New Orleans: A Cultural Celebration
Sounds & Sights to Savor in the Crescent City
New Orleans, with its spirited parades and festival-filled calendar, seems as if it’s constantly celebrating. That’s no illusion — and visitors are welcome to join in.
Over centuries, people from every country and culture that arrived here brought traditions that added to the essence of New Orleans. Taste the influence of the French and the Africans, the Acadians and Latin Americans and so many others in New Orleans’ food and drink, see it in the city’s art and architecture and hear it in the language. Yet nowhere is the bounty of this mosaic more vibrant than in the city’s music and festivals.
HEAR THE MUSIC OF NEW ORLEANS
If music moves you, don’t expect to sit still in New Orleans, which has more musical genres than a jukebox has song selections. In the birthplace of jazz, the soundtrack of New Orleans also embraces rock, rhythm & blues, gospel, soul, hip-hop, country, bluegrass, zydeco, Dixieland and even opera.
You can hear more great music on a Tuesday or Wednesday night in New Orleans than you can over an entire weekend in most other cities.
Listen to some of the world’s best musicians perform in intimate settings, such as Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf… hotel lounges such as Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta, which bears the name of its star trumpeter… restaurants such as Maison Frenchmen… nightclubs such as Tipitina's, Chickie Wah-Wah and the Blue Nile… and in concert halls, on riverboats and at giant festivals throughout the year.
You’ll also encounter players — even the big names — on the streets in the French Quarter, as brass bands and marching clubs lead second lines and yet-undiscovered talents make music in parks like the beautifully manicured Jackson Square.
New Orleans’ multi-cultural heritage and spirit is celebrated at special events all summer long.
July 4 On Independence Day, the Crescent City’s all-American spirit booms with fireworks over the Mississippi River. The Marine Corps Band provides the patriotic soundtrack.
July 2-5 The Essence Festival is the country’s premier showcase for contemporary African American music and culture. The 2015 lineup includes Usher, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Common, Missy Elliott and Kevin Hart.
July 9-12 This unique reenactment of Spain’s Running of the Bulls — San Fermin in Nueva Orleans — is a three-day weekend filled with fun and festivities highlighted by the Big Easy Rollergirls derby team whacking thousands of runners with foamcore bats.
July 11-14 New Orleans honors its Gallic heritage at the Bastille Day Fete, with French fare and dancing to live music overlooking the Mississippi.
July 30-August 2 Born in New Orleans, Louis Armstrong is revered at the Satchmo SummerFest with live bands on the grounds of the Old U.S. Mint. It’s the only event of its kind in the world and just $5 to attend.
August 1-31 Savor the flavors at Coolinary New Orleans, which offers a full month of affordable lunch and dinner menus at 50 award-winning restaurants.
August 8 A fun fundraiser, the Red Dress Run exemplifies the city’s joie de vivre with vast amounts of beer, live music and red-garbed joggers.
August 8 Art lovers stroll galleries along Royal Street in the French Quarter on Dirty Linen Night, serenaded by local music groups and lubricated with dirty martinis.
September 4-6 Feast on shrimp, crab, oysters and other delicacies fresh from the water and prepared by chefs from top restaurants at the Louisiana Seafood Festival.
More! Planning to visit another time of year? Check out the New Orleans events calendar.
NEW ORLEANS MUSEUMS
Delve into the diversity of New Orleans in museums where visitors can trace their roots and learn about different cultural experiences.
The National WWII Museum
History comes alive as the WWII story is told through exhibits, letters and film.
George and Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art
The fine art and visual aesthetic of people of the African Diaspora.
Le Musée de f.p.c.
F.p.c. refers to blacks born free before the Civil War. This historic house museum shows how they lived then.
The Backstreet Cultural Museum
A collection of Mardi Gras Indian costumes and memorabilia that exemplify only-in-New Orleans traditions.
Irish Cultural Museum of New Orleans
The Irish arrived in New Orleans in the 1700s; their journey is heralded here.
The American Italian Museum
Spotlights the history of American Italians in the Southeast and their contributions to the city’s cultural life.