Events

Everything You Must Do in New Orleans This Fall

Updated On 09/14/2017 at 04:54PM EST Updated On 09/14/2017 at 04:54PM EST
Voodoo Music & Arts Experience
Voodoo Music & Arts Experience | Charles Reagan Hackleman
September
Music Box Village
Music Box Village

September

Thursday - Sunday
Sep 14-17
Various locations
Scores of local and international burlesque performers descend on New Orleans in a cloud of glitter, feathers, and false eyelashes at the Ninth Annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival. Catch a performance or give a show of your own at the topless-optional pool party.
Cost: Tickets for individual events start at $22
Saturday
Sep 16
Bywater
The Music Box Village, a permanent installation of shacks that double as musical instruments, kicks off its fall season with a free concert by bounce DJ Rusty Lazer. The sylvan, post-industrial Bywater venue is worth a visit, even when there’s not "ASS EVERYWHERE, ASS EVERYWHERE."
Cost: Free
Saturday - Sunday
Sep 23-24
Woldenberg Park
Last year, the inaugural Fried Chicken Festival drew 40,000 attendees -- way more than anticipated, which resulted in long lines and sold-out vendors. This year, organizers of the free festival added a second day and moved to bigger digs. Two music stages, eating contests, cooking demonstrations, and that delicious, delicious fried chicken (from 35 vendors) make the fest bigger and better than ever.
Cost: Free admission
October
Voodoo Music & Arts Experience
Voodoo Music & Arts Experience | Katrina Barber

October

Thursday - Tuesday
Oct 12-17
Kentwood
Local Burning Man aficionados bring the playa’s “leave no trace” ethos and Mad Max aesthetic to the Lazy B Ranch in Kentwood, Louisiana. Expect a weekend of themed camping, music, art installations, gift giving, and, of course, burning shit down.
Cost: $100 before October 1, $115 after
Friday - Sunday
Oct 13-15
Lafayette Square
Two great innovations of the Delta south mingle at this festival, which is definitely in the top three free festivals New Orleans holds each year (in our entirely unscientific opinion). Top-notch blues and R&B artists, including Grammy winners Robert Cray and Bobby Rush, take the stage at the well-attended (but not super-crowded) event.
Cost: Free
Thursday - Sunday
Oct 19-22
Various locations
New Orleans’ reputation as Hollywood South may have waned (you can thank Bobby Jindal for capping those film industry tax credits), but it’s still a major hub for indie filmmakers during the New Orleans Film Festival, a mainstay since 1989. Join more than 25,000 cinephiles in watching 230 films, schmoozing at industry parties, and judging attendees based on the color of their laminated passes.
Cost: Weekend passes start at $175 and up, but NOFS members get nice discounts
Saturday
Oct 21
French Quarter
This spooky French Quarter parade combines the artistry of Mardi Gras (floats are made by the renowned Kern family) and the gluttony of Halloween (most throws are edible). Catch pralines, Chee-Wees, candy, and coffee packs. Maybe these throws aren’t so forgiving when it comes to your waistline, but hey, they’re eco-friendly!
Cost: Free
Sunday
Oct 22
Oak Street
Lined with coffee shops, vintage clothing boutiques, interior decor showrooms, and bookstores, Oak Street is a quaint destination even when it isn’t flooded with live bands, craft beers, and po-boys. Bring a costume, bring your dog, bring your dog in a costume, and definitely bring your appetite.
Cost: Free to attend, but attendees must purchase a $5 wristband to buy po-boys
Friday - Sunday
Oct 27-29
City Park
Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem, Foo Fighters, and The Killers headline this musical festival-cum-art installation-cum-rave-cum-carnival-cum-costume party. The mammoth event drew 150,000 attendees last year, so ride a bike or take the bus to City Park. And don’t forget your costume.
Cost: $140 + fees for a three-day pass
Tuesday
Oct 31
One Eyed Jacks
The sweaty Halloween show by Swamp Tech organ impresario Quintron and master puppeteer Miss Pussycat always sells out. Grab a ticket now, and get ready to dance your ass off.
Cost: $18 in advance, $20 at the door
November
Bayou Classic
Bayou Classic | Flickr/Ken Lund

November

Wednesday - Sunday
Nov 15-19
Various locations
This indie theater arts festival features plays in genres ranging from “feminist revenge musical” to “genderbent anarcho-absurdist vaudeville.” Confused? Don’t worry, so is everyone else. A weekend pass gets you all the avant-garde theater you can take at nine delightfully oddball venues.
Cost: $40 for the weekend pass
Saturday
Nov 18
Various locations
Prospect.1 took place in 2008, with large-scale pieces by international contemporary artists installed citywide, but nowhere more poignantly than in the freshly Katrina-ravaged homes of the lower Ninth Ward. Now in its fourth iteration, the lauded triennial returns with 73 artists and a loosely aquatic theme: “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp.”
Cost: Free, except for participating museums that charge admission
Saturday - Sunday
Nov 18-19
Louis Armstrong Park
Seafood gumbo, gluten-free gumbo, gumbo z’herbes, chicken and sausage gumbo, vegan gumbo -- you’ll find all these and more (plus brass bands) at this free celebration of the quintessential New Orleanian comfort food. Aieeee!
Cost: Free admission, but donations encouraged.
Friday - Monday
Nov 24-Jan 1
City Park
How charming are City Park’s 25 acres of ancient live oaks when they’re bedecked with millions of twinkling lights, surrounded by glowing sculptures of Papa Noel’s pirogue and visited by Mr. Bingle himself? Charming AF, that’s how charming. The holiday spirit is so strong here, you might forget it’s 70 degrees outside.
Cost: $9, but free for Friends of City Park members
Saturday
Nov 25
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Grambling State and Southern University, two venerable HBCUs, go head-to-head each Thanksgiving weekend. Come for the football rivalry... stay for the tailgating and the marching bands’ halftime battle.
Cost: Tickets start at $16
Saturday
Nov 25
Joy Theatre
Doing the sissy poo at school dances to DJ Jubilee’s seminal bounce hit “Get It Ready” was a rite of passage for New Orleanians in the 1990s. DJ Jubilee headlines with legendary hip-hop duo (and former Cash Money rivals) Partners-N-Crime for a 25th-anniversary throwdown.
Cost: Tickets start at $25
December
Luna Fete
Luna Fete | Flickr/James Cage

December

Sunday
Dec 3
Champions Square
If you can’t afford Saints season tickets (and who can?), pre-gaming at Champions Square is the next best thing. There’s live music, food and booze for sale, and all the Who Dats your black-and-gold heart could desire. Though the Saints and the Panthers have only been division rivals since 2002, a heated competition has developed. In fact, last year, coach Sean Payton called the Panthers a bigger rival than the Falcons.
Cost: Free
Wednesday - Saturday
Dec 6-9
Central Business Disctrict
Glowing installations by local and international artists take over historic buildings and statues during this free event, which serves as a precursor to New Orleans’ tricentennial celebration in 2018 (and a fittingly futuristic homage to its past and present). Digital sculptures, projection mapping, laser rainbows, and more bring a surrealist radiance to the Central Business District.
Cost: Free