They Say Tomato, We say Creole Tomato
Take a bite into a juicy, red Creole tomato during this steamy month and you’ll feel instantly cooler and a bit healthier, too. Loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, the tomato is something to celebrate. The French Market Tomato Festival will take place June 13-15, featuring live music, cooking demonstrations, recipes and all things tomato-based. But that’s not all that’s going on downtown! At the same time, up and down the riverfront will be a Cajun and Zydeco Festival as well as the Louisiana Seafood Festival. Stretching from the French Market to the Old U.S. Mint, there will be much to celebrate and even more to eat!
Information, 522-2621.

MarqueeBugging Out
New Orleans is about to be Bug Central and it’s not because of some sort of ancient curse. On June 13, the exciting new Audubon Insectarium will be opening its doors as the largest museum in North America that’s entirely dedicated to insects. Encompassing 23,000 square feet, the insectarium will host over 30,000 species of insects and arachnids from all over the globe. Though some are so small you can barely see them, insects in fact make up about 90 percent of the animal population on Earth. While some are bothersome (thankfully buckmoth caterpillar season is coming to a close!), some are beautiful and some are just plain shy, our ecosystem is dependent on them whether it’s for pollination of our plants or decomposition of waste material. The Audubon Insectarium is the first major attraction to open in the city since Hurricane Katrina and it’s bound to draw the masses like honeybees to flowers.
Information, 581-4629,

MarqueeNapoleon’s Legacy
Get yourself to the Old U.S. Mint sometime between now and August 3 to catch a glimpse of “Treasures of Napoleon.” The exhibition includes artifacts that trace this influential, historic figure’s life. On display will be the earliest known letter in his hand; the valise that once contained Louisiana Purchase documents from the U.S., plus the sword that proclaimed his emperor status. There’s also going to be some of Napoleon’s famous signature hats (he wore a hat during a battle at Essling in 1809 and aligned the brim to his shoulders to distinguish himself from the other officers) and other iconic, fascinating bits of history. The Old U.S. Mint is operated by the Louisiana State Museum. Information, 568-6968,

Wednesdays at the Square
We love music and when it’s free, sometimes we love it even more. This month marks the wrap-up of the Young Leadership Council’s Wednesday at the Square series at Lafayette Square. June 4 will feature performances by Jake Smith and Irma Thomas; June 11, the Stringbeans and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue will take the stage; and the final concert, on June 18, will feature The Blue Jackets and Bag of Donuts. Concerts start at 5 p.m., and typically last until 7:30. Local artisans will be selling various arts and crafts and between that, the music and the food, this event is great for some after-work fun.
Information, 585-1500,

MarqueeBourbon and Burlesque
We’re known for living life a bit too excessively sometimes and at a fundraiser for the Contemporary Arts Center on June 21, it will be practically a requirement to indulge oneself in decadent delights reminiscent of the Jazz Age. Themed “Bourbon and Burlesque,” the second annual party will feature specialty cocktails created with premium bourbons, a stunning review with the members of New Orleans’ talented burlesque troupes, including Fleur de Tease, Bustout Burlesque, and Reverend Spooky and her Billion Dollar Baby Dolls. There will also be live musical entertainment, bourbon-inspired cuisine, a lingerie fashion show and other surprises, so come prepared to overindulge on some of New Orleans’ finest offerings.    
Information, 528-3800,