This weekend in New Orleans promises a whole lot of family-friendly sports action, thanks to the NBA All-Star Weekend, with activities and events all leading up to the big game on Sunday. Those looking for a little nightlife should check out the Hurray for the Riff Raff record release party on Friday night, and a benefit concert which reunites indie rock band The Walkmen on Saturday, both at One Eyed Jacks. You won’t want to miss the kickoff of Mardi Gras season either, as Krewe du Vieux rolls Saturday night in the French Quarter.
1. NBA All-Star Jam Session – Basketball fans of all ages will have a blast at the NBA All-Star Jam Session, hosted all weekend long at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Thursday through Sunday, fans will have the chance to play and compete against their friends in basketball games and challenges, plus numerous NBA and WNBA players and celebrities will be on hand for free autographs and photo ops. New Orleans Pelicans players Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans, and Austin Rivers serve as local ambassadors for the Jam Session. Tickets for this family-friendly event start at just $10 each and are available via Ticketmaster.
Friday, February 14
2. Hurray for the Riff Raff record release party – Spend your Valentine’s Day with the Riff Raff. Friday night at 9 p.m., One Eyed Jacks sets the stage for the much anticipated release of the latest album by New Orleans’ own Hurray for the Riff Raff. Fronted by singer-songwriter Alynda Lee Segarra and backed by an ever-evolving cast of musicians, Hurray for the Riff Raff garnered rave reviews for their last album, “Look Out Mama,” in 2012. Opening acts Clear Plastic Masks and Monkees cover band The Missing Links promise to get the party started right. Tickets are $15 and available at One Eyed Jacks.
Saturday, February 15
3. Krewe du Vieux – Carnival season kicks off this weekend as Krewe du Vieux parades through the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. This satirical krewe is known for its raunchy floats and scathing political parody, so it’s no surprise that they’ve appointed New York Times best-selling author John Barry to be King of this year’s parade. Get a full dose of the crazy antics of Krewe du Vieux this Saturday night. The parade kicks off at 6 p.m. at Chartres Street & Elysian Fields, and is immediately followed by Krewe Delusion, with this year’s reigning captain DJ Soul Sister, Melissa Weber.
4. The Walkmen and Lost Bayou Ramblers at One Eyed Jacks – Indie rock band The Walkmen return to the stage after announcing an indefinite hiatus last fall, to perform for what organizers are calling an “Alt-Star Party.” The event is presented by the non-profit Rock On Foundation, which aims to create scholarships and promote participation in the arts and athletics. The two fields align this Saturday night at One Eyed Jacks, perfectly timed to coincide with the NBA All-Stars Weekend, as The Walkmen are joined on stage by local Cajun rockers Lost Bayou Ramblers, plus a DJ set by Chris Tomson of indie band Vampire Weekend. Doors open at 9 p.m., and tickets are available at One Eyed Jacks.
Sunday, February 16
5. NBA All-Star Game – New Orleans hosts the NBA All-Star Game for the second time in the game’s 63-year history this Sunday, as all-star players Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Steph Curry and Kobe Bryant face off against LeBron James, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving. Fans lucky enough to watch the game live can grab a seat in the recently re-named Smoothie King Center (formerly the New Orleans Arena). Exclusive televised coverage of the event begins at 7 p.m. CST on TNT.