Festivals, Events, Travel & More
Natchez Festival of Music
The arts are in full bloom this spring, as festivals and events take over calendars across the Gulf South. New Orleans welcomes a number of music festivals, which attract revelers to the restaurants, bars, galleries, and shops of the city. Concerts, both indoor and out, are plentiful during this busy season and special events bring celebrations of all kinds. Nearby travel destinations also have a lot to offer—from arts festivals and beach vacations to music performances, casino excitement, guided tours, and maritime festivals. Finding fun this season is as easy as getting in the car or on your bike and heading down to the excitement, which extends from locally everywhere from City Park to the French Quarter, the Marigny, Uptown and beyond. Weekend and day trips to South Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida can also make for a splendid, spring day off. The following events and attractions will help get your planning started.
Local Arts, Entertainment, & Activities
Located amidst the spirits and spirited characters of the French Quarter is Spirit of Avant-Garde, a shop and reading room dedicated to honoring ancestors, divining answers, and celebrating art. Whether seeking answers or seeking to reconnect with an ancestor, Spirit of Avant-Garde offers over twenty years of experience providing guidance to clients who seek a more fulfilling life. Spirit of Avant-Garde also hosts a plethora of artwork, including sugar skulls and Dia de Los Muertos-inspired creations that make both decorative conversation pieces, curious talismans, and thoughtful alter gifts. The shop also features quilting and jewelry, including earrings that reflect Day of the Dead themes and rosary bracelets showcasing assorted Saints and the city.
Spirit of Avant-Garde offers tarot, palm, and tealeaf readings. Additionally, egg readings with a spiritual cleansing can be arranged with a 24-hour advance booking. Washes and salt baths are also available. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 504-319-3071. Spirit of Avante-Garde is located at 533 Saint Louis Street. Visit @avantegardespiritof on Instagram and Facebook.
Haunted History Tours is widely considered to be the number one tour company in New Orleans, offering a variety of thrilling tours largely focused on the paranormal. Recommended by The Travel Channel as "a must do,” Haunted History's French Quarter Ghost & Legends Tour takes participants to numerous locations known for actual, documented hauntings. Be sure to take lots of pictures! Ninety percent of tour participants will capture paranormal activity in their photos.
Other popular tours include the Cemetery, Voodoo, Vampire, Pub Crawl, Five In One Tour, and Garden District Tours. The company offers walking tours as well as the nightly Dead of Night Graveyard and Ghost Tour by bus. These year-round tours often sell out. Interested tour-seekers should purchase their tickets through Haunted History’s website, HauntedHistoryTours.com.
Haunted History Tours also compiled the mildly theatrical, hugely historical, and thoroughly entertaining book, New Orleans Ghosts, Voodoo, & Vampires. For more information, call 504-861-2727.
Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery is excited to announce Three Hundred More, a compelling promotional offer designed by Old No. 77 to continue the enthusiasm generated by the city’s tricentennial celebration while further deepening the property’s connection to the community.
Three Hundred More illustrates Old No. 77’s commitment to seeing New Orleans thrive for another three centuries. Speaking to the growing need for meaningful, authentic, and contributive travel shared by many Old No. 77 guests, Three Hundred More will expand Old No. 77’s creative partnerships with organizations such as Where Y’Art, Goods that Matter, and others. In partnership with Where Y’Art, Old No. 77’s latest gallery exhibition, 300 More celebrates South Louisiana’s Coastal Regions with heavy florals, wetlands, and swamps.
As part of Three Hundred More, Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery is offering 20 percent off with a five percent donation to a coastal restoration non-profit, Restore the Mississippi Delta. The 167-room hotel is located in the Warehouse Arts District, three blocks from the French Quarter and a short stroll from the Convention Center. Book online at Old77Hotel.com.
Explore the world of dinosaurs during SuperSaurus Saturday Spectacular, April 6, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Louisiana Children’s Museum. Become a junior paleontologist—learn about dinosaurs and geology with members of the New Orleans Geological Society (NOGS). Explore the NOGS fossil collection, see life-sized dinosaur skulls, and walk in dinosaur footprints. Shake the Earth and watch the movement on a seismograph. Match predators with prey in geological time, discover how the plant-eating dinosaurs defended themselves from the meat eaters, and more. Additionally, junior paleontologists can complete a Dino scavenger hunt and receive a real dinosaur bone fragment to keep.
