Festival Season!

March 03, 2023
As the Carnival Season comes to an end, the city comes alive with the vibrant colors and in all the sights and sounds of Spring. From nationally renowned music festivals to local holiday parades, New Orleans blossoms during the months of March through May. Here are just some of the Spring Highlights to add to your calendar.

Get Lucky! Celebrate New Orleans’s Irish and Italian cultures at one of the many parades or block parties taking place in March and April. Because practice makes perfect the Irish Channel Practice March hosted by The Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Parade Club assembles at Jackson Square at noon on March 3. On March 11, Parasol’s at Constance and Third Street and Tracy’s on Magazine Street hold their block parties. There will be green beer, food and surprises. The day incorporates the wildly entertaining Irish Channel Parade, which starts Uptown at Napoleon Avenue and Tchoupitoulas Street at 1 p.m. On March 12, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Metairie Road rolls. St. Patrick’s Day proper (March 17), there is the Irish Channel block party at Annunciation Square on the 1500 block of Chippewa Street and the Downtown Irish Club Parade that evening starting in the Bywater. Our Italian culture is highlighted starting March 19, St. Joseph’s Day, with the Louisiana Irish–Italian Parade in Metairie, the Italian American St. Joseph’s Parade in the French Quarter on March 25 and the St. Bernard Irish, Italian, Islenos Parade in nearby St. Bernard Parish on April 1. stpatricksdayneworleans.com/

Bottoms Up! Mimosa Fest is coming to the Warehouse District’s Howlin’ Wolf on Sunday, March 5 at noon. Celebrating its first year, Mimosa Fest is a single-location ultimate mimosa brunch experience. Guests are able to listen to a live DJ for this Sunday Funday of day drinking. thehowlinwolf.com/

Festival du film de français de la Nouvelle-Orléans! The 26th New Orleans French Film Festival, one of the longest-running foreign language festivals in the country, will happen March 9–13, 2023. neworleansfilmsociety.org/french-film-festival/

Happy Humpday! The Young Leadership Council presents Wednesday at the Square, a free concert series in Lafayette Square in the heart of New Orleans Central Business District from March 15 through May 17. Proceeds from food and beverage sales benefit the Young Leadership Council’s community projects and foster leadership skills in young professionals. This year’s line-up includes Galactic, Mia Border’s and George Porter, Jr. ylcwats.com/

Cheers! The fifth annual New Orleans Bourbon Festival will provide our attendees an opportunity to enjoy exceptional bourbon and cuisine surrounded by the charm and culture of New Orleans. They will have the finest bourbon distilleries and restaurants and provide the most experienced and relevant speakers. This year’s theme is "The Art of Distilling." The event will be March 22 – 25 with the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel being their festival headquarters and the location for the seminar series. The venue for the main event is the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans. It will feature a cigar lounge, two grand tastings of bourbon from the world’s finest distilleries, traditional New Orleans cuisine, and live classical jazz music. neworleansbourbonfestival.com/

“Stella!” The 37th Annual Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival is a five-day event held each spring in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter that attracts participants from around the world. The Saints+Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival also takes place that same weekend. The festival is set for March 22–26, coinciding with playwright Tennessee Williams birth on March 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi. After college, he moved to New Orleans, a city that would inspire much of his writing and that he considered his “spiritual home”. On March 31, 1945, his play The Glass Menagerie opened on Broadway and two years later A Streetcar Named Desire earned Williams his first Pulitzer Prize. The festival, started in 1986, was named to honor the special bond between New Orleans and Tennessee Williams, whose creative genius came to full flower in our city. Williams thereby exemplifies the long history of fertile relationships between artists (especially writers) and Louisiana. From modest beginnings, programming has now expanded to five days and nights of activities, as well as a host of special events. tennesseewilliams.net/

Taking It to the Street! The Freret Street Festival is an all-day event in Uptown New Orleans on March 25. This fabulous locals’ festival covers six blocks containing over 200 local artist and chefs, 46 brick-and-mortar businesses, three stages, and 20 bands. freretstreetfestival.org/

