The summer may be winding down, but New Orleans shows no signs of easing up. The agenda includes plenty of action, including Saints football, festivals, and delicious food and drink (no surprise there), as well as some live shows by a host of performers. Here’s our list of 15 things to do in September.
1. Get Decadent at Southern Decadence
Southern Decadence (sometimes called Gay Mardi Gras) begins August 29 this year and runs through September 2 over Labor Day weekend. Now in its 48th year, Decadence includes costume contests, parades, and block parties in the French Quarter. Most of Southern Decadence is free and open to the public, though a weekend pass provides admission to the Bourbon Pub and the Parade. VIP weekend passes are also available.
2. Spend a long weekend out on the town
Labor Day falls on Monday, September 2 this year, giving many lucky people a three-day weekend. There is plenty to keep you busy throughout the weekend. Check out our Labor Day weekend itinerary for ideas live music, eats, drinks, and more.
3. Celebrate the new Louisiana Children’s Museum Opening
The beloved Louisiana Children’s Museum in the Warehouse District closes its blue doors on July 27. One month later, on August 31, it will open its new doors in City Park. Favorite exhibits like the grocery store and giant bubble-maker will also make the move but with upgrades, and exciting new components like a miniature Mr. Okra truck and a Mississippi River model.
4. Cheer “Who Dat” during football season
On September 9, catch the Saints for their season opener home game right here in the Superdome. The Saints play the Houston Texans on September 9 and the Dallas Cowboys on September 29 at home. Score tickets to a home game or cheer on the boys in black and gold at a local sports bar. The Saints football season kicks into high gear with Gleason Gras on Saturday, Sept. 28. A Saints pep rally, Gleason Gras also raises money for Team Gleason.
5. Open up your dessert stomach for New Orleans Restaurant Week
Riding on the coattails of COOLinary New Orleans Restaurant Month, Restaurant Week runs from September 9-15. Prix-fixe menus will offer diners twenty-five percent off regular prices. Participating restaurants will include many favorites and will be announced soon. See our guide to COOLinary for more details.
6. Learn about lesser known local histories at NOMA
Bodies of Knowledge features the immersive work of eleven artists from around the world. The exhibit grapples with the role language plays in shaping our cultural identities and opens up conversations about inclusivity. It is on view now at the New Orleans Museum of Art through October 13.
7. Celebrate the Mississippi at Downriver Festival
Held at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, Downriver Festival celebrates the impact of the Mississippi River with food, drink, and music. Enjoy live cooking demonstrations, educational activities, and a kid’s area while taking in views of the river. The festival is Saturday, Sept. 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and this year’s theme is Southern Seafood.
8. Get your beer fix and support strays at NOLA on Tap
The largest beer festival in the region, NOLA on Tap is a fundraiser for the Louisiana SPCA featuring over 400 beers. City Park hosts the festival on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 12:00 to 7:00 p.m. (VIP entries begin at 11:00 a.m.). Tickets start at $5 (beer not included). NOLA on Tap also presents live music, the Homebrewers Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) competition & People’s Choice Awards, food, art, and other vendors and games. The festival is dog-friendly and under-21-friendly.
9. Indulge in soul food during the National Fried Chicken Festival
Woldenberg Park, on the banks of the Mississippi River, hosts the National Fried Chicken Festival presented by Raising Canes from September 20-22. Experience three full days of fried chicken, live music, a cooking demo area, and fried chicken contests. The festival is free and open to the public. Fried chicken vendors and live music will be announced soon.
10. Dance an Irish Jig at Irish Fest New Orleans
The Kingsley House hosts its annual Irish Fest on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The celebration of Irish culture will include arts, dance, music across two stages, food, and crafts. The Irish Channel Feis, a group of Irish dancers, will also perform. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate.
11. Sip a martini at City Park for Martini Madness
Friends of City Park hosts Martini Madness on Friday, Sept. 20 from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. Choose from 25 specialty martinis from Republic National Distributing Company and nibbles from over 35 restaurants. The event will also include a raffle, a photo booth, and a DJ. General admission tickets are $75 and $65 for members. Ticket prices include food and drinks. Proceeds benefit capital improvements at City Park.
12. Toast William Faulkner on his 122nd Birthday
The Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society celebrates William Faulkner’s birthday with Happy Birthday, Mr. Faulkner, a birthday party and literary festival of sorts from September 24-27. Some events are free and open to the public while others, such as lunches, require tickets.
13. See live music at Harrah’s Fillmore
The Fillmore is the new live entertainment venue at Harrah’s Casino. The extravagant event space fits over 2,000 people, the perfect concert venue for a September calendar packed with exciting live shows. The Head and the Heart’s Living Mirage Tour graces the Fillmore stage on September 24, Kacey Musgraves: Oh, What a World: Tour II is on the calendar for both September 27 and 28, and Stone Temple Pilots follow on September 29.
14. Scream at the Mortuary with an early dose of Halloween
The Mortuary, a haunted house which operated as a funeral home from the 1920s to 2004, opens its doors on September (13, 27, and 28). This year’s theme is “The Cult of 13,” about a group of serial killers whose souls have been unable to pass on. General admission tickets are $30.
15. Celebrate Gretna’s heritage at Gretna Fest
Across the Mississippi River from New Orleans lies Gretna, a city whose quaint historic center hosts the Gretna Heritage Festival each year. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year on September 27, 29 and 29, the fest offers a wide array of local food choices for festival-goers including BBQ shrimp, crab cakes, boudin, meat pies, oysters, fried Snickers, and pralines. The real meat of this festival, though, is the music, which is soon to be announced.