This year will be extra “spectacular” as the Museum celebrates the 20th anniversary of Supersaurus Saturday with dino story times, dinosaur yoga, and prehistoric STEM activities. Decorate hankies with stamps, dance to live music, and secondline at 2:45pm with The Brontosaurus Brass Band! All activities are available with Museum admission or LCM Membership. Supersaurus Saturday is sponsored by New Orleans Geological Society and the Southeastern Geophysical Society. The Louisiana Children’s Museum is located at 420 Julia Street. For more information, visit LCM.org or call 504-523-1357.
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 part in the cultural and educational life of New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, and the Gulf South.
A full slate of spring programming begins with Cirque Musica: Heroes & Villains at Mahalia Jackson Theater on April 6. An exciting, family-oriented experience, Cirque Musica tells the story—through music and acrobatics—of a boy and avid comic fan who becomes “lost” in a fantasy world of superheroes and villains. Other LPO performances include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, featuring cellist Julian Steckel, on April 11 and 13 at the Orpheum Theater and April 12 at First Baptist Church in Covington.
On Tuesday, April 16, LPO performs at Fidelity’s Concert in the Park: Swing in the Oaks at New Orleans City Park. Music lovers are invited to bring lawn chairs and refreshments. In collaboration with Second Harvest Food Bank, the LPO will be collecting donations as part of Orchestras Feeding America.
For tickets and information, call 504-523-6530 (option 2) or visit LPOmusic.com.
On July 17, 2019, the unmistakable talent of singer Michael Bublé will be on full display at the Smoothie King Center in Downtown New Orleans. Hear the top hits from his brand new album, love, in addition to crowd favorites. Tickets are on sale now at Ticketmaster and the Smoothie King box office. Every ticket purchased includes a standard CD or digital copy of Michael’s new album, his eighth major studio album for Reprise Records.
Michael’s 2019 U.S. Tour began in Tampa, Florida, on February 13 and has played to sold out arenas across the country. He has already completed five sold out world tours, won four Grammy Awards, and sold over 60 million records over the course of his extraordinary career. Do not miss this opportunity to see this world-famous, sensational singer right here in New Orleans.
Beaver Productions is proud to bring this unforgettable performance to the Gulf South this summer. For tickets and information, visit Ticketmaster.com or call 800-745-3000.
French Quarter Phantoms Ghost & Vampire Tours are fun for visitors and locals alike. Listed as #5 in TripAdvisor's Top Ten Ghost Tours in the World, their tours should be on everyone's "Must Do" list. Grab a cocktail and walk along with their Master Story Tellers for a lot of great laughs and chills up your spine! Their fun, exuberant guides are passionate about entertaining guests. Year-round tours begin at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. nightly and are appropriate for all ages.
For daytime adventures explore St Louis #1 Cemetery, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily or walk amidst shady live oaks and grand houses on a tour of the Garden District available at 10 a.m. daily. For adults-only fun, try Saints & Sinners, a dirty little FrenchQuarter history tour beginning at 1 p.m. daily. French Quarter Phantoms offers a variety of tours throughout the day and evening. Pick your favorite, grab your friends, and have some fun.
Online discounts are available through FrenchQuarterPhantoms.com. For more information, call 504-666-8300.
Newly distinguished by the French Ministry of Culture as a Maison des Illustres, Degas House in New Orleans is the only home or studio of Edgar Degas open to the public in the world. The new distinction confirms the world-renowned stature of Degas House, as there are only 235 Maison des Illustres (“houses of the famous”) properties worldwide, and Degas House is now one of only two in the United States. The distinction is soon to be recognized with a plaque depicting the seal of the French Ministry of Culture located at Degas House and brings with it additional funding that the historic museum plans to use to further develop its Degas Arts Center located nearby.
In addition to serving as a luxury bed and breakfast and hosting year-round weddings, receptions, and corporate events, Degas House hosts guided tours, given by the great-grand nieces of Degas himself. Guests can tour both Degas houses, where Degas painted 18 paintings and drafted five letters, and view the documentary Degas in New Orleans, a Creole Sojourn.
Call 504-821-5009 or visit DegasHouse.com for details and reservations.
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.
The Love Swimming facility uses heated, salt-water 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.
Saturday, April 6, and Sunday, April 7, will mark the grand opening of The Historic New Orleans Collection’s (THNOC) new exhibition center at 520 Royal St.
