Cultural Events in New Orleans

A packed program of activities for every taste in The Big Easy

Grammy Award-winning Irvin Mayfield and The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra celebrate their 10th anniversary with a live performance at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall on October 8. Special guests include Aaron Neville, Branford Marsalis and American Idol finalists’ Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams and more. For details and ticket information, visit

The 12th Annual Satchmo Summer Fest took place in the French Quarter August 3-5 to honor the beloved Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. This free festival included outdoor events featuring live music, dishes served from some of New Orleans’ best restaurants and lectures, concerts and exhibitions dedicated to the life, music and legacy of New Orleans’ native son.

October 11-18, the 23rd Annual New Orleans Film Festival continues its tradition of presenting an eclectic program of films, panels and parties in the Big Easy.  This festival is growing alongside the Louisiana film and television production industry, now ranked third in the nation.

This year’s COOLinary New Orleans campaign ran from August 1-31 and featured pre-fixed menus and special pricing at more than 60 of the top restaurants throughout the city. Locals and visitors alike enjoyed two-or-three course lunches for $20 or less and a three-course dinners for $35 or less. The event celebrated the renowned and authentic cuisine of New Orleans.

Starting September 20, 2012, City Sightseeing New Orleans will offer a Hop On-Hop off open-top double-decker tour.  This new and exciting attraction puts New Orleans on an international level with more than 96 countries in five continents.  The tour will have stops at the major attractions, including Jackson Square, French Market, Audubon Insectarium, National World War II Museum, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Bourbon Street, Basin Street Station and Mardi Gras World.  One, two and three day passes are offered. The live tour will be in English with seven languages available via headphones in the near future.

New Orleans’ performing arts scene continues to grow as the playbill for the 2012-2013 Broadway season at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts includes Les Misérables (Oct. 30-Nov. 4), Mary Poppins (Dec. 18-23), Jersey Boys (Jan. 8-27, 2013), Flashdance (Feb. 26-March 3, 2013), Million Dollar Quartet (April 16-21, 2013) and Wicked (May 8-June 2, 2013).  , furthering the attractiveness of New Orleans

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, October 26-28, will feature headliners such as Green Day, The Avett Brothers and Neil Young & Crazy Horse and local favorites such as the Treme Brass Band and Little Freddie King. Along with enjoying these world-class performing artists, festival-goers will experience multimedia art installations, parades, light shows, craft and food booths and more. This is the first year camping will be allowed at City Park throughout the festival.

The Historic New Orleans Collection’s latest exhibition, “Something Old, Something New: Collecting in the 21st Century,” is made up of the most significant acquisitions since the year 2000. Chosen by a team of staff curators and historians, the exhibition spans nearly 300 years and represents the diversity of The Collection’s archive.  The free exhibition runs from July 24, 2012-February 8, 2013.

The National WWII Museum now offers the “History and Heritage” travel package, which gives visitors a look at the culture and history of New Orleans combined with an insider’s tour of the National WWII Museum.  Offered on a monthly basis, the package presents an opportunity for travelers to spend a long weekend behind-the-scenes at the Museum with curators, while also touring the city.

The Crescent City welcomed one of the largest Decadence celebrations in history, and despite Hurricane Isaac just days before, the festival brought in revelers for the 41st Annual Southern Decadence Festival, August 29-September 3. This “end of summer Celebration of Gay Life, Music and Culture” has received much acclaim in recent years throughout the United States.

In 2012, the well-known neighborhood Tremé is celebrating its 200th anniversary. This area gave rise to jazz and brass bands, incredible architecture, Mardi Gras Indians and several pioneers of the civil rights movement, and is now home to key cultural institutions like the New Orleans African American Museum, Backstreet Cultural Museum, St. Augustine Catholic Church, Armstrong Park and more.

Following a major renovation, the historic Joy Theater reopened the 10,000 square foot multipurpose complex at 1200 Canal Street in December 2011.  The Joy officially opened in 1947 as a movie theater. Located across the street from the Joy on Canal Street, the Saenger Theater is currently undergoing a $51 million restoration, adding another key performance venue to New Orleans’ theater district.

Prospect.3 New Orleans, the third edition of the international contemporary art biennial, will open in the fall of 2014. The mission of Prospect New Orleans is to bring important contemporary art from around the world to the Crescent City.  Planning for the exhibition is already underway and will feature works of art created specifically for New Orleans.

2012 Festival Diary
Art for Arts’ Sake/Oct. 6
Louisiana Seafood Festival/Oct. 12-14
Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival/Oct. 12-14
New Orleans Film Festival/Oct. 11-18
Celebracion Latina/Oct. 13
Voodoo Music + Art Experience/Oct. 26-28
Louisiana Swamp Festival/Nov. 3-4
New Orleans Fringe Festival/Nov. 14-18
Oak Street Poboy Festival/Nov. 18
Words and Music Literary Festival/Nov. 28-Dec. 2
Treme Creole Gumbo Festival/Dec. 8
Christmas New Orleans Style/December

For more information visit