Festivals In New Orleans

The word “FUN” is nearly synonymous with the term Festivals in New Orleans. New Orleans is known to be a fun town, full of festivities, parades, music, food, art, and the Mississippi River.

Mardi Gras is just one of the many New Orleans festivals that this city can boast, and it is a very big one, indeed. From January until its huge parade on Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras is the big draw to the Big Easy. But there are other New Orleans festivals going on all year round in this town that never seems to sleep.

The French Quarter Festival runs during four days in mid-April where non-stop 275 hours of musical entertainment can be enjoyed on twenty stages. The festival attracts more than 500,000 participants for this New Orleans music fest. Begun in 1984, the French Quarter Festival is the largest free music festival in the South. A multitude of musical genres such as traditional and contemporary jazz, R & B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, classical, opera, Zydeco, Latin World, International, and children’s music are represented. Food and drink is available in beautiful Jackson Square and a free shuttle service will take you from stage to stage.

The Satchmo Summerfest is an event that music lovers everywhere should not miss. This New Orleans jazz fest is dedicated to the life and music of New Orleans born Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. It is a free music festival enhanced with speakers, seminars and food and drink.

There is no Christmas like Christmas New Orleans Style, a festival held during the month of December. Food, romance, art, architecture and music, this festival has it all. Enjoy the gospel choirs in the St. Louis Cathedral. Feel like a little child again as you stroll or ride along the oak trees all lit up in City Park. See the homes gaily decorated in the Garden District. Every nook and cranny of New Orleans is ready for the holidays during the entire month of the season.

Don’t miss the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in April and May. The music tents are set up in Heritage Square and Louisiana Marketplace along with a showcase of original handcrafted clothing, gorgeous leather goods and crafted musical instruments, along with a colorful array of paintings, photographs, sculptures and one-of-a-kind jewelry items. You will find delectable food items in Congo Square, Heritage Square and the other food areas selling such wares as Po-Boys, Cajun Jambalaya, Alligator Pies, Beignets, Crawfish Bisque, Pralines, and fresh pies to name a few items. It is food and music galore. On the crafty and cultural end, there are “villages” set up to represent the various heritages such as Louisiana Folklife Village where Cajun musicians handcraft accordions, boat builders ply their craft, and you will learn the traditions of Mardi Gras Indians and Marching Clubs. The Native American Village will introduce you to a real pow-wow with traditional dances, drumming and singing.


Must See Attractions in New Orleans

Many tourists come to Louisiana and don’t get to visit the must see attractions in New Orleans. Some of the attractions are fairly obvious ones that most people know about while others are more off the beaten track. There are so many things to do in New Orleans.

carriage ride in the french quarter
most see attractions in New Orleans

Take the New Orleans School of Cooking, for instance. This is one of the few places that a visitor can take classes in classic Creole cooking, making jambalaya, shrimp Creole, or gumbo dishes. If you love authentic New Orleans cooking and want to know how it’s made, you need to visit this attraction and view a demonstration class.

Another attraction is the National World War II Museum. The focus here is on the remembrance and celebration of the American Spirit, courage and the sacrifices of the men and women who served during World War II. There are many relics on display and audiovisual demonstrations. Plan on spending at least half a day touring this fantastic museum, noted as being the best of its kind in the country.

Attractions in New Orleans Not To Be Missed!

One attractions not to be missed is a tour through the Garden District. If you contact the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, you can get information on self-guided tours of this beautiful neighborhood. You will see antebellum mansions, gorgeous gardens and the way the “new rich” lived and built their homes in the 19th century.

Take a factory tour of the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. The tour begins with a cocktail and ends with a tasting of four types of rum. See the process of distilling rum from beginning to end. This is a great way to spend some time on something novel to do outside of the quarter.

The Audubon Zoo is a favorite with adults and children alike. You will find an interesting swamp exhibit here, where, by the way, you can eat a meal of delicious jambalaya! You’ll also find a Cajun Village, and all of the exhibits, indoors and out, that can be expected at a top-notch zoo.

Jackson Square

The History of New Orleans
Jackson Square

For a fun outdoor walking experience, visit Jackson Square, a famous landmark facing the Mississippi River and is surrounded by the St. Louis Cathedral, the Cabildo and the Presbytere (Mardi Gras museum with the Katrina exhibit). Here is a great place to sit, relax and do some people watching. Jackson Square ties a lot of the different histories and sights of New Orleans together. In any direction you walk, you’ll see one of the New Orleans attractions you’ve heard about. You will come across Bourbon Street, St Louis Cathedral, Cafe du Monde, Marie Laveau’s, Pat O’Brien’s, The French Market, The Riverwalk and The Natchez Paddle-Wheeler. Take a horse drawn carriage ride and admire the picturesque area. There are so many things to do while in the Crescent City! Enjoy yourself and remember there are many things to do in New Orleans because NOLA never sleeps!