Combining historic restoration and new construction, the site will house a permanent exhibition on the history of the French Quarter, changing exhibitions, dynamic interactive displays, an immersive film, and an educational space. It will also include a café and a larger footprint for the museum shop. Like THNOC’s other locations, admission will be free.
On Sunday, April 7, THNOC will host a block party from 1 to 5 p.m., where visitors can enjoy access to both of THNOC’s Royal Street properties, plus performances from Bon Bon Vivant, the Confetti Park Players, and others. Food and drink will be available for purchase throughout the 500-block.
The new exhibition center will be open 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, and 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Sunday. Details are available at HNOC.org.
Local Food & Drink
Spend spring outdoors this season with a glass of wine in the serene courtyard at Effervescence Bubbles & Bites. Enjoy the peaceful fountain, relax on the outdoor couch, or grab a sidewalk table on North Rampart and treat yourself to bubbles. The impressive wine list spans the globe with sparkling wines from around the world, including over 80 Champagnes by the bottle and 30 sparklers by the glass.
Every Wednesday, Effervescence pops open a magnum of Champagne to pour by the glass—double the excuse to celebrate midweek! Flights are the perfect way to explore the list, available by the full or half glass. Try their spring/summer sparkling rosé flight for a fun, crisp and fruity sparkling adventure. The full bar also serves cocktails, beer, and spirits.
Effervescence’s bites menu features fresh and local ingredients prepared by the Michelin-trained chef couple. Highlights include a Caviar Service, Dry-Aged Louisiana Wagyu, Pommes Frites and their signature Gulf Seafood Plateau, featuring five local, refreshing, and thoughtful seafood preparations.
Effervescence is open Wednesday-Sunday; for hours, menus, and event bookings, visit NolaBubbles.com. Limited reservations are available on OpenTable.
The historic Royal Frenchmen Hotel enjoys the distinction of being the sole, luxury boutique hotel in the midst of all of the action and entertainment of Frenchmen Street. But behind its historic walls, the hotel offers much more than its luxury accommodations.
The bar at Royal Frenchmen Hotel has recently been named the #3 hotel bar in New Orleans in the Where Y’at Best of the Big Easy Awards behind only the storied French Quarter Carousel and Sazerac bars. The Royal Frenchmen Hotel bar offers live music daily and features a Friday night residence by the Treme Prince, Glen David Andrews. Happy hour brings daily $3 martinis from 4 – 7 p.m., a perfect way to relax in the afternoon as music begins to fill the streets.
The hotel’s beautiful and spacious courtyard can accommodate up to 150 guests for weddings and other special events, placing guests right in the heart of New Orleans’ musical and cultural epicenter. Learn more about the Royal Frenchmen Hotel and book your stay or event by visiting RoyalFrenchmenHotel.com or by calling 504-619-9660.
Springtime Happenings at Nearby Destinations
More than a place to stay, Holiday Inn Club Vacations® at Orange Lake Resort is a place to play. Discover a new world of luxury in a Signature Collection villa at Orange Lake Resort. Signature Collection villas are luxurious and are tastefully decorated for those looking for more than the ordinary.
Don’t want to miss out on all the fun? Spend the day in one of Orange Lake Resort’s Private Cabanas next to the River Island lazy river. After a day of floating, splashing, and sliding down the tall waterslide, wind down and relax in a chaise lounge with a cool and refreshing beverage.
The Family Fun Package has grown to become a family tradition and includes the most requested activities including play passes for lazy river pool tubes, waterslide, rock climbing wall, miniature golf, large specialty pizzas of choice and refillable drink tumblers—something for everyone!
Book your stay today at DiscoverHCV.com/stay-and-play.
Activate your imagination at Art Month South Walton, an initiative of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County. Art Month South Walton is a collaboration of visual, performing and literary arts events presented in diverse formats and various venues throughout South Walton, located along Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Spanning the month of May, Art Month South Walton includes Under the Sea, a fundraiser for the nation's first Underwater Museum of Art (recently named one of TIME Magazine's 100 Greatest Places), the 31st Annual ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival, Digital Graffiti Festival in Alys Beach (recently featured in National Geographic as one of 24 Unconventional Art Destinations Around the World), Longleaf Writers Conference, the Rosemary Beach Sculpture Exhibition, the Northwest Florida Theatre Festival, and more.
Discover more details at CulturalArtsAlliance.com.
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.
