Lifestyle

Everything You Must Do in New Orleans This Spring

Published On 04/12/2018 Published On 04/12/2018
Buku Music+Art Project
Buku Music+Art Project | Rod Buku Music+Art Project
New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Marathon
New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Marathon | Ryan Bethke
Saturday - Sunday
Mar 3-4
Citywide
Little known fact: New Orleans is super flat, which makes it a great place to jog. And it’s incredibly easy on the eyes, so whether you’re running the 5K, 10K, or half or full marathon, the course will fly by. Or you could just sit, drink, and cheer on the runners.
Cost: $44.99 and up
Friday - Saturday
Mar 9-10
You can hear the boom-tss of so much electronic music even two or three miles downriver when Buku takes over Mardi Gras World, a sprawling collection of float-filled warehouses and riverfront stages. Don’t forget the faux fur leg warmers. Bassnectar, SZA and Migos headline.
Cost: Day passes start at $100
Thursday - Saturday
Mar 8-10
Tastings, seminars, vendors, industry awards, live music, and parties are highlights at the second annual Bourbon Festival. Plus, the nonprofit donates 25% of event proceeds to the St. Michael Special School for special needs children. Cheers to that!
Cost: $65.77 and up
Saturday
Mar 10
General Pershing and Magazine streets
The French haven’t run the show in New Orleans since the Louisiana Purchase, but they did give us pralines and beignets, so theirs is a culture worth celebrating. The Fete Francaise accomplishes that with two stages of live music, plus food, wine, and art.
Cost: Free
Sunday
Mar 11

