Jazzfest: Best Festival Foods

A new and popular Jazzfest food is the praline beignet.

Jazzfest: Best Festival Foods

If you’ve never been to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the city. Of course, you will have your choice of music with hundreds of acts spread out over the two weekends of the festival, but what you may not realize is that Jazzfest offers some of the finest local flavors around. Fans of both sweet and savory items will find something to suit their taste buds. Just one word of caution…if you’re accustomed to hamburgers and hot dogs at festivals, you’re going to have to be a bit riskier at the fairgrounds.

Traditional Local Fare

If traditional Louisiana fare is what you are most comfortable with, you will not be disappointed. You’ll find jambalaya, shrimp and oyster po-boys, red beans and rice, gumbo, and crawfish of many varieties. Crawfish Monica, a pasta dish made with crawfish and a cream sauce is a crowd pleaser.

Foods For the Adventurous

Feeling a little more adventurous? Try the alligator pie or a fried gator po-boy. Another Jazzfest favorite is the crawfish bread. If you’re a sausage fan, the boudin balls are always popular. One of the most talked about items is the cochon de lait po-boy – shredded roast beef with cole slaw served on french bread. The line is always long for this tasty item.


For you dessert lovers, JazzFest has you covered, as well. A popular item, on hot days in particular, is the mango freeze, which happens to be located near the misting tent for a bonus cool-down. New Orleans is known for its traditional bread pudding with rum sauce, and you will find it at the fairgrounds, as you might expect. Also available are pralines of many varieties and flavors, and a fairly new item, the praline beignet, which combines two New Orleans favorites into one delectable dessert.


To quench your thirst, you will find fresh squeezed lemonade, strawberry lemonade, herbal teas, as well as soft drinks, water, beer and wine. You may bring in one unopened bottle of water per fest-goer, but no other outside beverages are allowed.

Many other items are available as well, so make sure you make a lap around the grounds before deciding what to get.

The second weekend of the festival begins this Thursday and continues through Sunday evening, so get out there and enjoy some great music and some of the finest festival food on the planet.

New Orleans St. Patrick’s Day Parades

Screen shot 2016-03-10 at 1.56.07 PMNobody throws a parade quite like New Orleans, and not just during Carnival season! In a city that looks for any excuse to parade, St. Patrick’s Day (or the weekend leading up to it) is the perfect time to find your inner Irish and catch even more goodies! True, you probably don’t need any more plastic beads, but if you’ve never experienced New Orleans St. Patrick’s Day Parades, you are in for a treat!

In addition to beads, you may find yourself catching many items with an Irish flair. Parade goers have been known to catch Lucky Charms cereal, Irish Spring soap, green bubble pipes, and many other whimsical “Irish” items. Ladies, don’t be surprised if you are offered numerous kisses on the cheek, along with a silk carnation. Walkers in these parades are not shy! The most desired catch, however, is a whole, fresh cabbage. If you’re lucky enough to land one or more of these, you may be having Irish stew for dinner. Sure, it sounds a bit weird, but hey, this is New Orleans! .

New Orleans St. Patrick’s Day Parades 

Molly’s at the Market Irish Parade – Friday, March 11, 6:00 PM

This parade, which starts and ends at Molly’s on 1107 Decatur Street in the French Quarter, features riders in carriage “floats,” as well as, marching groups.

Irish Channel Parade – Saturday, March 12, 1:00

The Irish Channel parade features marching groups, bands, and tractor-pulled floats. The route, which has been altered this year due to construction on St. Charles, begins on the corner of Felicity and Magazine. https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zXLxZSf5BhTQ.kbd7FVbk7Q2w

St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Metairie Road – Sunday, March 13, 12:00

This family-friendly parade, with tractor floats, bands, and marching groups, begins at Rummel High School on Severn.

Downtown Irish Club Parade – Thursday, March 17, 6:00

While this parade starts on the corner of Burgundy and Piety in the Bywater, it takes its time making its way to Bourbon Street, with several pit stops along the way. Bands, marching groups, and beads are all part of the party.

*As the weekend forecast predicts inclement weather, please check for updates prior to heading out to parades.

Test Your Mardi Gras IQ

EndymionFloatjknowsnolaMardi Gras season is here! For you New Orleans natives, it may be old hat, but if you’ve recently moved to the area, you may be unaware of some of the local customs and practices. When and where do parades roll? What is the deal with king cake? Who is “Rex”? It’s a lot to try to understand if you’re not from this area, but you may know more than you think! Try this true or false quiz to test your Mardi Gras IQ, and see how you stack up against the locals. Good luck!

