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Have a Bangin’ Fourth of July and Essence Fest in New Orleans

Independence Day weekend in New Orleans is an epic affair with Essence Music Fest, the Dueling Barges fireworks, family friendly activities and more!

A spectacular 4th of July show on the Mighty Mississippi (Photo: Paul Broussard)

If there’s one thing New Orleans does well, it’s throwing a party, and this year’s Independence Day celebrations are a prime example. This 4th of July in New Orleans will not only have fireworks, but also Prince. As if that alone isn’t enough reason to celebrate our country’s independence in New Orleans, we have plenty of other options over four days to make this 4th of July one to remember.

Take in the wonders at the Audubon Aquarium (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Guide to Independence Day Weekend in New Orleans

Daytime Activities

For a full day of 4th of July fun, the Audubon Nature Institute is celebrating with discounted admission to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and the Audubon Insectarium, both conveniently located on the Mississippi Riverfront so you can get a good spot for the fireworks show later that night. These specials extend to July 3, 5 and 6 as well so you have many opportunities to experience the fun and fascinating exhibits.

Fourth of July fireworks (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

Dueling Barges

The main event of the New Orleans Independence Day celebrations is the magnificent Dueling Barges fireworks extravaganza over the Mississippi River presented by Go 4th on the River. Starting at 9 p.m., one of the best fireworks shows in the country will start, launched from two opposite river barges, choreographed to patriotic anthems which will be broadcasted on WWL AM and FM radio. Grab a spot on the Riverwalk or get one of the best seats in the house – or river as it were – on board the Creole Queen paddlewheeler or Steamboat Natchez to watch the fireworks on the river, under the stars.

essence fest
Have an unforgettable 4th of July in New Orleans at Essence Fest (Photo Cheryl Gerber)

Essence Fest

Having the Essence Music Festival in conjunction with Independence Day really takes this holiday weekend to the next level, especially with mind blowing headliners like Prince, Nas, Janelle Monae, Mary J. Blige, The Roots and Lionel Richie, to name a few. The addition of the inspirational Empowerment Experience series, pop-up and day parties, and a family festival make this weekend in New Orleans one of the most unique, enriching, electrifying and extravagant 4th of July celebrations in the whole country.

What’s Open

There are plenty of fantastic dining and drinking options in the Central Business District and Warehouse District right around the Superdome, not to mention your pick of all the restaurants in the French Quarter just next to all the Essence and Independence Day action. Find delicious Italian food, German food and seafood at DomenicaLuke, and Borgne, respectively. Donald Link’s Cochon and Cochon Butcher will be serving some of the best Cajun food and specialty sandwiches you can find in the city, and the James Beard Award-winning Peche will be serving their exquisite Gulf seafood. For wine and craft cocktails, head to the Victory Bar, Loa and WINO. Ruby Slipper is the go-to place for breakfast and brunch with two downtown locations on Canal Street and Magazine Street.

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