City Park New Orleans

In City Park New Orleans you will find yourself in a 1300 acre public park. This is about half the size of New York City’s Central Park and that is one large public space, indeed! The nature and scenery here are tremendously impressive. The park was built in 1853, establishing itself as one of the oldest public parks in America. City Park is located on City Park Avenue, once known as Metairie Road. It lies along what remains of the Metairie Bayou.

New Orleans City Park
City Park New Orleans

 Within City Park New Orleans can boast ownership of the largest collection of live oak trees the world over, some as old as 600 years. If you are looking for more New Orleans travel info beyond the Mardi Gras festivities and the Garden District, take a close look at City Park. It boasts dozens of attractions for the tourist and native alike. If you travel to New Orleans, go to City Park for the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, especially if you are traveling with kids. This quaint amusement park is over one hundred years old.

Ride the miniature train or the small roller coaster; the children will have a blast! Wooden carousels are difficult to find these days, but City Park has one of the few that remain. It is a carved wooden carousel and unique in its own way.

There is a place called Story Land within City Park; New Orleans loves to entertain children with this fairy tale-themed playground. The twenty-six fairy tale exhibits from recognizable stories that children love are ready to be climbed on and make excellent photo opportunities for you.

Ted Gormley Stadium was built in the 1930s as a public works project and then renovated in 1992 for the Olympic Trials held in New Orleans. It seats 26,500 people and is used for various games and competitions. There’s also another stadium in the park, known as the Pan American Stadium. This stadium is home to the Jesters, a New Orleans soccer team of the highest caliber. Other soccer games and school-level football games are regularly played at the stadium.

New Orleans Museum of Art

Do not miss the thirteen acres given over to create the New Orleans Botanical Garden located in City Park. Here you will find a lush collection of temperate, tropical, and semitropical plants. The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) is another do-not-miss attraction here. It is one of the best museums located in the South.

New Orleans Museum of Art

For those who don’t play professional sports but still want to get out there and compete a little, City Park does not disappoint. Take a run on the 400 meter track (which was also used at the “Track and Field” Trials), hit a few balls on a tennis field, take out a boat on a lagoon, fish to your heart’s content in a lake, tour the bayou, or check out the horses in the stables.

If you are a lover of the arts but you also want to be outside instead of inside an art museum, check out the Syndey and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. View more than thirty works of sculpture in the beautifully landscaped garden built in 2003. Within City Park there are also historic sculptures such as the Peristyle, Pop Bandstand and the Casino Building, all built before 1920. In 1937, the Pop Fountain was built.

City Park New Orleans hosts a calendar of events such as free concerts, plant sales and various fundraising events.

Jackson Square

Jackson Square is the place to be if you want to see a bit of history. This historic park (a National Historic Landmark) is also known as Place D’Armes. It is located in the French Quarter, hence the French title.

New Orleans Insider Guide
St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square

Jackson Square Was Once Named Place D’Armes

So if this beautiful park was once named Place D’Armes (also known in Spanish as Plaza de Armas), why did residents change its name to Jackson Square? Well, the answer goes back to the Battle of New Orleans, in 1815, the final battle of the War of 1812. The American Forces had General Andrew Jackson in charge there. Jackson was able to defeat the British and save New Orleans and other large Louisiana land areas gained in the Louisiana Purchase. When you take a stroll through the park, you will take note of the statue of Andrew Jackson on horseback erected in his honor at Jackson Square New Orleans.

Jackson Square New Orleans makes its love of the arts very apparent. For years it has been a gathering place for painters, musicians and a variety of street performers. Live music is a regular event in Jackson Square, from New Orleans jazz to big brass bands. Shopping for artwork? Make sure you check the iron gate surrounding the square for bargains. Feel Lucky? Grab a Lucky Dog for a quick bite to eat. It is a New Orleans’ tradition and quite filling.

Here, you will have a fantastic view of the St. Louis Cathedral, making it a fine spot to take photographs. Take in the ambiance of the street performers and everything else going on around you and snap some precious photos.

Cafe du Monde

Café du Monde
Cafe du Monde New Orleans

There are many restaurants to take care of any hunger pangs you might be having and, best of all, the Cafe du Monde is close by. Here you can sip a delicious cup of coffee spiced with clover and munch on New Orleans’ famous beignets coated with powdered sugar so thick, you may have to blow some off right into your partner’s face! Across the street from Cafe du Monde, in front of the Square, you can take a carriage ride for a slow-paced tour of the area. The tour guides are full of information regarding the history of the buildings and the French Quarter.

For architectural lovers, the 1850 House is a National Historic Landmark overseen by The Louisiana State Museum. It is royally furnished and a pleasure to tour. Also check out the Potalba apartments, erected by Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, daughter of the benefactor of St. Louis Cathedral. While sightseeing, make sure during your tour, you take a moment to look up. The ironwork that adorns the balconies of these historic buildings is breathtaking.

