New Orleans’ month of French cultural events

Ian Faul, Staff Writer

Shivani Bondada

It could be because March is the month of French-speaking, or in French, “le mois de la francophonie.” As of 2018, Louisiana is officially an observed member of the International Organization of Francophonie; although only a minority of the population continues to speak the language — a recent approximation puts the figure at 2% — the influence of French culture is hard to ignore in New Orleans and in the surrounding communities of southern Louisiana. If you want to practice your French, immerse yourself in a new part of the city’s culture or have a fun night out with friends, missing the events listed below would almost be a faux pas.

New Orleans French Film Festival

Prytania Theatres, 5339 Prytania St.

March 9 to13

The New Orleans French Film Festival, presented annually for the past 26 years by the New Orleans Film Society, is one of the longest-running foreign-language film festivals in the country. The festival will showcase a variety of contemporary and classic French films from Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Switzerland and the United States, all of which will have English subtitles. The films will be playing at the historic Prytania Theatre and the Prytania Theatres at Canal Place downtown. 

The festival’s schedule can be viewed here. Tickets are available for purchase on the festival website

Documentary series at the Alliance Française

Alliance Française de la Nouvelle Orléans, 1519 Jackson Ave.

March 10 to 30

In addition to the films at the French Film Festival, the Alliance of Française will be screening four documentaries this month, each one from a different francophone region. All documentaries will be subtitled in English. More information about each documentary, along with the link to purchase tickets, can be found here

March 10, 7 p.m.: Madan Sara (Haiti), followed by Q&A with producer Lulaine Childs

March 21, 7 p.m.: Une rivière métissée (Canada)

March 24, 7 p.m.: Finding Cajun, followed by Q&A with director Nathan Rabelais

March 30, 7 p.m.: La ligne (Switzerland)

Transmission and Orality: The Role of the Story

Alliance Française de la Nouvelle Orléans, 1519 Jackson Ave.

March 14, 6:30 to 8 p.m. 

The Alliance Française of New Orleans will be hosting three French-speaking storytellers from three areas of the Francophone world — Marie Chiff’mine of Brittany, Cédric Landry of Québec and Kirby Jambon of Louisiana — who will discuss how folklore can link generations and cultures. A word of warning: this is one of the few events that will be carried out entirely in French, so make sure to bring a French-speaking friend if you plan on attending. 

The event is free and open to the public. Reserve your place here

Performance: Frénésies

Tulane University Lab Theater, 70 Newcomb Cir. 

March 17, 7 to 9 p.m.

The Tilawcis Theater Troupe, coming all the way from the island of La Réunion, will be performing their original theatrical work, “Frénésies,” in Tulane’s Lab Theatre. Described as a “joyful ode to existence that vacillates between the dazzling and the carefree,” the show follows a lost protagonist who navigates life under the guidance of his favorite novel, “On the Road” by beat writer Jack Kerouac. A live jazz saxophone will accompany the single actor who portrays all ten of the show’s characters and English supertitles will be provided. 

“Frénésies” is free and open to the public. More information can be found here

Fête Française

821 General Pershing St. and Magazine Street

March 25, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The biggest French festival in New Orleans, Fête Française, is a local outdoor street festival hosted annually by the local French immersion school, École Bilingue. The band Sweet Crude will headline the musical lineup of this year’s fête. The festival will feature a variety of local restaurants and vendors. Have a promenade down Magazine Street and see what strikes your fancy.

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