April 18, 2013 | By Collette Peck
If friends ask me what U.S. city I’d like to revisit, I always say New Orleans. My husband and I were in New Orleans several years ago on Halloween. This was when all the Anne Rice vampire books were popular. For the first time in 40 years, there was going to be a full moon on “All Hallows Eve,” so we decided to take a ghost tour starting in famous Jackson Square. We donned masks and wigs and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves while touring the city’s haunts (pun intended!). We also ate lots of wonderful food. Now’s the time to visit (or revisit) this revitalized city and take advantage of some of the wonderful festivals that they host throughout the year, such as:
Oyster Festival June 1-2, 2013
The Oyster Festival educates about the benefits of the Louisiana Gulf oyster, honors and celebrates the restaurateurs and oyster farmers who have solidified the New Orleans French Quarter and celebrates with live music and, of course, oysters!
French Market Creole Tomato Festival June 8-9, 2013
A celebration of the Creole tomato, which is locally grown, this festival features cooking demonstrations by the city’s premier chefs, food booths selling dishes made with Creole tomatoes, plus music and vendors selling the famous tomatoes.
Louisiana Seafood Festival (TBD)
The Louisiana Seafood Festival celebrates our extraordinary local cuisine. Starting with everything fresh from the water, our famous chefs cook up shrimp, oysters, crawfish, crab and alligator.
San Fermin in Nueva Orleans (Running of the Bulls), July 11-14, 2013
San Fermin in Nueva Orleans (SFNO) is an annual festival in New Orleans featuring an Encierro (bull run), which replicates and pays homage to the world famous Encierro of Pamplona, Spain, or “The Running of the Bulls”, only our bulls are none other than members of the Big Easy Rollergirls and select participants from other rollerderby leagues across the country!
Tales of the Cocktail July 17-21, 2013
Have a highball, y’all. Sip and sup at this four-day-long mixer in the city that invented the cocktail. Enjoy lectures, book signings, dinner pairings, cooking and mixing demonstrations, and more at this annual event.
COOLinary New Orleans August 1-31, 2013
This is the ultimate celebration of dining in America’s most delicious city. Eat at participating restaurants and savor special prix fixe, three-course lunches and dinners at special sizzling summer prices.
Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo: May 17-19, 2013
From jazz and blues to Cajun and country, three days of free live music bring more than 20,000 people to the banks of the Bayou Saint John each year. Catch performances from local Louisiana artists like Anders Osbourne, Soul Rebels Brass Band and SwampGrease. Other festival events include the Rubber Duck Derby, dance lessons and the Bicycle Pub Crawl.
Vieux to Do: Cajun & Zydeco Festival June 8-9, 2013
Life doesn’t get better in the Big Easy than the three-in-one festival known as Vieux to Do, which wraps the Cajun-Zydeco Music Festival, the Louisiana Seafood Festival and the Creole Tomato Festival into one whirlwind weekend.
Essence Music Festival: July 5-7, 2013
“Party with a purpose” at this star-studded celebration of African American music and culture in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Jazz up your July with performances by the world’s biggest hip-hop, R&B and soul artists (last year Mary J. Blige headlined).