Jackson Square  is on my “top 10 Sites” location to visit. If you are a tourist looking for a lively place to people watch and interact with others, Jackson Square is the place to be. Have your caricature drawn by a local artist; let a fortune teller predict your future; be an unintended guest at a wedding celebration at the park.

Historic New Orleans Buildings


New Orleans Buildings FREE eBook

Historic New Orleans Buildings

When visiting the area there are more historic church buildings in New Orleans you must not forget. Of course, there is the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. It is the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States. It is also the grave site for several bishops and archbishops that have served the city. Most recently,the beloved 98 year old Archbishop Philip Hannan was entombed under the sanctuary. Known as one of the city’s biggest NFL Saint’s Fan, he was truly beloved by not only Roman Catholics of the city, but many people of different faiths.

Old Ursuline Convent

Beneath the Cathedral’s floor, is also the burial site of several clergymen and early residents of the city. Make sure to take a glimpse upward to the ornate ceiling to see photos of several of the clergymen interred in the Cathedral. St. Joseph’s Church on Tulane Avenue boasts the longest aisle in New Orleans. Old Ursuline Convent on Chartres Street is the oldest surviving example of the French colonial period in the United States. Built in 1752, it houses the Archdiocesan archives and is known as the “treasure of the archdiocese.”

On Governor Nichols Street in the historic neighborhood of Treme, just outside of The French Quarter, is the home of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church. After Hurricane Katrina, there was fear that this historical church would be shuttered forever, as was the faith of many of the city’s Catholic churches. Citizens and hurricane recovery workers rallied and it remained opened. Founded in 1841 by free people of color, it is the oldest African-American church in the nation. If you are visiting during The Satchmo Festival, make sure you take the time to attend Sunday Mass. The Jazz Mass is celebrated with a standing-room only crowd. It is a favorite of visitors and locals alike. Also located in Treme on St. Philip Street, is St. Peter Claver Catholic Church. This church has the state’s largest African-American congregation. It is a ray of light to its parishioners, neighborhood, and also the city. As visitors are always welcomed, take time to attend. The gospel choir is one of the best in the city.

Take a visit to the Preservation Resource Center and discover how a Creole cottage and a double gallery Garden District mansion differ. Or take a look at a standard shotgun house and a camelback style. The Preservation Center keeps the historic and unique architectural character of New Orleans’s neighborhoods intact for both its historical purposes and for the artist and historian in us all. The New Orleans buildings are so unique to to other cities in the country. Keep your camera batteries charged and memory cards empty because you have a lot of pictures to take on your visit to New Orleans.


Audubon Zoo New Orleans

Audubon Zoo New Orleans is the number one family attraction. When you visit New Orleans, be sure to put at the top of your list. When you take a look at any New Orleans travel info guide, you will most certainly see the Audubon Zoo listed as one of the main to-do items, especially if you are looking for a family outing while in town. It is known as one of the United States’ best zoos.

Siberian Tiger
Tiger at the Audubon Zoo New Orleans

The Zoo has animals from all over the world, including exotic ones, on its fifty-eight acres of natural living environments. Don’t miss the authentically built habitat exhibits. The Louisiana Swamp makes you feel as though you are truly getting a look at how the animals there live.You will also get a chance to look at the endangered whooping cranes. Other endangered species on view here include Amur leopards, originally from countries in the Far East.

White Alligators

Get a look at the rare white alligators at this amazing zoo. The exceptional white tigers, Rex and Zulu, call the Audubon Zoo their home also. Audubon Zoo claim to fame in the Garden District,is a combination zoo, water park and nature institute. The Cool Zoo is a place to cool off and have fun after touring the zoo. There is something for everyone in your family to appreciate at this tourist attraction. The kids will surely enjoy the Cool Zoo, a splash park where they can get away from the heat of the day and get nice and wet. You will all be smiling going down the Alligator Water Slide, running through the Spider Monkey Soaker and water-spitting snakes! There is a separate area for the toddlers and younger children to splash around, too.

The children and adults will love to take a look at the two Asian elephants housed here, namely Panya and Jean. Watch them swim in their giant pool and entertain onlookers with their presentations. There is also the Audubon’s Dinosaur Adventure to discover.

You are in New Orleans, so why not stroll through a swamp? You can do that at the Audubon Zoo New Orleans style. You’ll find rocking chairs located here and there as you make your way through the swamp area so you can take a moment to relax and take in the view. But don’t fret about feeling you are in the middle of nowhere – there’s an air-conditioned restaurant and you are actually in uptown New Orleans!

Audubon Zoo
Great Blue Heron Hunting at the Audubon Zoo

Monkey Hill

Monkey Hill was designed with the terrain of New Orleans in mind: the city is virtually devoid of hills. Build a 28-foot hill, the builders reasoned, and give New Orleans its highest point in order to show residents what an actual hill is.

Another cool way to view NOLA’s zoo is to take a ride on the Zoo Train. Audubon Zoo New Orleans is fairly large, but if you manage your time and make a plan beforehand, you can see it all in one day of fun.

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