To be a New Orleans bed and breakfast innkeeper is to hold the keys to the castle- to be able to tell people from all over the world about the delights to be found in our fair city. Even when the temperatures start to rise, we don’t hunker down in the air conditioning and long for fall, we go all out and have some of the most exciting and unique festivals and things to do right in the middle of summer!
One of those unique events is the 30th Annual French Market Creole Tomato Festival, celebrating that lovely spherical red fruit that is native to the area. The Creole Tomato is grown in the rich alluvial soil of St. Bernard and Plaquemines and vine ripened for that old-fashioned tomato flavor you remember from your childhood. The festival runs from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. June 11-12, 2016 at the French Market between Dutch Alley and Crescent Park, and will have music stages, food booths, Creole Tomatoes for sale, cooking demos, activities for children, tomato eating contests, and even a Bloody Mary Market! Admission is free.
We also celebrate our rich cultural heritage in June with the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival, taking place June 18-19, 2016 at Louis Armstrong Park. This is probably the best Zydeco festival in all of Louisiana. There are multiple performers, some of whom are third-or more-generation artists, food booths, a children’s tent, and an Arts Market. Admission is free, but please leave your coolers and pets at home. You do want to bring your chairs and blankets to have a place to rest in between boogie sessions.
Located in the French Quarter, one of the newer and fastest growing festivals is New Orleans Pride, held June 17-19th. There are SO many parties and functions during this 3-day fiesta – including pre-parade parties, then the big Pride Parade, running through the Quarter on the 18th at 7pm, a Block Party from 3pm to midnight the same day, on Sunday is PrideFest 2016, at the corner of Bourbon St and St Ann St. from 2pm-5pm. You will want to book your rooms early!
The Essence Festival is a HUGE event that takes place June 30 – July 3, 2016. The festival is the nation’s premier showcase for contemporary African American music and culture. The main event is at the SuperDome. There will be amazing musical acts like Mariah Carey (!), Babyface, Ciara, and Kendrick Lamar, as well as well-known speakers, a Beauty & Style Expo, and so much more! A few events are free, but you will need to purchase tickets for most events.
Last but not least, is Independence Day in New Orleans. At 9pm on the 4th of July, dueling barges anchored in the Mississippi River start battling it out with incredible fireworks displays over the river. You can set up to watch at Woldenberg Park, at the Moon Walk, or on the other side of the river in Algier. The best view is from riverboat paddle wheelers, the Natchez and the Creole Queen. Make reservations early if you want to do that.
All in all, you can’t beat a New Orleans Festival, no matter what time of year you are here!