Enjoying April is all about welcoming the weather and the entertainment that follows. Spring is a busy time of year, not just for budding flowers, but also for budding artists and entertainers and the throngs of people who enjoy their work. Spring brings countless events to the New Orleans area and surrounding region, and whether you’re looking to unwind to live music or to merely the sound of waves crashing by your beach chair, you can easily find fun at this time of year here in the Gulf South. From opera to jazz, folk to classical, music abounds in concert halls, on festival grounds, in grand theaters, and beyond. If you want to enjoy the outdoors, beach escapes, swim lessons, Earth Day festivities, and educational opportunities are also possible outlets for escaping the routine. The following events, activities, restaurants, stores, and vacation destinations offer a wide variety of ways to make April 2020 one to remember.
Events & Activities
“Stunning, beautiful and mesmerizing” are just a few of the adjectives audience members used to describe the New Orleans Opera Association’s recent production of Joan of Arc. “We can’t wait for the next opera!” was also a shared sentiment, and the next opera is indeed upon us.
Charlie Parker’s Yardbird is on stage at the New Orleans Jazz Market on April 3, 4, and 5 and features New Orleans native Joshua Stewart singing the role Charlie Parker. Prior to each opera performance, patrons are invited to a pre-opera show featuring Clarence Johnson and the music of Charlie Parker beginning an hour before each opera performance. The 2019-2020 season closes at the Mahalia Jackson Theater with a popular fairy-tale for the entire family: Mozart’s The Magic Flute on May 1 and 3.
New Orleans Opera Association is proud to continue the legacy of producing opera in America’s First City of Opera. For more information on the association and upcoming performances, call 504-529-3000 or visit NewOrleansOpera.org.
There’s nothing like splashing or relaxing in cool waters under the spring and summer Louisiana sun, and knowing how to swim is paramount to your family’s safety in the water. At Love Swimming, students of all ages are taught how to swim by a team of professionals who are passionate about teaching swimming in a way that is both fun and confidence building. Through safe, small classes, Love Swimming strives to provide swimmers with a strong foundation for a lifetime of love and respect for the water. Love Swimming teachers motivate individuals to explore their abilities beyond their fears and expectations.
Offering year-round classes that are never rained out, the Love Swimming facility uses heated pools to create an ideal learning environment where swimmers are always warm and comfortable. This comfort is key to accelerating the learning process and developing strong safety skills. The organization believes swimming is the best exercise for babies, kids, and adults.
Begin your swimming adventures for both fun and exercise by starting lessons now. Call 504-891-4662 or visit LoveSwimming.com.
Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, voted “Favorite Casino Resort to Vacation At” on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, offers lavish, award-winning hotel rooms with breathtaking views, superior service, and bathrooms that feel more like a spa.
On Friday, April 24 at 8 p.m., Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort brings you more ways to be entertained with The Jersey Shore Medium, Linda Shields. Linda Shields uses her medium and psychic abilities to help others find peace, understanding, and, often times, closure. Tickets are $25 per person and may be purchased from Scarlet’s Treasures Gift Shop, via ScarletPearlCasino.com or by phone at 888-752-9772.
Try your luck on Saturday, April 4 at 10 p.m. for your chance to win a 2020 Nissan Rogue. Plus, one winner every 15 minutes receives $150 Free Slot Play from 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Earn entries now, and earn 25x entries every Monday.
Book your next ultimate getaway at ScarletPearlCasino.com or call 888-BOOK-SPC.
The Louisiana Children’s Museum, located in New Orleans City Park, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this month. From April 21-25, connect with nature and value everyone’s role in taking care of the environment.
Activities include a guest reading of Shel Silverstein by Erin Genrich, Outreach Manager at the Green Project on April 21, followed by Sedimentation Table Demonstrations, Coastal Restoration Activities and Birding Activities all on April 22. On April 23, a special Earth Day book will be read by Meg Adams, Director of Stewardship at City Park. April 24 is Arbor Day, which brings tree headdress making in the Edible Garden followed by a Tree Parade around the gardens and the amazing live oaks. Finally, April 25 brings more Sedimentation Table Demonstrations, a poetry workshop with Margaret Simon, author of Bayou Song, and Earth Yoga sessions with Kim Walsh.
