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Best Local Things to Do

National Fried Chicken Festival, Martini Madness, and More

National Fried Chicken Festival (Photo: Zack Smith)

This weekend in New Orleans, festivals abound. National Fried Chicken Fest is back with a bang, with food from over 30 vendors and music from 18 different acts will keep you full and content. Crescent City Burlesque Weekender is a three-day event taking place with multiple performances at the Allways Lounge. Martini Madness and NOLA on Tap are perfect for those who love a grand tasting. And there’s plenty more where that came from. See what’s happening this weekend in New Orleans.

National Fried Chicken Festival (Photo: Zack Smith)


National Fried Chicken Festival – Fried Chicken Fest expands to three days this year, giving us even more time to sample the best fried chicken around. Enjoy food from New Orleans favorites Bonafried, Oceana Grill, Heard Dat Kitchen, Bayou Hot Wings, McHardy’s Chicken & Fixin’, and more, including restaurants from across the country. This year’s music lineup includes Bounce Royalty, Cha Wa, the Brass-A-holics,  Bonerama, Water Seed, and more. The fest is free to attend and held at Woldenberg Park. Festival hours are noon to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Until then, get ready for the fest with the best fried chicken and fried chicken sandwiches in town. 

Crescent City Burlesque Weekender – The second annual Crescent City Burlesque Weekender brings the best in burlesque from across the country to New Orleans for one weekend. Shows include the “Kick-Off Showcase” on Thursday, the “Unicorn Christening,” where the next Reigning Unicorn of Burlesque will be named on Friday, and a “Saturday Night Mass” to close out the festival. Tickets for the shows are $25 each, or $60 for all three. All shows will be held at the Allways Lounge at 2240 St. Claude Ave. in New Orleans.

Friends 25th Anniversary Pop-Up – Jackson Square transforms into the set of Friends this weekend in honor of the television series’s 25th anniversary. Stop by to take a picture on the iconic orange couch and participate in the festivities. The pop-up is free to attend.


Movies in the Park – This series hosted by the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission brings some of our favorite classics back to the big screen. Enjoy a free screening of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at the Latter Library on 5120 St. Charles Ave. Pre-show fun begins one hour before the movie start time with field games and activities at 5 p.m.

Gasa Gasa on Freret Street (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

Third Annual Music for Mental Health Benefit Concert – This concert, founded in commemoration of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, aspires to de-stigmatize the conversation around mental illness. Kristin Diable, Spirit McIntyre, Paul Sanchez, and other New Orleans musicians will perform with founder Kathryn Rose Wood. Funds raised will benefit the newly-launched “Music for Mental Health: In Schools” music-outreach youth-focused mental health program.Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door, and free to those with a valid student ID. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Gasa Gasa. 

Martini Madness – Enjoy over 25 specialty martinis from Republic National Distributing Company and food from over 35 of New Orleans’ best restaurants at Martini Madness. This grand tasting fundraiser takes place at the Arbor Room in New Orleans’ City Park and proceeds benefit improvements to the park. The night will include a DJ, photobooth and a raffle. General admission tickets are $75, and gates open at 8 p.m.   

NOLA on Tap takes place at City Park on September 21, 2019. (Photo: Paul Broussard)


NOLA on Tap – The largest beer fest in the region returns to New Orleans City Park this Saturday, Sept. 21. Sample hundreds of beers while enjoying food, drinks, music, and more. Admission is $5 for noon or $25 for early-bird admission at 11 a.m. Drink tickets are not included in the admission price but can be purchased for a discount in advance here. The festival is all-ages and pet-friendly, just be sure to bring your furry friend on a leash. Proceeds benefit the Louisiana SPCA. 

National Dance Day – Celebrate this nationwide holiday in New Orleans with a second line and flash mob. The fun begins at the Old U.S. Mint at 9 a.m. with a Gumbo dance party. Learn  the 2019 National Dance Day routine at 10 a.m. before second lining down to Jackson Square at 11:30 a.m., which will end in a flash mob.

Harrah’s 20th Anniversary Parade – Harrah’s Casino will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a parade featuring 500 riders on 11 floats. A James Andrew second line will lead the parade with Al “Carnival Time” Johnson, the Million Dollar and Treme Baby Dolls, the Zulu Tramps, and Marching Band. The parade rolls at 2:30p.m. will proceed down S. Peters Street to Poydras, turn right on St. Charles Avenue, and right on Canal Street to Convention Center Boulevard. The parade will end at Harrah’s Casino at the intersection of S. Peters and Poydras.

Planetary Problems Launch Party – Listen up space lovers. The Space Opera House is hosting a release party for the second installment of Planetary Problems, a publication dedicated to all things space. Listen to a space science lecture, meet the artists, writers, and editors of Planetary Problems, take photographs with their space installations, and meet the musicians, and artists featured in this out-of-this-world magazine. Mid City Pizza and Cajun Spirits Distillery will provide food and beverages and the party happens at 1114 Felicity St. Get your tickets at the door, with a suggested donation of $15, unless you get beamed up. Space costumes are of course welcome.

Enjoy free admission at Southern Food and Beverage Museum and other museums participating in the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day. (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day – Enjoy free admission to a museum of your choice this Saturday, care of the Smithsonian Museum. Participating museums in the New Orleans area include the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, the National WWII Museum, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, the New Orleans Jazz Museum, and many more. Participants are allowed to download one ticket per email address. The ticket provides free general admission on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, for two people.

Members of the Young Men Olympia march for during a funeral for a beloved member (Photo courtesy of Eric Waters)


Come out and celebrate 135 years of Central City history and tradition at the 135th anniversary of the Young Men Olympians Benevolent Association on Sunday, Sept. 22. The second line kicks off at 2101 S. Liberty St. at 1 p.m. at the Norman Dixon Sr. Clubhouse, home of the Young Men Olympians Benevolent Association and rolls until 5 p.m. The second line will make stops at Second and Dryades, then go up Louisiana Avenue to Big Man Lounge, and then Peewees Crab Cakes. It keeps rolling down Martin Luther King, to Simon Bolivar, then to Jackson Street and then ends at home at 2101 S. Liberty St. For updates, follow the Young Men Olympians Benevolent Association Facebook page here.

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