January 1st in NOLA brings about annual NCAA staple the Allstate Sugarbowl and its surrounding festivities, as well as New Orleans’ annual Joan of Arc Parade. January in New Orleans also means it’s time for Mardi Gras festivities throughout the city leading up to its culmination in February to begin.
February is possibly the most special month of the year in New Orleans as it brings about the famous New Orleans Mardi Gras Festival, taking place on Fat Tuesday each year. Also not to be missed are the city’s Lundi Gras festivities which take place the day before Mardi Gras, including the Zulu Lundi Gras Festival which is held by New Orleans’ Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club each year.
Lovers of the written word are sure to delight in the 25+ year Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, an annual five-day event celebrating great literature. New Orleans, as the party city that it is, also knows how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, featuring a variety of parades and festivities throughout the city.
April is one of the most exciting months of the year in New Orleans for annual festivals and events. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (running from late April into early May), one of the biggest music festivals in the country featuring top national acts from all genres, is one of the most popular events of the year in NOLA hands-down, drawing visitors from all over the country. April also brings about the annual French Quarter Festival, as well as the French Quarter Easter Parade, other popular Big Easy staple events.
New Orleans is known for its food, and is home to some of the best annual food festivals in the country, among these being the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience. At this prestigious yearly gathering, the best of New Orleans restaurants team up with some of the finest wineries worldwide to provide a culinary experience sure to delight lovers great food and drink.
If you love oysters, you are not going to want to miss the New Orleans Oyster Fest, an annual NOLA seafood staple occurring in early June each year. June in New Orleans also means it’s time for the New Orleans Vieux-To-Do event, a collection of three celebrations over one weekend in June including the Creole Tomato Festival, the New Orleans Seafood Festival, and the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival.
As much as New Orleans is famous for its food, it is just as famous for its drink, so what better place to hold a cocktail event than NOLA. Tales of the Cocktail is an annual five-day meeting held in mid-July, drawing bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts from around the world for what is one of the most fun and educational events in the country revolving around the art of mixed drinks. Another prominent event held each July in NOLA is the Essence Music Festival, one of the top African-American music events in the country, mainly focusing on R&B, but also featuring hip-hop, gospel, and other predominantly African-American musical genres.
No artist better epitomizes New Orleans than Louis Armstrong, and the city celebrates the great jazz trumpeter and singer each year in August at the Satchmo Summerfest. Other prominent happenings in August include the annual NOLA arts celebration White Linen Night, as well as the month-long culinary event COOLinary New Orleans.
September in NOLA brings about the New Orleans Burlesque Festival, The Southern Decadence Festival (an NOLA LGBT event held over Labor Day weekend), as well as events celebrating popular LA cuisines such as the Shrimp Festival (held in Morgan City, LA) and the Alligator Festival (held in Luling, LA).
Lovers of great seafood will be sure to enjoy the annual Louisiana Seafood Festival, a can’t miss event for foodies considering NOLA’s reputation as a hub for great seafood. New Orleans music lovers also rejoice each October as the Ponderosa Stomp, an annual festival celebrating roots music of all varieties rolls around. The New Orleans Film Festival is another prominent October event in the Crescent City which is considered one of the premier Film Festivals in the country.
New Orleans is pretty much synonymous with its signature sandwich, the Po’ Boy, and each November the city celebrates its delicious creation at the Oak St. Po’ Boy Festival. November also means its time for the Voodoo Music Experience, a major annual multi-genre music festival which has featured artists of the caliber of Eminem, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Skrillex, and Snoop Dogg.
Each December, Christmas is celebrated New Orleans style with a variety of Christmas-oriented events held throughout the city. NOLA also does it up big for New Year’s Eve each year with its Crescent City Countdown festivities.