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Best Local Things to Do

Weekend Picks: Freret Street Festival, New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, and More

Royal Street in New Orleans today (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Spring has sprung here in New Orleans, and we’ve got a full lineup of weekend activities to show for it. Whether you’re ready to embrace the outdoors with a block party-style festival or you’d prefer to keep it indoors with a performance or two, this weekend offers plenty of unique events.

Enjoy wine tastings at the New Orleans Food and Wine Experience (Photo: Rebecca Todd)


New Orleans Wine & Food Experience – The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience provides an opportunity for sommeliers, foodies, and connoisseurs to unite across multiple seminars, tastings, and special events across New Orleans. Indulge at the Cochon de Lait on opening night, and head out to the festival’s famous Royal Street Stroll for a celebration of wine and food in the French Quarter. Enjoy the festival April 4-7. See here for all events and ticket prices.

The New Orleans Ragtime Festival – From April 4-7, enjoy the musical legacy of ragtime through performance and education. The highlight of the festival comes Saturday at the New Orleans Jazz Museum with the Ragtime Festival Showcase from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., an event that highlights some of the best performers in the city. Check the schedule for performances here.

BODYTRAFFIC (Photo by Tomasz Rossa)


BODYTRAFFIC – Hailed as one of the country’s leading contemporary dance companies, BODYTRAFFIC comes to New Orleans April 5 and 6 for three performances at NOCCA’s Freda Lupin Memorial Hall. The company makes its New Orleans debut with works by Hofesh Shechtor, Matthew Neenan, and Richard Siegal and music by Peggy Lee, Clark Terry, Oscar Peterson, and Count Basie. Tickets are $50.

The Coronation: A Bee Opera in the Music Box Village – Celebrate spring with a new, experimental opera by Louisiana-born musician Bernard Pearce about bees and the natural, dramatic process of crowning a new queen. This performance will take place at the Music Box Village April 5 and 6. Purchase tickets for $20 here.

Dat Dog is one of the vendors at Freret Street Festival (Photo: Rebecca Todd)


Freret Street Festival – It’s the neighborhood block party of the year. Head to Freret Street on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for food, arts and crafts, and music across three stages. The festival is held across seven blocks on Freret from Napoleon to Valmont streets. Admission is free.

First Annual Mais & Margarita Fest – The First Annual Mais & Margarita Fest celebrates Latin culture here in New Orleans and the United States through food, music, and dancing. Head to Dutch Alley in the French Market District on Saturday for food vendors selling tacos, arepas, pupusas, cornbread, corn and grits, cachapas, and roasted corn on the cob, and live entertainment provided by Madison Guzman, Vive Mi Tierra, Javier Olondo & AsheSon, and Santiman & Garifuna Generation. Admission is free and the fest is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

South Market Live – In conjunction with Arts District’s First Saturday Gallery Openings, the neighboring South Market will host a free outdoor concert from 4-6 p.m. Saturday. Enjoy complementary champagne at Lukka Boutique, live music from local musician Carl LeBlanc, and more at 1000 Girod St. before heading over to Julia Street to view the galleries.

Browse the art galleries along Julia Street on the first Saturday of every month (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

Arts District First Saturdays – Take a stroll down Julia Street for the Arts District’s First Saturdays. Among the gallery exhibit openings is an exhibition of new artworks from Dale Chihuly at the Arthur Roger Gallery. Enjoy the exhibit among other gallery openings from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday.

Cirque Musica: Heroes and Villains – Perfect for the family, this show features circus and acrobatic talent from Cirque Musica alongside musical selections from classic superhero movies performed by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Catch the show Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Tickets start at $10.

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir – The world-traveling radical performers, Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir are headed to New Orleans, just in time for festival season. The group recently shared stages with other activists like Pussy Riot, Yothu Yindi, Joan Baez and Neil Young. The activist-entertainers will host a late-night show at Southern Rep Theater at 10 p.m. Then, on Sunday at 7:30 p.m., the troupe will stage their gospel concert for the Earth. Tickets range between $12 – $20. Part political rally, part comedy show, part church service,  the group is a movement calling its followers to bring attention to the Earth’s global climate crisis. See for yourself and decide.


Made in Louisiana Festival – If you’ve ever wondered about the story behind staple ingredients in Louisiana cooking, this festival is for you. Sample craft beers, small bites, cocktails, and more local favorites while viewing exhibits on Louisiana products. Tickets are $15 in advance here. The festival takes place at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum from 12:30-4:30 p.m. on Sunday.


Purpose and Passion: Photography by Eric Waters Exhibit Opening – On Thursday, April 4, enjoy the opening of a new exhibit from New Orleans photographer Eric Waters. The opening reception will feature a live performance by Carl LeBlanc & the Big Easy Street Band, a cash bar, and food from local vendors. This event is free and open to the public from 6-8 p.m. at the New Orleans Jazz Museum.

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