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New Orleans Weekend Picks: NOWFE, Greek Fest, and More

New Orleans celebrates Memorial Day with a weekend of remembrance: from performances from the Marine Corps Band to special events happening at the National World War II Museum, you can honor fallen military members throughout the long weekend.

People with Greek heritage (or those with a soft spot for pastitsio and spanikopita) can head to Bayou St. John for Greek Fest, now in its 42nd year. If you’re craving vino with your food, NOWFE’s the time: the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE) takes place all weekend. Night owls and culture junkies will love This is NOLA on Friday night at the Joy Theater, but if you’re seeking sun and sand for the holiday, an AVP Pro Beach Volleyball tournament is happening throughout Memorial Day weekend.

Get your fill of loukamades and other Greek favorites at the New Orleans Greek Festival. (Photo courtesy New Orleans Greek Festival on Facebook)


1. This is NOLA On Friday at 8 p.m., the Joy Theater hosts This is NOLA, a free event that showcases a snapshot of local culture. Musicians and artists will be in attendance, as will bartender Maxton Kennedy of Tiki Tolteca. General admission is free (reserve online) or you can purchase fast-track entry tickets that include a cocktail for $15.

All Weekend

marine corps band
The Marine Corps Band will play several times during Memorial Day Weekend. (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

2. Memorial Day Celebrations at the National World War II Museum – In addition to Marine Corps Band performances (more info below), the National World War II museum will hold a Memorial Day commemoration ceremony at 11 a.m. on Monday, followed by a Hoofing For Heroes tap-dance performance at 2 p.m. and a moment of silence at 3 p.m. The museum will also highlight artifacts, images, and stories that honor fallen military members throughout the holiday weekend.

3. Marine Corps Band Performances – The U.S. Marine Corps Band will play on Saturday and Sunday starting at 1:30 p.m. at the National World War II Museum as part of the museum’s Memorial Day Concert Series. On Monday, a Marine Corps Quintet will perform at 10:30 a.m. at the museum. Find the whole band again on Monday night at St. Louis Cathedral at 7 p.m.

4. Greek Fest – New Orleans goes Greek for Memorial Day weekend once again during the New Orleans Greek Festival. A variety of authentic food and drinks (opa, Ouzo!), music, and entertainment will all be on site. Admission is $7, free for children ages 12 and under. Wear a (tasteful) toga on Sunday and receive free admission.

5. New Orleans Wine & Food Experience – Despite the upscale atmosphere of NOWFE, you’ll be tempted to break out your stretchy pants given the abundance of food and drink. Events for gourmands and wine connoisseurs are happening through the weekend, including multiple Grand Tastings, wine seminars, and the burlesque-tinged Big Gateaux Show. Ticket prices vary.


AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tournament – After a decades-long hiatus, the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour makes a triumphant return to New Orleans this summer. Olympic stars (plus local standouts) will play throughout Memorial Day weekend on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. General admission is free with VIP packages available.

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