The 29th annual Natchez Festival of Music hits the riverbanks with spectacular performances the entire month of May. On May 4th, the season kicks off with nine-time Grammy Award-winners, Asleep at the Wheel, that will have you dancing in the aisles to their own brand of western swing.
Experience top national performers in Stephen Sondheim’s hit musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Puccini’s iconic opera, La Boheme. The Natchez Festival offers musical events from classical and jazz, to rock, Broadway, and more, including a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock featuring internationally renowned guitarist, Vasti Jackson and a crawfish boil with critically acclaimed band, Bishop Gunn.
Experience beautiful Natchez, Mississippi, enhanced by world-class musical events all month long. Get your tickets and plan a great getaway. Visit NatchezFestivalofMusic.com.
In Vicksburg, Mississippi, you’ll find Southern hospitality in its most authentic form. A city that harbors U.S. history at some of its most poignant turns, Vicksburg features art at its most creative angles, food at its finest flavors, and outdoor adventure at its most thrilling turns. Vicksburg is a place bursting at the seams with local culture, character, art, entertainment and outdoor adventure.
With sweeping views of the Mississippi River, Vicksburg perfectly blends Southern culture and heritage with exciting modern-day attractions. From four world-class casinos and upscale shopping, dining and spas to some of the most fascinating historic sites, architecture and antebellum mansions in the nation, Vicksburg offers an authentic Southern experience you don’t want to miss. Just relax—it all runs on river time in Vicksburg!
From restaurants and shops to historical sites and museums, you’ll find destinations, events, and lodging for your next adventure at VisitVicksburg.com.
Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort is “The New Way to Stay & Play” on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Treat yourself to a stay at its luxurious hotel, voted Best Casino Hotel by Mississippi Gulf Coast’s Observer. Start your Sunday mornings with a Jazz Brunch featuring live entertainment by Jesse Hill and bottomless mimosas and bellinis. Spice it up with a loaded Bloody Mary topped with a fresh lobster tail. Dive into All-You-Can-Eat Dungeness and Snow Crab at Scarlet Pearl’s Waterfront Buffet every weekend.
Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort showcases 1,170 state-of-the-art slot machines, over 35 top-of-the-line table games and over 80 video poker games. If you are feeling really lucky, take a shot at a hole-in-one at Lava Links Miniature Golf Course featuring a live, erupting volcano.
Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort—your home away from home. Book your next ultimate getaway at ScarletPearlCasino.com or call 888-BOOK-SPC.
The TABASCO® Pepper Sauce Visitors Center on Avery Island brings to life the unique world of TABASCO® Sauce. Located in southern Louisiana, Avery Island has been the home of TABASCO® Sauce since it was created more than 148 years ago.
The Visitors Center showcases how TABASCO® Sauce is made—from the peppers first budding in the greenhouse, to towering walls of oak barrels where mashed peppers are aged for three years, to a glimpse into the production facility where the sauce is blended, stirred, and then bottled. Finally, visitors can snap and share pictures with life-size bottles of their favorite TABASCO® flavor before sampling treats that are only available at the TABASCO® Country Store.
While there, be sure to dine at TABASCO®'s 1868 Restaurant where you can enjoy spicy, authentic Cajun dishes and classic Southern comfort food, all seasoned with TABASCO® Sauce. Build your own bloody mary and try all of the TABASCO® Family of Flavors®.
For more information about visiting the home of TABASCO® Sauce on Avery Island, please visit TABASCO.com.
Florida’s Forgotten Coast, otherwise known as Franklin County, is home to year-round art exhibits, concerts, theater, fishing tournaments and festivals that highlight the natural resources, culture and history of the unique coastal communities stretching from Alligator Point to Apalachicola.
In April, Apalachicola hosts its annual Art and Wine Walk April 6, where local artists show, sell, and demonstrate their talents and local businesses serve a variety of wines along a downtown trail of art and wine venues. Following that event, St. George Island hosts a seven-day Paint-out, April 7-13, featuring workshops and art receptions. Boating enthusiasts enjoy the annual Paddle Jam races, April 5-7, in Apalachicola. Be a part of the annual attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest raft of kayakers. On April 20, Apalachicola hosts its annual Antique & Classic Boat & Car Show along the scenic waterfront. The annual Carrabelle Riverfront Festival, April 26-27, features maritime exhibits, arts and crafts, seafood, live music and a classic car show.
For more springtime events, including home tours, concerts, and the ten-day En Plein Air art event, visit FloridasForgottenCoast.com.