobile.
Thanks for any ideas.
I am thinking of a May to September range.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Any La Tourism outfit can list these and some are in weather too hot to enjoy, in my view. But off the top of my head there's the Oyster Festival in Amite, The jambalaya Festival in Gonzales, the Smoked Meats Festival in Ville Platte/Plaisance. because Easter is so late this year you'd ALMOST catch the Laotian New Year over in Broussard.

    But there is always some kind of festival going on. After the summer, though, it picks up and the gumbo contest in new Iberia goes off, Sugar Cane Festival etc etc etc.

    1. Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival May 2-3-4

      It can be very hot. ~ Light clothing highly recommended. ~
      Lawn type chairs a big plus. ~ Figure on a 2 hour ride one way.

      1. Festival International in Lafayette, April 23-27, is well worth a trip. http://festivalinternational.com/site...

        1. Hogs for the Cause now expanded to two days. March 28-29 at City Park.

          1. Thanks for the recomendations. Keep them coming:)
            I did go to a couple of tourism sites for Louisianna and got some ideas there as well, but you never really know whether some of the 'festivals' are really worth attending, thus the reason I asked for some help here. Its nice to get input from people who have actually attended these events.
            Hopefully the timing will be such that I can plan to visit while there are a couple of things happening.
            Also, I don't mind the heat. I mentioned we had visited twice, and both times were in July and August. Killer hot, but thats ok. :)

            1 Reply
            1. re: Erik_Can

              Gretna Heritage Festival in the beginning of October is always a good time.

            2. French Quarter Festival, April 10-13. Many people consider it the locals' JazzFest.


              3 Replies
              1. re: Blumie

                The locals Jazz Fest that is quickly becoming a tourist destination

                  1. re: zin1953

                    It doesn't take long. In the old days we had the "locals weekend" at Jazz Fest and then they tried breaking that up..then they tried to bring it back. Then a Certain Someone started 10 oz beers and took the aluminum scrap away form the Boyscouts...

                    A friend who started a joking "anti Krewe" yeas ago complained recently "we've become everything we were against!"

              2. There are many festivals to choose from in May we have the Bayou Boogaloo, New Orleans Wine and Food Experience in June we have Creole Tomato Fest, one of the seafood Fest usually oyster. July you should come for Tales of the Cocktail for their Spirited Dinner at one of Nola fine Restaurants I can't think of any in Sept offhand

                4 Replies
                1. re: hltran

                  I have to disagree about TotC. Overpriced, obnoxious, poorly run by a woman who has exactly one mission: lining her own pockets at the expense of industry workers. Never mind that places you might want to visit to have a cocktail (Cure, French 75, Cane & Table, &c.) will be too packed with Tales goers to be worthwhile.

                  If you're new in the industry, have friends to visit with who'll be in town, or have something to sell it might be worth attending otherwise give it a miss.

                  1. re: montuori

                    I counter your counter :-)

                    We enjoy TOTC. While I won't disagree that the costs are high, we feel that the costs fit a one of a kind experience. We always attend a "class" and have always felt we've gotten our monies worth in learning and sampling. The afternoon sampling of new products is also a great leaning experience.
                    We also enjoyed the Spirited Dinner we had last year. We were amazed at both the cocktail/food pairings and that the restaurant pulled off 5 good courses for about 100 people. But yes, it was not cheap.
                    Last year friends from Virginia Beach joined us and this year another couple from Philadelphia want to increase our group to 8.

                    1. re: collardman

                      I'm really glad to hear that TotC is providing value. It seems like it should be a great event and certainly there are enough other cities copying the format (hell ... *Milwaukee* had a cocktail week this year) that there's something being done well. For sure, the bartenders and panelists give it serious thought and in the case of the "barroom brawl" event a *lot* of work.

                      My judgment came from my own attendance -- which now is a few years in the past when the growing pains were obvious -- and the bitterness with which some of my bartender and distributor friends describe the behind the scenes goings on.

                      Thanks for the correction and providing a different view. I'm not sure that I'm anxious to contribute to Ann Tuennerman's coffers myself but I'll be less inclined to spew vitriol if the subject comes up again.

                      1. re: collardman

                        Thanx collardman to coming to my defense of Tales of the Cocktail. Montouri you have friends in the local liquor distribution biz?