All activities are free with admission. For details, visit LCM.org or call 504-523-1357.
Be sure to catch the 6th annual Pirate Day in the Bay, a weekend celebration in Old Town Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, set for May 16-17. Organized by the Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse, the event starts Friday, when Pirate Central opens and adult pirates gather for a light-hearted invasion of Old Town, followed by a pub crawl and treasure hunt in local eateries and bars.
Saturday is family-friendly and features a pirate costume contest for all ages, a walking parade for young pirates, a kids play zone, vendors, and live music. Named a Top 20 Event in the Southeast, organizers expect a huge crowd this year, with shops and restaurants joining in the revelry with pirate-themed items for sale.
Most event activities are free and Saturday wraps up with fireworks over the harbor, sponsored by Silver Slipper Hotel & Casino. More information and full schedule can be found at MKOTSH.com.
Legendary singer/songwriter James Taylor and his All-Star Band with special guest Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jackson Browne and his band are coming to Smoothie King Center on Friday, May 15, for one intimate and memorable night. This is the first date of James Taylor’s summer tour, which coincides with the 2020 releases of his new album, American Standard, and his audio-only memoir, Break Shot.
As a recording and touring artist, James Taylor has touched people with his warm baritone voice and distinctive style of guitar-playing for more than 40 years, while setting a precedent to which countless young musicians have aspired. Inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the world-renowned artist has sold more than 100 million albums since he was first signed by The Beatles to their Apple Records label, won multiple Grammy Awards, and has earned multiple gold, platinum, or multi-platinum awards.
Tickets are available now at Ticketmaster.com.
Transforming lives and communities through music, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) is dedicated to maintaining live orchestral music and a full-scale symphonic orchestra that plays an integral role in the region’s culture and education.
A full slate of spring programming begins with the 2020 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview on April 2, which is free and open to the public. On April 16 and 17, LPO celebrates “American Virtuosos,” and Benjamin Beilman brings his passionate performance to a Violin Concerto by Higdon, a work awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Music and packed with dialogue between the violin and the orchestra. Then, April 18-19, join world-renowned New Orleans musician Cyril Neville, special guest artists, and the LPO for two one-of-a-kind performances.
Swing in the Oaks at New Orleans City Park takes place April 21, while Swing in the Park & Symphony Fun Run in Lafreniere Park take place May 7. Both events are free and open to the public. Finally, LPO’s spring season rounds out with “Testimony and Triumph,” featuring Jorge Federico Osorio, May 14 and 16.
For tickets and information, call 504-523-6530 (option 2) or visit LPOmusic.com.
This season, extend your festival-fun indoors with live music and dinner every Friday at Three Keys at Ace Hotel. The “Pass the Peas” dinner and show will run weekly with musical artists changing monthly. “Pass the Peas” begins this month and will feature the high-energy, funk- and jazz-infused Noah Young Band on Fridays in April and GLADNEY, the project of multi-instrumentalist Stephen J. Gladney, on Fridays in May.
Doors open at 7 p.m. with shows beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets run $40 for floor seats and a three-course meal and glass of sparkling wine from Josephine Estelle. For those only interested in the music, upper level tickets run $10 and also include a glass of sparkling wine.
Three Keys is an intimate venue located inside the Ace Hotel and dedicated wholly to the magic that happens in New Orleans. For a full calendar of events and to purchase tickets, visit threekeysnola.com. To book your stay at Ace Hotel New Orleans, visit AceHotel.com/neworleans.
