This year’s mild winter means that spring basically sprung before Mardi Gras. The Japanese magnolias bloomed a while ago. We already got the citrus off of the trees, and we’ve had warm temperatures for a while now. However, that doesn’t mean that we cannot welcome spring with several Easter events in the city, finally allowing us to break out the seersucker and white linen before it gets too hot to even think about going outside.
One of the biggest Easter events that happens before Easter Sunday itself is the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Egg Hunt & Family Festival, which takes place April 4, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in the newly expanded Sydney and Wanda Bestoff Sculpture Garden. With two egg hunts separated between children over and under 5 years old, there’s plenty of opportunity for your little one to find eggs scattered around famous sculptures and the garden’s lush landscaping.
While the egg hunt is the obvious highlight, there’s also a diverse array of entertainment. While there’s the normal face painting and craft tables that one often sees at New Orleans events with children, there will also be music by DJ Audio Jocks as well as a petting zoo presented by the Metairie Small Animal Hospital. There are even activities for older kids, including a tattoo salon as well as special Art Activity by the Young Rembrandts of Louisiana. While tickets do have to be purchased for the event (which is held rain or shine), the event is a great way to support NOMA and the work they do bringing art to all New Orleanians – big and small.
On April 4 and 5 is the Egg Scramble in City Park’s Carousel Gardens and Storyland. This event also features a large egg hunt, but the event is designed for ages 8 and under and, with a 12-egg limit per child, all children are guaranteed a fair smattering of goodies. There are even a few golden eggs with prizes, and baskets are provided for the hunt. Tickets must also be purchased in advance and both days’ events are held rain or shine.
Getting the egg hunts out of the way early means that families can focus on their own traditions Easter Sunday, like planting jelly beans the night before to see if lollypops grow overnight, hiding eggs in the back yard and making a trail of cotton balls (left behind by the Easter Bunny, of course) that leads children to their baskets in the morning. Meanwhile, on Easter Sunday there are several parades downtown (a few of which some parents may find less kid-friendly than others) that make this holiday specific to our city.
The Historic French Quarter Easter Parade begins at 9:45 a.m. on Easter Sunday, April 12, in front of Antoine’s Restaurant and makes it way toward St. Louis Cathedral, where Easter mass begins at 11 a.m. The parade riders hand out plush bunnies (they don’t throw beads) and ride in carriages and convertibles decorated with flowers. They later return to Antoine’s for an Easter Bonnet competition, but there are other bars and restaurants in the city offering the same types of events for adults.
While Antoine’s is often a favorite place for families to have Easter brunch (reservations are, of course, recommended), there are also several restaurants in the French Quarter offering specials for Easter Sunday. The Court of Two Sisters and Tujague’s also offer traditional Easter meals, New Orleans-style.
While our NOLA Easter offers eggs and bunnies, even this holiday is another reminder that we New Orleanians do things just a little bit differently than everyone else, and that, in itself, is a reason to celebrate.
Just the Facts:
NOMA Egg Hunt and Family Festival
April 4, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, NOMA
$10 advance member, $15 advance non-member, $18 at door
April 4 & 5, 9 a.m.-noon
City Park Carousel Gardens and Storyland
$10 per person, $5 Friend of City Park members
Historic French Quarter Easter Parade
Begins at 9:45 a.m. in front of Antoine’s Restaurant and makes it way toward St. Louis Cathedral where Easter mass begins at 11 a.m.