Catch a cabbage at a St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Catch a cabbage at a St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Think you’ve had enough parades to last you until next Carnival season? OF COURSE YOU HAVEN’T. Grab a green beer and head to the Metairie Road St. Patrick’s Parade. Yes, you can catch beads there... as well as cabbages and potatoes, making this parade an excellent alternative to a farmers market run.
Cost: Free
Wednesday
Mar 14
Lafayette Square Park
The spring concert series sponsored by Young Leadership Council kicks off in mid-March. Wear your dancing shoes (or boogie barefoot in the grass) and bring cash for the arts market.
Cost: Free
Thursday
Mar 15
Woldenberg Park
What’s better than tacos and tequila? Nothing. Unless it’s unlimited tacos and tequila cocktails -- for a good cause! Now in its second year, the riverside celebration Top Taco has moved to a bigger location in Woldenberg Park, where attendees can jam to live music while chowing down on tacos from restaurants including Arana, Rum House, Velvet Cactus, Del Fuego and Blue Oak Barbecue. Plus, proceeds benefit One Heart NOLA, an organization that raises funds for local children in foster care.
Cost: $69 for general admission tickets
Sunday
Mar 18
Citywide
On the Sunday closest to St. Joseph’s Day, members of approximately 50 Mardi Gras Indian tribes take to the streets in their intricate handmade, feathered, and beaded suits. Some routes are unannounced, but the largest procession begins at noon at A.L. Davis Park.
Cost: Free
Sunday
Mar 18
Irish Channel
You’d think a neighborhood that has Irish in its name would host a pretty kick-ass St. Paddy’s Day parade -- and you wouldn’t be wrong. This one kicks off at noon and rolls down Magazine Street with all the aplomb you’d expect of a New Orleans parade. Plus, in addition to plastic beads, riders throw carrots, cabbages, potatoes, and other delicious, biodegradable goods.
Cost: Free
Monday - Friday
Mar 19-23
Citywide
New Orleans’ relatively low cost of living and creative spirit are a fertile mix for entrepreneurship. At this weeklong summit presented by The Idea Village,  attendees can check out speakers from companies including GE Digital and Tesla, attend pitch competitions and networking events and more.
Cost: Free
Wednesday - Sunday
Mar 21-25
French Quarter
"STELLAAAAA!!!!" Yes, a Stanley-Stella yelling competition is part of this literary festival, now in its 32nd year. There are also readings, master classes, panel discussions, a book fair and more hokey Blanche DuBois impressions than you can shake a Chinese paper lampshade at.
Cost: One-day passes start at $40
Saturday
Mar 31
Citywide
It’s a 10K race. It’s a costume opportunity (just ask the guy in the banana suit). It’s a mini music festival. It’s all these, plus more. Regardless of your level of fitness (participants include both elite Kenyan runners and new moms pushing strollers), the Crescent City Classic is a bucket-list experience. Try to complete its course, which ends in a party in City Park, or cheer by the sidelines.
Cost: $50 when you register online through March 28
French Quarter Festivals, Inc
French Quarter Festival | French Quarter Festivals, Inc
Sunday
Apr 1
French Quarter
Gay in every sense of the word, this elegant assembly of carriages, bands, walking groups and trolleys is a pastel extravaganza that’s not to be missed. Seersucker and sundresses are de rigueur -- and don’t forget an oversized, over-floral hat.
Cost: Free
Thursday - Sunday
Apr 12-15
French Quarter (obvi)
If you haven’t been to the largest free music festival in the South, here are just a few numbers to convince you of the error of your ways. 20: number of live music stages scattered throughout the Quarter during the fest. 1,700+: number of musicians who play that weekend. 170,000+: number of attendees at last year’s festival. 0: reasons to not go.
Cost: Free
Friday - Sunday
Apr 13-15
Memorial Park in Ponchatoula, Louisiana
Louisiana strawberries are sweet, meaty, and plump -- so naturally, there’s a festival devoted to the fruit, complete with a pageant, parade, car show, and two stages of live music and cook-offs. The strawberry daiquiris alone make it worth the hour-long drive.
Cost: Free
Thursday - Wednesday
Apr 19-25
Mississippi Riverfront
Walking along the river is always pleasant, but when warships, destroyers and majestic tall ships are moored there beneath a fireworks display, it’s exciting AF. Plus, you can actually go inside some of the ships.
Cost: Free
Saturday
Apr 21
Tulane University Quad
Little-known fact: you don’t have to be a Tulane student to attend Crawfest, the university’s annual campus crawfish festival, where attendees gorge on unlimited hot, boiled crawfish while soaking up the sun and live music. Although Crawfest is free for students and kids age 12 and under, it’s $10 for everyone else. Good to know that $50,000 tuition entitles students to some perks.
Cost: $10
Friday - Sunday
Apr 27-May 6
Fair Grounds Race Course
Founded in 1970, Jazz Fest is one of the longest-running music festivals in the U.S. It sprawls across the Fair Grounds Race Course in a sunscreen-scented, food stand-studded, stage-ringed orgy of Louisiana culture. Headliners this year include Aretha Franklin, Sting, David Byrne, Jack White, Sturgill Simpson and Trombone Shorty. And yes, there is jazz at Jazz Fest (and gospel, blues, funk, etc.) ...just not on the main stages, usually.
Cost: A day’s admission is $65 in advance, $80 at the gates
NOLA Crawfish Festival
NOLA Crawfish Festival
Wednesday
May 2
Central City BBQ (1201 South Rampart Street)
Just as you can’t eat too much king cake during Carnival season, you can’t go to too many crawfish boils during crawfish season. The Crawfish Festival offers a great opportunity to feast on the spicy crustacean, complete with live music, cook-offs, and a crawfish-eating contest.
Cost: $25
Saturday
May 5
The Mexican border is a 10-hour drive from New Orleans -- less time than you could potentially spend at this restaurant’s patio for its Cinco de Mayo festivities, which run from 11am to 11pm. There’s live music, margaritas and Tex-Mex galore; plus, home is a short Uber ride away.
Cost: Free
Sunday
May 6
Mississippi riverfront/French Quarter
Vieux Carre is French for “Old Square”--but hey, 300 is the new 30, right? Celebrate the Big Easy’s birthday with a fireworks show and a hand grenade. Because why not?
Cost: Free
Friday - Sunday
May 18-20
Bayou St. John
Bayou St. John used to be a dirty tract of water populated by alligators and submerged vehicles. It’s a lot cleaner now, though -- and while swimming is discouraged, floating on a raft, paddleboarding or simply lounging by the water are optimal ways to take in the scene at the Bayou Boogaloo festival, where musicians perform on multiple stages.
Cost: Free
Friday - Sunday
May 25-27
Hellenic Cultural Center
There’s a 5K race, crafts, live music and a climbing wall -- but the real star of this long-running festival is the Greek food. Pomegranate iced tea, gyros, feta fries, baklava sundaes, dolma, goat burgers -- if you don’t bring your appetite, you’re doing it wrong. And if you don’t bring your appetite or your toga, you’re even more wrong.
Cost: $7, free for children under 12
Friday - Sunday
May 25-27
Under the 1-10 bridge, between Basin Street and St. Bernard Avenue
From Jelly Roll Morton to Sidney Bechet, natives of New Orleans’ Seventh Ward basically invented jazz. The neighborhood is still home to numerous music clubs, and during Memorial Day weekend, it hosts a free music and arts festival with performances by Kermit Ruffins, Treme Brass Brand, Baboula and more.
Cost: Free