As a non-profit organization working to sustain one of the largest estuarine systems in the Gulf of Mexico, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (LPBF) also oversees one of Louisiana’s newest and greatest treasures, the New Canal Lighthouse Museum and Education Center. As Louisiana’s only working lighthouse, the New Canal Lighthouse offers the public an all-ages, hands-on lab with programming and displays that focus on the history of the lighthouse, the ecology of the Pontchartrain Basin and the critical coastal issues faced by South Louisiana.
Additionally, the New Canal Lighthouse offers the public an unparalleled private event space with gorgeous views of Lake Pontchartrain and enchanting coastal sunsets. Surrounded by water on three sides and located at the entrance of two sailboat harbors, the New Canal Lighthouse is beautifully positioned for unforgettable events, from birthdays, weddings, and corporate events to celebrations of life for those with maritime connections or a just a simple love of the lake.
The facility can accommodate 500+, depending on set up needs. For more information on rentals, call 504-282-2134. For more information on the museum and the LPBF, visit SaveOurLake.org.
For over 100 years, Parkway Bakery and Tavern has been a staple provider of delicious, locally produced foods, and today, Parkway is known as the go-to place for New Orleans’s signature sandwich—the poor boy. Locally owned since 1911, Parkway has survived major floods and economic shifts, including the Great Depression.
This festival season, make it a tradition to dine with friends and family at one of New Orleans’s most famous and historical sandwich shops. With over 25 different poor boys, ranging from seafood, sausage, turkey and alligator to their famous slow-cooked roast beef and the original French fry poor boy, there’s a sandwich for any appetite.
Situated at the corner of Hagan & Toulouse in Mid-City, right on Bayou St. John, Parkway’s poor boys and ambiance create a dining experience unlike any other. Decorated with memorabilia from Parkway’s early days, the historical neighborhood atmosphere is great for reminiscing with friends and family.
Parkway is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and closed on Tuesdays. Call in for quick, easy pick-up at Parkway’s new and convenient call-in window (504-482-3047). For more information, visit ParkwayPoorboys.com.
Old Algiers is a New Orleans neighborhood with a charming vibe all its own, and thanks to its location just across the river, it’s full of hidden gems known only to residents and the discerning visitors that venture over. One such gem is Tavolino Pizza & Lounge, a modern-rustic, easygoing Italian eatery that offers a laidback dining room and patio for families and an adults-only lounge for relaxing and imbibing in the back. Not your average pizza joint, Tavolino offers a menu chockfull of creative, delicious pizzas, dishes, and cocktails.
Their crispy, thin-crust pizzas include the popular Proscuitto Brie, sprinkled with arugula, and the Berhman Hwy., with citrus-brazed pork belly, Vietnamese caramel, nuoc chan marinated carrots and radishes, jalepenos, and herbs. A fine selection of antipasti includes Arancini San Marzano (fried stuffed tomato-basil risotto balls), Nodi di Pasta (dippable dough knots), and a variety of olives, paté, and cheese plates. An extensive wine and beer list is complemented by Tavolino’s imaginative specialty cocktails.
Tavolino is located at 141 Delaronde Street. For more information, call 504-605-3365 or visit the restaurant on Facebook at Facebook.com/TavolinoLounge.
Located at 5015 Magazine Street, Tito’s Ceviche & Pisco brings exceptional, authentic Peruvian cuisine to Uptown New Orleans. Helmed by Executive Chef and Owner Juan Lock, Tito’s features numerous seafood favorites, including a variety of melt-in-your-mouth, all-natural ceviches, as well as well-spiced beef entrées, duck confi, and lamb shank dishes that will keep you coming back.
The restaurant takes pride in freshness, offering only the highest quality ingredients in its dishes and handcrafted cocktails. The bar at Tito’s is famous for its Peruvian wine and pisco selections, signature pisco cocktails, and imported beers.
Tito’s offers intimate indoor and atmospheric courtyard seating and is open seven days a week. Lunch is served Monday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Happy hour runs Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., and features a variety of drinks and small plates. Dinner runs 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday hours are 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Tito’s new Sunday Brunch is available Sundays from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
For more information, private events, catering and reservations, visit TitosCevichePisco.com, call 504-267-7612, or visit the restaurant on Instagram and Facebook.