Got Gumbo! Congo Square is the home of the Tremé Creole Gumbo/Congo Square Rhythms Festivals March 25 & 26. It was in Congo Square that enslaved African people gathered on Sunday afternoons to practice their ancestral traditions. Their legacy lives on in our Tremé Creole Gumbo/Congo Square Rhythms Festivals, a free weekend celebration showcasing the music, food, and dance that made this city known around the world. The Tremé Creole Gumbo and Congo Square Rhythms festivals sit on the outskirts of the French Quarter in Tremé, celebrating the neighborhood as a key proving ground in the birthplace of jazz. Admission to festival is free. There will be food, music, an arts market and kids’ activities. jazzandheritage.org/events/2023-treme-congo-square-festival/

Get Your Fest On! First produced in 1984, French Quarter Festival was created to bring residents back to the Quarter following the World’s Fair and extensive sidewalk repairs. Now all these years later, French Quarter Festivals, Inc. is a private, non-profit 501c(3) organization. The festival touts more than 20 stages throughout the French Quarter and celebrates local music representing every genre from traditional and contemporary jazz to R&B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, Latin, Zydeco, rock, classical, cabaret, and international. New Orleans great restaurants serve food and beverages in Jackson Square, the Jazz Museum at the Mint, JAX Brewery, and Woldenberg Riverfront Park during French Quarter Festival weekend. French Quarter Festival has been consistently voted “favorite festival”, “favorite food festival”, and “favorite event open to the public” by locals. This year’s event is from April 13–16. fqfi.org/

Fore! The Zurich Classic is New Orleans’ premier golf tournament and the only PGA TOUR event in the region held on April 20–23. The Zurich Classic boasts a rich history, with play dating back to 1938 and past winners including golf greats like Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Billy Casper, Davis Love III, David Toms and Vijay Singh. TPC Louisiana located in Avondale has hosted the Zurich Classic since 2005. The excitement of the PGA TOUR’s only FedExCup team event returns with top golfers pairing up for this unique, fun competition, which offers an event-record purse of $8.6 million this year. zurichgolfclassic.com/

Let the Music Play! Ed Sheeran, Lizzo, Tom Jones. H.E.R., Kenny Loggins, Big Freedia and many more artists of every musical genre will descend on the New Orleans Fairgrounds April 28 to May 7 for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Jazz Fest, presented by Shell, is a 10-day cultural feast in which thousands of musicians, cooks and craftspeople welcome nearly half a million visitors each year. The Louisiana Heritage Fair showcases unforgettable music on multiple stages, delicious Louisiana cuisine in two large food areas, and crafts artisans from the region and around the world demonstrating and selling their work. This Festival celebrates the indigenous music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana with the music encompasses every style associated with the city and the state: blues, R&B, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, folk, Latin, rock, rap, country, bluegrass and everything in between. And there is always lots of jazz, both contemporary and traditional. nojazzfest.com/

Party on the Bayou! The Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo Festival celebrates Louisiana’s music, art, food, and culture every year on May 19–21. The event takes place along Bayou St. John in the Mid City neighborhood. The festival features four stages exploring New Orleans’ musical roots in blues, jazz, zydeco, Cajun, funk, hip-hop, and rock. Families are made welcome with a kid’s stage and full schedule of activities for all ages. There is also an art market offering original works of art in a variety of mediums from Louisiana’s most celebrated artisans, as well as food vendors serving a plethora of traditional New Orleans cuisine and original, inventive recipes. thebayouboogaloo.com/

Food Fight! Food Fight New Orleans is the preeminent food competition in New Orleans with over 40 restaurants and 30 spirits competing to see who can create the Top New Orleans dishes and cocktails. The event takes place on May 25. Chefs and bartenders compete in five categories: Top Traditional Dish, Top Creative Dish, Top Vegetarian Dish, Top Classic Cocktail and Top Creative Cocktail. The all-inclusive event benefits the PLEASE Foundation, a Louisiana non-profit dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty in New Orleans through education. foodfightnola.com/about.php