Hispanic heritage has had an impactful influence over the past 300 years in shaping what New Orleans is today. Our culture reflects this heritage, from the Spanish who took over from the French and rebuilt the city between the mid-1700s and early 1800s to the Hispanic people, specifically from Latin America, who came to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina (again, to help rebuild the city). Based on this influence, Hispanic heritage and culture can be seen throughout the city from the 300 year-old architecture to the new wave of food establishments around the city. Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) is the perfect time to pause and reflect on those contributions. Here’s how we’re celebrating.
The outdoor family festival is an extension of the television show “¿Que Pasa New Orleans?” on Telemundo 42 to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. The festival, which takes place October 5 and 6 at Lafreniere Park in Metairie, features live music, dancing, food, arts and crafts, community outreach opportunities, and a children’s area. Admission is free.
Gretna Heritage Festival, taking place September 27-29, is bringing a new stage dedicated to Hispanic heritage and culture to this year’s festival. Attendees can enjoy Latin food, drinks, and music. Headliners include Luis Vargas and Jose Feliciano, and plenty of local Latin talent. Support local favorites like Rumba Buena, Asheson, Ovi G & The Froggies, Muevelo, Vivaz, and more!
On Sunday, October 6, Celebración Latina, presented by Pan-American Life Insurance Group, will offer an authentic festival for one day at The Audubon Zoo featuring children’s activities, live music, and cuisine sold by local restaurants. The event is held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free with zoo admission and to Audubon Institute Members. Festival chairs and blankets are welcome.
4. Enjoy Latin cuisine in New Orleans
The city has seen a surge of Hispanic restaurants throughout the entire Greater New Orleans area, and local favorites have stood the test of time. Favorites include Maïs Arepas, Manolito, Barú Bistro & Tapas, and La Boca. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read on more of our favorite authentic Latin dining spots in New Orleans here.
5. Azúcar Ball
Azúcar Ball is the premier fundraiser gala for the New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to cultivate Hispanic heritage through a local scholarship program. The theme this year is inspired by the 2018 Preservation Hall documentary “A Tuba to Cuba” and will highlight the many influences that Cuba has had on the culture of New Orleans. This year’s ball will be held Saturday, Nov. 23 at The Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown.
6. Get your dance on
While Hispanic Heritage Month stretches from September 15 – October 15, you can still party on a monthly or even weekly basis by dancing. Check out Latin Night at Rock’n’Bowl every Tuesday night and Club Sánchez at Johnny Sánchez (with a late night happy hour) on the last Thursday of every month, in addition to plenty other recurring events that include dancing workshops and live music. Check NOLA Fleaux on Facebook for all upcoming events this month.
7. Get involved
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage means more than just enjoying a thick tortilla with beans or dancing salsa into the early morning. There are several ways to learn more and get involved to support the Hispanic community. A few organizations include the Hispanic Young Professionals of Louisiana (HYPLA), The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (HCCL), and The New Orleans Hispanic Heritage Foundation. It’s a great way to meet other people in the community, learn about local businesses, attend events, and support Hispanic heritage year-round.