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Weekend Picks: New Orleans Film Fest, Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest, and More

Bring out your tissue paper and napkins for must-see films and must-have BBQ.

Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

This weekend, there are festivals in New Orleans that’ll take you from Mid-City, uptown, downtown and back. New Orleans Film Fest kicks off on Wednesday night and runs through next week. Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest already has our mouths watering, and we’re not even halfway through the week yet. Japan Fest at the New Orleans Museum of Art offers a cultural experience for children and adults alike. You’ve got double the chance to check out the Steam Train Festival or take a tour of French Quarter courtyards. Where will you land this weekend?

Woody Harrelson at New Orleans Film Festival 2016 (Photo: Rebecca Todd)


New Orleans Film Festival – Kicking off Wednesday, October 11, New Orleans Film Festival runs through October 19 and brings us nine days of films, programming, and parties. In its 28th year, this year’s festival features 240 films, and prides itself on the diversity of categories and filmmakers. Prices for the events vary, but you can see potentially Oscar-worthy films for tickets starting at $13. You might feel a little overwhelmed by the schedule, (there’s so much good stuff!) but we’ve got you covered with a guide to Film Fest. If you can’t catch any films this weekend, there’s lots more to come in the week ahead.    

Crescent City Blues & BBQ FestivalGrammy Award-winning musicians Robert Cray and Bobby Rush headline this year’s festival which is celebrating its 12th year. They’ve got a lineup of 18 bands over two stages, but the real star of the show is the barbecue. Slow-roasted and smoked to perfection, you’ll have 16 different chances to sink your teeth into something delicious. The festival kicks off at 4 p.m. on Friday at Lafayette Square. Admission is free.  

Japan Fest 2016 (Photo: Rebecca Todd)


Japan Fest 2017 at NOMA – Known as the largest celebration of Japanese culture in the Gulf South, Japan Fest is back in its 23rd year. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., head over to the New Orleans Museum of Art for a day full of Japanese celebrations. Traditional dance groups, martial arts demonstrations, kimono dressings, and Japanese art is just a taste of what you can expect at this festival. Speaking of taste, don’t forget to try Cafe NOMA’s take on traditional Japanese cuisine as well as food from the other local vendors. Admission is free for NOMA members and $5 for the general public.  


2017 Steam Train Festival – Historic train stations and vintage railroad cars will be on display at this year’s Steam Train Fest. Along with food and music, the fest offers fun for both kids and adults alike at the Fly, located at Audubon Park near the river. A $15 donation is required for admission and the festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

Step into the magic of a hidden French Quarter courtyard. (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Secret Gardens Tour of the Vieux Carré – Take a tour of traditionally private and historic French Quarter gardens normally closed to the public. From 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., you can walk through history and explore the magnificent Spanish and French architecture of these magical courtyards. Tickets are $20 for the self-guided tour. Children are welcome to attend as well. This event is run by Patio Planters of the Vieux Carré, a volunteer group dedicated to preserving the French Quarter. The secret garden tours are located at 533 St. Ann St.    


Pirates, Prostitutes, and Cockroaches! A History of New Orleans – La Fete Theatre Company presents a comedy, or as they call it – a hilarious romp through the highlights of New Orleans’ history. Located on 2215 Burgundy St., the show kicks off at 8 p.m. and general admission is $15. Service Industry Nights on October 17 and 24 offer $10 admission with proof of employment. While opening night is Thursday, you’ll have until October 25 to see this production.

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