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GoNOLA Recommends: 5 Things To Do In New Orleans This Weekend

essence stage
The Mainstage at Essence Festival (Photo: Paul Broussard)

There is plenty of fun to be had during the long 4th of July weekend in New Orleans, including family fun, empowerment and a musical feast at Essence Fest. The annual dueling barges fireworks show on the Mississippi River on Friday night is worth watching, as is the new multimedia production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Tulane. Saturday evening you’ll have to choose to head uptown for DJ Questlove & DJ Soul Sister at Tipitina’s or downtown to see Soul Rebels at Blue Nile.

Essence Fest
Essence Festival (Photo: Paul Broussard)

All Weekend

1. Essence Music Festival – Celebrating its 20th year, Essence Fest returns this weekend with headliners, Prince, Nas, Mary J. Blige, The Roots, and Lionel Richie. Beyond the music, the festival also features a free Family Day on Thursday at Woldenberg Park and empowerment workshops, including a computer programming initiative called #YESWECODE aimed at youth. Tickets for Essence Fest, including VIP packages and single night tickets are still available for purchase.

2. A Midsummer Night’s Dream – The Shakespeare Festival at Tulane mounts a new production of the classic tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with performances through July 12. The show features aerial performers and ballet dancers portraying fairies, as well as a host of multimedia special visual and lighting effects. Tickets are available now.

Friday, July 4

3. Go 4th on the River – New Orleans celebrates Independence Day Friday night with a spectacular fireworks show on the Mississippi River, which has been ranked as one of the top 5 “must see” fireworks shows in the U.S.A. The fireworks are shot off of dueling barges on the river, in time with patriotic music which is broadcast over local radio stations, including WWL AM. The show starts at 9 p.m. For a great view, head to Spanish Plaza, Woldenberg Park, Algiers Point, or Crescent Park in the Bywater, which will stay open late for the event.

Saturday, July 5

4. DJ Questlove & DJ Soul Sister at Tipitina’s – Get schooled this Saturday night at Tipitina’s as DJ Questlove, along with special guest DJ Soul Sister, spins rare groove, funk and hip hop that will get you moving all night long. Doors open at 10 p.m.; tickets are $25 in advance.

5. Soul Rebels at Blue Nile – Frenchmen Street is the perfect place to spend a Saturday night in New Orleans, and what better show to see this weekend than local favorite The Soul Rebels? The brass band performs at Blue Nile July 5 at 11 p.m.

Mallory Whitfield is an artist, speaker, and author based in New Orleans. In 2016, she was honored to be included in the 19th class of Gambit’s 40 Under 40, which salutes the brightest innovators, artists, and professionals in New Orleans. She currently hosts the Badass Creatives podcast, which features marketing and business advice for creatives, as well as interviews with a diverse range of handmade artists, performers, makers, and creative entrepreneurs. During Mardi Gras, you can usually find her parading with Noisician Coalition in Muses or with The 501st Legion in Tucks.

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