An exciting summertime tradition, three of New Orleans’ festivals will once again collaborate for the annual Vieux-to-Do, held in the French Quarter June 11-13. The Louisiana Seafood Festival offers fresh seafood from local fisherman, cooked to perfection, held simultaneously with the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival, which hosts more than 20 musical acts on two stages. This series of concerts is free, thanks to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.
Over at the French Market, the Creole Tomato Festival offers delicacies made from those these supple red fruits – though some still think of them as vegetables, the tomato adds much flavor to a variety of local recipes. This festival is centered around the historic French Market, featuring live music, cooking demonstrations, a Creole Tomato Parade, local farmer’s market goods and food and beverage booths.
Information, Creole Tomato Festival: 522-2621, www.frenchmarket.org; Louisiana Seafood Festival: 286-8736, www.louisianaseafood.com; Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival: 558-6100, www.jazzandheritage.org.
Preserving the Hall
Preservation Hall, the world-renowned French Quarter music venue that was founded in 1961 to protect and honor New Orleans Jazz, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with a variety of celebrations and new performances.
Ogden Museum of Southern Art/University of New Orleans has opened an exhibit called “Art & Jazz: Preservation Hall at 50.” The exhibit gives an insider’s and impressionistic view of this jazz hall, which was founded by Sandra and Allan Jaffe. (Their son, Ben, is the current creative director and a musician in the band.) The building in which it is situated has housed many businesses and residents over the years; it has been a tavern, a photo studio and an art gallery, to name a few.
Personal photographs from the Jaffes will be on display, along with vintage instruments, audio recordings, film documents and more.
The heartwarming movie about a lovable green ogre, Shrek, is adapted onto the stage as Broadway Across America takes its musical to the Crescent City’s Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Shrek the Musical, based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film, is the story of an unsightly ogre who sets out to rescue a feisty princess Fiona in a faraway kingdom with the help of some irreverent sidekicks who make the journey both more humorous – and just a little distracting. More than just a fairytale, Shrek puts a thoroughly modern twist on chivalry; with a contemporary style of humor, and modern, catchy music, the musical is funny and delightful for those of all ages. Performances take place June 1-5.
Greatest Show on Earth
June 16-19, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will bring its show to the New Orleans Arena for an extra special spectacle: The circus is celebrating its 200th anniversary. Barnum 200: Barnum’s FUNundrum, offers all kinds of zany thrills. Height-seeking high-wire artists perform 40 feet in the air – at a 45-degree angle, while “Masters of Musculature” demonstrate their contortionist skills. Acrobats, trapezes, animals and lots of other surprises will make appearances during the shows – mind-blowing, reality-defying tricks have only evolved over the 200 years since the circus’ inception so it is sure to have you on the edge of your seat!
The Valiant VooDoo
In the midst of its comeback season, the New Orleans VooDoo – the city’s arena football team – features a re-vamped lineup and a new head coach, Derek Stingley.
(The original New Orleans VooDoo played in the AFL from 2004-’08, at which point the league suspended operations.) In 2010 it was announced that a franchise would be joining the restructured AFL and carrying on the New Orleans VooDoo name and history. Arena football is fast-paced and energetic, with a smaller field than those who play in the NFL. The New Orleans VooDoo plays at the New Orleans Arena – dubbed “The Graveyard.”
Despite that spooky name, the venue is welcoming: players are fan-friendly and frequently interact with the crowd.
This month the team will take on the Jacksonville Sharks on June 3 and the Spokane Shock on June 25.