This weekend in New Orleans offers plenty to do, no matter what your persuasion. For plenty of free fun, all weekend long, head to the banks of Bayou St. John for the Bayou Boogaloo festival. This weekend also offers lots of cultural experiences, ranging from a touring Broadway production of “War Horse” at the Saenger Theatre to a performance and book-signing by comedian Chelsea Handler, as well as performances by a local opera group on Sunday night. Those looking for something a bit spooky should head to One Eyed Jacks on Saturday night for the vampire inspired festivities of Fangtasia.
1. Bayou Boogaloo – Now in its 9th year, Bayou Boogaloo has grown into one of the largest free music festivals in New Orleans, filling the banks of Bayou St. John in Mid-City with three stages of music, plus plenty of arts & crafts, kids activities, and food vendors to explore. Headlining acts include bounce rapper Big Freedia, groove rocker Eric Lindell, rock band The Iguanas, Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys, and many more. On Sunday, the event features an annual Rubber Ducky Derby at 4 p.m., with proceeds benefiting the Second Harvest Food Bank. Donations to help keep the festival free are accepted at various entry points; one-third of donations will be given to local neighborhood nonprofits.
2. “War Horse” at the Saenger Theatre – The Tony Award winning production War Horse comes to the Saenger Theatre this weekend, and features life-size horse puppets. This heart-warming play tells the story of a young boy trying to reunite with his beloved horse during World War I. Tickets are available in advance, and a portion of proceeds from Sunday night’s performance will benefit the NOPD Mounted Patrol.
Friday, May 16
3. Chelsea Handler at the Mahalia Jackson Theater – This Friday, late-night TV host and comedian Chelsea Handler visits New Orleans to perform and promote her new book. Garden District Book Shop hosts a book-signing at 2 p.m. of “Uganda Be Kidding Me,” a comic telling of Handler’s adventures around the world. Tickets for the book-signing are available in advance and are required for admission. Friday night at 8 p.m., Handler performs at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Tickets for the performance can be purchased online.
Saturday, May 17
4. Fangtasia IV featuring The 69 Cats and Clockwork Elvis – The fourth annual vampire inspired goth ball brings together rockabilly bands, burlesque performers, paranormal tours and more at One Eyed Jacks this Saturday night. The event takes its name (with permission) from a bar in HBO’s True Blood, and features performances by The 69 Cats and Clockwork Elvis. The show starts at 9 p.m., and tickets are available in advance or at the door for $25.
Sunday, May 18
5. OperaCréole at Marigny Opera House – The local African-American opera company, OperaCréole, celebrates the contributions that people of color have made to the world of opera and music in New Orleans. The group, which is made up of professional opera singers, educators and international soloists, celebrates its third anniversary this Sunday evening at the Marigny Opera House by performing music by Edmond Dede, Lucien Lambert, William Grant Still, Verdi and others. The show starts at 8 p.m., and the event is free to the public, with a $20 suggested donation.