Fall Festivities & Frights!

September 06, 2022
As the summer heat breaks and coolness creeps into the air, the fall season eases its way into New Orleans. Fall in the Crescent City is a perfect blend of food, frights and festivals. Starting with our Labor Day celebrations, the city is active throughout the holidays. And no other place in the country celebrates like the Big Easy. Be it a food dish, holiday, animal, fruit or vegetable, we will have a festival or event in its honor.

There is so much to see and do in the months of September through November, so put on that sweater, grab your pumpkin spice drink (with or without alcohol) and let’s get this party started. Labor Day is considered the official start of the holiday season in New Orleans. After that, it’s a downhill slide to New Year’s Eve with daily festivals, holidays and parties.

Something Decadent This Way Comes! Southern Decadence is the largest LGBTQ+ event in our city. The event had its beginnings in August 1972, as an end-of-summer party among a group of friends both straight and gay. They billed their event as “Southern Decadence Party: Come as Your Favorite Southern Decadent.” Attendees were required to dress as their favorite decadent Southerner. They started their first small “walking parade” the following year. This first group impersonated people and characters ranging from Belle Watling from Gone with the Wind and Mary Ann Mobley to Tallulah Bankhead and Helen Keller. Frederick Douglas Wright was appointed as the first Grand Marshal by members of the original group in 1974. Today crowds surpass 100,000 to celebrate the conclusion of the summer with annual parties, a parade, a concert, drag shows, brunches, and events. Southern Decadence 2022 will be held from Sep. 1–5, 2022.  

Skin Deep! The New Orleans Tattoo Festival takes place Sep. 9–11, 2022 at the Morial Convention Center. Always wanted a tattoo? Well, now is your chance to get one from an array of national and international tattoo artists. In addition to the tattoo artists, many from the show Ink Masters, there will also be sideshow acts. (villainarts.com/tattoo-conventions-villain-arts/new-orleans-tattoo-arts-convention/)

Honoring Our Hispanic Community! We celebrate our Hispanic Heritage on Sep. 17, 2022 at the inaugural Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at the French Market featuring a full day of live music curated by Ecos Latinos, Hispanic and Latino food booths, and community organizations. (frenchmarket.org/event/hispanic-heritage-month-celebration/)

Celebrate the Blues! Also on the Sep. 17, 2022, there is the NOLA Bluedoo, a unique New Orleans-style festival that raises research funds and promotes awareness of prostate cancer. Come enjoy great food, drink, music, costuming, kids' and survivors' tents, and a walk/run, as you help to fight back against this disease that impacts one in seven of our men. All funds raised benefit Dr. Oliver Sartor's Prostate Cancer Research Fund at Tulane Cancer Center. The incomparable Wendell Brunious and his band will be performing a “Tribute to Allen Toussaint” on the NOLA Bluedoo main stage. (nolabluedoorun.org/)

Welcome to Burlesque! The Annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival takes place Sep. 22–25, 2022. This international burlesque festival is known for crowning the top classic strip-tease dancer as the “Queen of Burlesque.” This festival assembles the most glamorous and eye-popping burlesque dancers in the world to perform over three nights in sultry New Orleans. Here is your chance to enjoy this classic form of adult entertainment that helped make Bourbon Street famous. (neworleansburlesque.com/festival)

The Beat Goes On! Music is the soundtrack of our city, from jazz, blues, bounce and rock, to rap, Christian, country and gospel. It's everywhere, especially this fall. Catch your favorite artists and discover new ones at dozens of live performances at indoor and outdoor venues all over town from Sep. 23–Oct. 9 as part of NOLAxNOLA (NOLA by NOLA), a citywide celebration of New Orleans music and culture. (neworleans.com/nolaxnola/)

Spicy or Mild? Fried Chicken is one of my favorite dishes. Whether hot right out of a cast-iron skillet at my friend’s house to cold Popeye’s Chicken on the parade route, I do not care; it is all delicious. All sorts of fried chicken will be available—crispy, extra crispy, double-dipped, spicy, mild and extra spicy—at the 5th anniversary of the National Fried Chicken Festival Oct. 1–2, 2022, at the New Orleans Lakefront hosted by Raising Cane’s. (friedchickenfestival.com/)

BBQ Blues! The 15th annual Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival is presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation and features three days filled with live blues and jazz performances, a local art market, and some of the best BBQ vendors throughout the Crescent City. The festival takes place October 14–16, 2022, at Lafayette Square Park which is bordered by Poydras Street and St. Charles Avenue. It sits across from the historical Gallier Hall, our former City Hall and itself another great site for music throughout the years. (jazzandheritage.org/events/crescent-city-blues-bbq-festival/)

