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Best Local Things to Do

Danny Barker Festival, Harry Potter in Concert, and More

Danny Barker festival
The festival takes place from January 15-19, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the Danny Barker Banjo & Guitar Festival)

This weekend in New Orleans, enjoy the opening of Harry and the Thief, Something Rotten!, and BMike’s latest exhibit. The Danny Barker Banjo & Guitar Festival returns for another year of celebrating the beloved New Orleans musician. Martin Luther King, Jr. events take place throughout the city this weekend. There’s no place for the January blues when you’re in New Orleans. 


Danny Barker Banjo & Guitar Festival – This festival honors local musical legend Danny Barker. Parades, panels, parties, performances, and more pay tribute to Barker’s influence on music in the city. Enjoy music clinics on banjo and guitar, an all-star jam, and the Danny Barker Day Parade. Experience the festival from January 15-19.

Something Rotten! – Le Petit Theatre is kicking off the new year with Something Rotten!, a comedy about two brothers living in 16th century London who struggle to find success in the theatrical world. Opening night is Friday, Jan. 17, and the show runs through February 2. Tickets are $35.  

Harry and the Thief – The Nola Project presents Harry and the Thief, which opens this Thursday at the Contemporary Arts Center. This new play from Sigrid Gilmer involves a time machine, a professional thief, and travelling back to 1863 to alter history. Catch the performance in its limited engagement run through January 26. Tickets are $30.

Nayo Jones
Nayo Jones in a past performance. (Photo: Katie Sikora)


New Orleans Jazz Orchestra: A Tribute to Nancy Wilson ft. Nayo Jones – Nayo Jones pays tribute to award-winning musician Nancy Wilson in the inaugural performance of NOJO’s Women of Excellence concert series. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at the New Orleans Jazz Market, and tickets start at $30.

Steven Forster: Four Decades of New Orleans Iconography – Explore the works of acclaimed photographer and New Orleans native Steven Forster including portraits of musicians, beloved celebrities, and local icons. The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, demonstrates Forster’s deep cultural connection with New Orleans and ties with the entertainment industry. The exhibit is on view at the Jazz & Heritage Gallery (1201 N. Rampart) Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through January 24.


Harry Potter in Concert – Experience Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone like you never have before in concert with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra will play the film’s score while the movie is projected onto a 40-foot screen. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. Tickets are $65. 

Photo Courtesy: Jonathan Mannion


N̶O̶T̶ Supposed 2-Be Here Exhibit Opening – Join the Newcomb Art Museum on Saturday, January 18, to mark the opening of the museum’s latest exhibition, N̶O̶T̶ Supposed 2-Be Here, the first solo show in a museum setting for New Orleans artist Brandon “BMike” Odums. Addressing the question of who or what kind of art belongs in a museum, the exhibit explores four different takes on inclusion and identity drawn across notions of art, race, place, and accessibility. The opening night reception kicks off at 5 p.m. and includes music by DJ RQ Away and an artist talk with BMike Odums, and food and drinks by Chef Ashley Jonique flowing until 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with events throughout the community. The City of New Orleans is hosting a weekend of events, including a MLK Choral Concert on Friday, Jan. 17 and a Citywide Food Drive and Artist Exhibits on Saturday, Jan. 18. Follow the City of NOLA for details.

On Monday, Jan. 20, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art will host free admission all day with performances and activities for kids. Also on Monday, from noon to 3:30 p.m., head to the Contemporary Arts Center for WOKE DREAMS: A Celebration & Reflection of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., featuring a panel discussion, art explorations, and DJ Raj Smoove, where guests are invited to reflect upon the legacy of Dr. King. The Louisiana Children’s Museum will host King Fest, a special five-day celebration of Dr. King beginning January 16 through MLK Day. Children’s activities, yoga, and peace walks are just a few of the events.

The annual MLK Remembrance March begins on Monday at 10 a.m. from the New Orleans Jazz Market. Festivities for the day, including a commemorative celebration, begin at 9 a.m.

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