Mardi Gras IQ Test

  1. Mardi Gras parades roll on Fat Tuesday only. Any other parades during the season are not considered official Mardi Gras parades.
  2. The Krewe of Rex parade rolls on Mardi Gras morning, with Rex being referred to as the King of Carnival.
  3. “Mardi Gras” and “Carnival” can be used synonymously.
  4. If you find the plastic baby in your piece of king cake, legend says that you will be blessed with a baby within the next calendar year.
  5. It has never snowed on Mardi Gras Day.
  6. While most beads are made of plastic, some special beads are made of glass, and are considered a treasure.
  7. The Krewe of Endymion finishes its parade route inside the Superdome.
  8. Parade watchers stand either on the “sidewalk side” or the “neutral ground” side of the street.
  9. It is considered rude to ask a parade rider to throw something to you.
  10. Since they are masked, parade riders are encouraged to wear hats, scarves, etc. that distinguish them from other riders so family and friends can recognize them on the route.
  11. Coconuts and shoes are two of the most coveted throws that all parade-goers long to catch.
  12. Lundi Gras is the name for the Monday before Mardi Gras day.
  13. Most New Orleans parades roll down Bourbon Street.
  14. While parades are free, you will most likely have to pay a fee to watch a parade from a balcony.
  15. Costumes and colored wigs are commonplace for the Mardi Gras season.

Answers: 1. F, 2. T, 3. T, 4. F, 5. F, 6. T, 7. T, 8. T, 9. F, 10. F, 11. T, 12. T, 13. F, 14. T, 15. T

0-4: You are a Mardi Gras novice. Check out some Mardi Gras trivia http://www.neworleanscvb.com/calendar-events/mardi-gras/fun-facts/ and make a date to experience a parade with seasoned attender.

5-8: You’re getting there, but you still have some work to do. Buy Arthur Hardy’s Mardi Gras Guide http://www.mardigrasguide.com/ and attend at least five parades this season as “research.”

9-13: While you may not be a local, you are very comfortable discussing Mardi Gras customs with others. You might even find yourself considering joining a krewe and riding in a parade in the near future.

14-16: Wow, you really know your Mardi Gras stuff! You are the contact person for those who have questions about where to park, what to wear, etc. You have probably ridden in a parade, or at least own a colored wig or two. Congratulations!

New Orleans Halloween Fun for Adults

gravespookyAdults looking for some spooky New Orleans Halloween fun this weekend will find plenty to do in a city known for its parties and its haunted history. Those who frighten easily can find plenty of ever-so-slightly scary things to do in the city, but the braver souls can indulge in some truly terrifying adventures. New Orleans is, after all, one of the most haunted cities in the world. Boo!

The Vampire Ball – Generations Hall – October 30

Devotees of author Anne Rice gather for this gala celebrating the Vampire Lestat, one of Ms. Rice’s popular characters. Doors for the event open at 8:00 and the show begins at 9:00. Tickets are $75. You might want to have some garlic on hand for this one!


Voodoo Music and Arts Experience – City Park – October 29-31

City Park gets loud and a little eerie when festival goers, many in costume, unite to experience great music and interesting crafts. This year’s musical guests include Ozzy Osborne, Jane’s Addiction, Zac Brown Band, Florence and the Machine, Deadmau5, and many others. Gates open at 10:30 a.m., and the final bands end at 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights and 9:00 p.m. Sunday night. Admission is $99 per day or $235 for a weekend pass. Pack your poncho and your rain boots! Halloween Pub Crawl – Bourbon Street -October 29-31

Those looking to take their party on the road might enjoy the  the Halloween Pub Crawl. Party-goers can purchase tickets for any of the three nights or a weekend package, good for all three nights. Maps and Mardi Gras beads will be given at the first location. Umbrellas will most likely be needed for this event, as crawlers will be walking up and down Bourbon Street. The event begins at 5:00 p.m. and ends at 2:00 a.m.  http://pubcrawls.com/events/halloween/halloweekend-pub-crawl-new-orleans.php

Molly’s at the Market Halloween Parade – Decatur Street – October 31

While this parade is sold out for riders, those spending Halloween in the French Quarter can still enjoy being spectators and getting some fun parade goodies. Molly’s has a costume contest, as well. The parade rolls at 6:30.


Haunted Tours

Not just for Halloween, New Orleans offers haunted tours year-round. Hear the stories that make New Orleans uniquely spooky, and maybe even visit a cemetery or two. Check out Haunted History Tours, Ghost City Tours, Haunted New Orleans Tours, Strange True Tours, or just try Google or Yelp to see which tours appeal to you. There’s sure to be an added creep factor for Halloween.

Haunted Hotels

Book a room in one of New Orleans’ haunted hotels, or just take a walk through some of the lobbies and see if anything out of the ordinary catches your eye. Many of these hotels will have a written account of strange occurrences that you can read or take with you. Do your hotel exploring  at your own risk…the ghouls might be extra adventurous on Halloween. http://www.hauntedneworleanstours.com/toptenhaunted/toptenhauntednolahotels/