Action! The 33rd annual New Orleans Film Festival takes place Nov. 3–8, 2022 in venues across the city with in-person events, parties, panels, and filmmaker pitches. The festival brings together 170+ films and hosts filmmakers in New Orleans each year celebrating works of emerging and established filmmakers from New Orleans, Louisiana, the South, and beyond. Audiences get a chance to meet filmmakers in person at talkback sessions after screenings while filmmakers get to network with each other and industry professionals flying in from Los Angeles and New York to discover emerging talent. (neworleansfilmsociety.org/pressroom/)

Le Petit Theatre will be kicking off their 106th season with the Curtain Call Ball on Friday, Sep. 9, 2022. New Orleans’ most historic playhouse, Le Petit Théâtre du Vieux Carré, has played an important role in our nation’s theatrical history since 1916. Located just off Jackson Square, we have called our current stage at 616 St. Peter St. home since 1922. Since moving into its current home in 1922, the “Little Theatre” has entertained thousands of audience members in a wide array of dramas, comedies, and musicals. Hundreds of actors, designers, directors, and technicians, both locally and nationally, have shared their talents to make Le Petit a true shining star in the theatrical world. The evening will begin with cocktails and cuisine at Tableau before moving into our historic playhouse for live performances of your favorite Broadway tunes. Silent and live auctions will offer art, jewelry and experiences, with Mark Romig as our emcee and auctioneer. The funds raised will provide vital support for Le Petit Theatre’s mission to present high-quality theatrical performances to entertain, inform, and educate the diverse population of Greater New Orleans. (lepetittheatre.com/)

Boo! Voodoo, ghosts, vampires and other things that go bump in the night make New Orleans a fabulous location to spend your Halloween holiday. From a parade to massive parties and haunted tours, there are many ways to experience first-hand what makes our city so special (and mysterious). The annual Boo Carré Halloween Haunt brings scary fun for the entire family at the French Market District on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature a full day of live music including family favorites Johnette Downing and Bamzy Baby Live, arts-and-crafts activities, a petting zoo, and trick-or-treating in the French Market District. One of the most cherished parts of the event is the Spooky Second Line around Dutch Alley that turns into a costume parade for event attendees.

Krewe of Boo started in 2007 and since then has grown to be a spooktacular weekend of Halloween-themed events, combining the magnitude of Mardi Gras with the macabre theatrics of All Hallow's Eve. This year’s festivities will take place Oct. 21–22, 2022. It's a weekend full of events starting Friday afternoon through late Saturday night. Friday's events begin with the Royal Luncheon to the Jazz Second Line through the French Quarter to an afternoon Happy Hour at Pat O'Brien's, ending with the Captain's Party night. Saturday starts with the early morning New Orleans Zombie Run through the Warehouse District. Paraders line up in the afternoon and the Krewe of Boo Parade rolls at sundown with V.I.P. Viewing Parties hosted along the parade route. It all ends with a blowout costume bash at the post-parade afterparty, The Monster Mash. (kreweofboo.com/)

Halloween New Orleans will have their three-day event Oct. 28–30, 2022. The theme for their 39th year is “Wonderland.” HNO will take you on a wild journey to a magical world of adventure. Follow us down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass to three amazing events packed full of unforgettable experiences and endless possibilities. The events are The Queen’s Ball at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Nightmare in Wonderland at the Fillmore and Mad Hatter’s Tea Dance at the New Orleans Jazz Museum. All proceeds from these events go to Lazarus House. Halloween New Orleans is one of the most celebrated LGBTQ+ party weekends of the year, while also being one of the longest-running and most respected fundraising events in the country. (halloweenneworleans.com/)

Give Thanks! Thanksgiving is a great time to spend in New Orleans. On a day devoted to dining, why not indulge yourself even more by trying one of the noteworthy restaurants in the city? Many of the city’s finest restaurants are open for Thanksgiving lunch or dinner, as are most hotels. Another special place to go on Thanksgiving Day is the Fairgrounds Racecourse and Slots. The third-oldest track in the country offers a wide selection of options, ranging from ultra-modern dining facilities in a glass-enclosed clubhouse—complete with video monitors at each table—to no-frills grandstand seating outdoors along with an oyster bar.

Happy fall, y’all!