MarqueeViva La Bayou
The scenic Bayou St. John neighborhood will host the third annual Bayou Boogaloo, a family-friendly event produced by the Mothership Foundation. From the banks of Bayou St. John to N. Jefferson Davis Parkway, the Bayou Boogaloo aims to restore the social fabric of the Mid-City area. The event will feature three live music stages and food donations from local restaurants, not to mention arts, crafts and games for children. Held May 23-24, the festival will host over 20 bands and musicians. Highlights include Bruce Daigrepont, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Rebirth Brass Band, Soul Rebels and more. Admission is free and open to the public.  Information, 488-3865, www.thebayouboogaloo.com.

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Going Greek

Plan on arriving with a monstrous appetite at the 35th annual Greek Festival, May 23-25, held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Cultural Center. A wide selection of authentic cuisine (which will be handmade in the church’s kitchen) will include Greek salads, vegetarian plates, calamari, gyros and more. More than 50 lambs will be cooked and the fest will serve imported Greek wines, beer and Ouzo – and strawberry daiquiris. But food’s not all the festival will offer; visitors can also check out the Greek marketplace (the Agora), which will offer Greek music, imported clothing, Athenian artifacts, handbags, glassware, jewelry and more. For the children, there will be a newly expanded Athenian playground, a 400-square-foot climbing wall plus face painting and canoe rides. Hellenic dancers will be performing throughout the weekend and there will be tours of the cathedral and religious services. Admittance to the fest is cheap: $5 dollars (children under 12 get in for free). Tickets also include a raffle to win two round-trip tickets to Greece!
 Information,282-0259,  www.gfno.com.
Art & Soul
The NOCCA Institute and the Lupin Foundation are putting on a grand party May 18, on-site at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. Themed, “Get into the Act,” the party is sure to draw in an exciting and fun crowd ready to party.
The patron party will be catered by the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel and will feature an open bar and a musical performance by the Delfeayo Marsalis Quartet. During the main event, guests will be treated to a dinner buffet, open bar and musical performances by the Charmaine Neville Band, Leah Chase and the Alvin Batiste Legacy Band. NOCCA’s Jazz and Musical Theatre students will also take the stage. Another draw will be the silent and live auctions, featuring prizes from dozens of local businesses and artists. Information, 940-2900, www.nocca.com. Laugh with the Sinners, Cry with the Saints
The sixth annual Saints and Sinners Literary Fest, May 8-11, will draw established writers such as Dorothy Allison, Michelle Tea and others to New Orleans for a weekend of French Quarter literary fun. Saints and Sinners, which has been established as an alternative literary festival that welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and heterosexual writers and topics, will also host master classes and a play – Someone Bought the House on the Island: A Dream in Two Act – written by contest winner Ken Anderson, will be performed at the Marigny Theater. Another must-see is a production of Us, Tim Miller’s one-man, one-night show also taking place at the Marigny Theater. The topics discussed will include Miller’s love for Broadway musicals, gay marriage and injustices faced by GLBT individuals. It is sure to be a riveting, informative and provocative festival for all with an open mind and heart. Information, 581-1144. www.sasfest.org.

MarqueeBon Vivants Galore!
Though some might argue that New Orleanians celebrate food and wine 365 days (or in this Leap Year’s case, 366 days) a year, there’s another excuse to eat, drink and be merry at the five-day New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, May 20-24. Epicureans, take delight! The culinary event will draw more than 175 wineries and thousands of wine enthusiasts from around the world. Highlights of the NOWFE include a live wine auction at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, a premium fine-wine dinner featuring Chef John Folse, paired wine dinners, a Royal Street stroll, seminars and tastings. Other celebrity guests scheduled to appear include local favorite John Besh, Ziggy “The Wine Gal” Eschliman and Kix Brooks. Information, 529-WINE (9463), www.nowfe.com.