Located at 3427 Magazine Street in the heart of New Orleans is SOSUSU Boutique, a fashion boutique dedicated to style, sophistication, and uniqueness. Susu Stall opened her boutique a little over three years ago with the expressed desire to offer clients an enjoyable retail experience.
Upon entering SOSUSU, visitors automatically experience an upbeat vibe with music playing, sofa seating for those who want to relax and take their time, and offers of water, champagne, and occasional small bites from the sales team. The colorful, happy setting lifts visitors’ spirits while presenting them with collections from European, Australian, British, and American designers as well as those obscure designers discovered during Susu’s travels to New York and Parisian markets.
SOSUSU offers a fabulous representation of clothing, shoes, handbags, jewelry, and other accessories at a variety of price points. The boutique is a safe place to try new things and “step out of your box,” according to Susu. “Whether you’re conservative or edgy, there’s something for you.” From street style to formal wear, shoppers will always find a feminine edge at SOSUSU Boutique.
Visit online at Sosusu.MyShopify.com.
A couple’s engagement is said to be the most important milestone before marriage. Whether you’re planning a surprise proposal or shopping for the perfect ring with your future fiancé, let Diamonds Direct diamond experts be your guide.
The first step in engagement ring shopping is to know your significant other’s taste in jewelry. Once you have a design and style in mind, determine what fits your budget. Have you decided on a gemstone? Engagement rings often feature a diamond; however, other stones are growing in popularity. Next, choose the right shape for your diamond or gemstone—from pear to classic round to princess, each shape makes a statement. Finally, it’s time to explore the perfect ring setting from a variety of metals, including platinum and yellow gold. Don’t forget ring size—Diamonds Direct diamond experts can help you sneakily determine a size for a surprise proposal.
Diamonds Direct will always ensure that the piece you walk away with is the very best ring for your budget. For more tips and information about Diamonds Direct, visit DiamondsDirect.com.
Vacation Properties & Hotels
A visit to New Orleans combines comfort with adventure, the experience of southern hospitality and a relaxed pace among the magic and entertainment that keeps the city lively all year long. Adjacent to the French Quarter and in close proximity to popular festivals and events such as Mardi Gras, Southern Decadence, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and French Quarter Fest, the
JW Marriott New Orleans offers recently refreshed, luxurious hotel rooms and suites with views of bustling Canal Street and the French Quarter.
After exploring the sights, rest easy with JW Marriott’s heated outdoor saltwater pool on the 8th floor as well its lobby lounge and bar. JW Marriott believes that a hotel is more than a place to lay your head—it is a crafted, immersive experience created by staff that love what they do. That’s why each moment of your stay is personally choreographed to delight and inspire your journey so that you may leave richer than when you arrived.
Visit JWMarriottNewOrleans.com to view exclusive packages or call 504-525-6500.
It’s Spring Break season, and there’s no better beach escape than Pensacola Beach, Florida, and the properties of Premier Island Management Group. Situated just a few hours outside of New Orleans along the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Island National Seashore, this collection of vacation rentals includes beach homes, condos, and the acclaimed skyhomes of the Portofino Island Resort.
Northwest Florida’s premier beach vacation experience. Portofino Island offers families the perfect balance of indulgence, natural beauty, and active adventure. Take a kayak or paddleboard adventure and surf the emerald green waters, or fly under the sun as you parasail your day away. Be sure to reserve a spa day and get pampered in the comfort of your private suite or poolside. Enjoy a morning or sunset cruise and watch curious dolphins jump out of the water to say hello. Whether you want to enjoy the beach with family, children, spouse or friends, guests of all ages will enjoy the properties of Premier Island.
More than just another Spring Break, this will be the one your family remembers for a lifetime. Discover yours at PremierIsland.com or call 866-935-7741.