Upcoming events in New Orleans

Sylvie Kirsch, Staff Writer

Those who love New Orleans will cite its amazing weather, lively social scene, and beautiful landscape as just a few reasons to live here. This is especially true during this spring. For the majority of Tulanians, this will be their first proper spring season, as we have passed the two-year mark of being sent home in March 2020 due to Covid. This is all the more reason to leave your room and explore the city that we are privileged to experience as students. 

The Tennessee Williams Literary Festival is an annual celebration of contemporary literature, culture, theater, and the works of Williams. From March 23rd to 27th, watch panelists discuss and perform cultural works such as A Streetcar Named Desire, participate in the New Orleans Writing Marathon hosted by Richard Louth, and enjoy drag queen brunch with Poppy Took. Prices vary by event, all hosted in the French Quarter, and a full schedule can be found here

On March 25th to 27th, travel to Louis Armstrong Park and celebrate the heritage of what is known as the oldest neighborhood of free African Americans in the U.S. during the merged Congo Square Rhythms Festival and Creole Gumbo Festival. These festivals celebrate New Orleans traditions stemming from the African Diaspora, including how Congo Square was the location in the city “where enslaved Africans and free people of color gathered on Sundays to continue traditions of song, dance, and drumming.” The event begins Friday night with a performance from John Boutte and Family with special guests: Tanya Boutte & Arséne DeLay at the Jazz & Heritage Center. In addition to musical acts, gumbo stands proliferate the festival. There will also be a gumbo cook-off and several cooking demonstrations by local chefs. And if gumbo and music aren’t enough to entice you, the festival also features an Arts Market with a variety of goods to view and purchase and kids activities.

The Freret Street Festival, spanning seven blocks from Valmont Street to Napoleon Avenue, is an annual event featuring 20 bands and over 200 local food and art vendors. Freret’s storefront restaurants will be offering exclusive festival deals and menu items, as well as outdoor food vendors including Lillie’s Cajun Kitchen and Not Cho Average Nachos. In addition to staged musical acts, there will be performances featuring Mardi Gras Indians, dancers, and second line bands. Activities are free and open to the public, while guests should bring money to patronize local business and vendors.

Those planning on staying in New Orleans after the school year ends will have a chance to participate in everyone’s secret childhood dream: a massive food fight on the New Orleans Riverfront. On May 26th from 6-10pm, the all-inclusive food and cocktail competition will take place and benefit the PLEASE Foundation. Tickets range from $75-125.

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