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

This weekend in New Orleans offers a wide variety of cultural experiences, ranging from classic Americana at the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival to new works by independent filmmakers at the New Orleans Film Festival. Get in the mood for Halloween at the family-friendly Boo at the Zoo, or see something truly spooky (without the little ones in tow) at The Shadowbox Theatre as they present Musical of the Living Dead. Take advantage of a new free cultural event Friday night at the Joy Theater and jam out to Hurray for the Riff Raff, but save some energy for a live performance by Rajasthani Gypsy Caravan on Tuesday night.

All Weekend

1. Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival – A favorite free festival of New Orleanians, the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival runs all weekend long at Lafayette Square, featuring two stages of live music, including headliners Los Lobos, Ana Popovic and Joe Louis Walker. In addition to live blues music, the festival features plenty of barbeque and other food vendors, including vegetarian options. Handcrafted art will be available as well, with 35 local artists presenting their work at the festival’s arts market. The event takes place from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

2. New Orleans Film Festival – The 25th annual New Orleans Film Festival kicks off this Thursday, Oct. 16 and continues through Thursday, Oct. 23, featuring a wide variety of hard-to-find new films, including feature films, documentaries, and narrative shorts by Louisiana filmmakers. Check out our tips for making the most out of your film festival experience, or find ticket information at

The annual Boo at the Zoo event features family-friendly Halloween fun starting this weekend. Image: Audubon Institute
The annual Boo at the Zoo event features family-friendly Halloween fun starting this weekend. Image: Audubon Institute

3. Boo at the Zoo – The annual family-friendly Halloween extravaganza Boo at the Zoo begins this Friday evening at 5 p.m. and runs Friday and Saturday evenings through Oct. 25. Aimed at children ages 12 and under, the event offers a variety of children’s activities including trick-or-treating, games, and haunted houses, plus live entertainment. On Friday, Oct. 17, the event features a special, one-night-only performance by The Imagination Movers. Tickets are available in advance at

4. Musical of the Living Dead – The Shadowbox Theatre presents Musical of the Living Dead, a satirical send-up of classic zombie films and musical theater, beginning this Friday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. The show promises to be a truly interactive experience, complete with tap-dancing zombies and a “Splatter Zone” seating area. Tickets are available in advance from Eventbrite; performances continue weekends through Nov. 2.

Friday, October 17

5. This is NOLA presents Hurray For The Riff Raff – A new free, monthly event at the Joy Theater kicks off this Friday with performances by Hurray For The Riff Raff, plus The Deslondes, and Coyotes. The event also features a preview screening of the film Below Dreams, plus local art installations, craft cocktails and street food. Doors for this all ages show open at 8 p.m. RSVP at to gain priority entrance to the show.


6. Rajasthani Gypsy Caravan – Folk musicians and dancers from Rajasthan, India make a stop in New Orleans as part of their first U.S. tour with a live music and dance performance Tuesday, Oct. 21 at Cafe Istanbul, followed by a workshop with Suva Devi Wednesday evening at Dancing Grounds Studio. Tickets for Tuesday night’s performance are available in advance through Eventbrite. Learn more at

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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