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Best Local Things to Do

Weekend Picks: NOLA Mac N’ Cheese Fest, Gentilly Fest, and More

Gentilly Fest (Photo: Justen Williams)

This weekend in New Orleans, come ready for Mac N’ Cheese Fest, Gentilly Fest, Japan Fest, and a whole lot more. Music and theater lovers have endless options this weekend. Wicked stops by the Saenger Theater, Music Under the Oaks returns for an afternoon under Audubon Park’s majestic, live oak trees, and the New Orleans Civic Symphony brings new experiences to the start of the season. Experience an illuminated, immersive art experience at GLOW, or head to Ogden After Hours to catch Soul Brass Band. If you’re still in the summer mood, stop by the Roosevelt’s Rooftop Pop-Up Series to enjoy light bites from New Orleans’ Chef Adolfo Garcia, Jr. It’s easy to see why fall is our favorite season in New Orleans.

Allison Bailey in the North American Tour of Wicked (Photo by Joan Marcus)


Wicked – This beloved musical is celebrating 15 years on Broadway, making it one of the longest running shows on the Great White Way. Fans in New Orleans can experience the magic without ever having to leave home. The show is playing at the Saenger Theater from October 2-20. Be sure to bring a new or gently used children’s Halloween costume to donate to ‘WEEN DREAM before the show. Tickets start at $49. *Editor’s Note: Saturday and Sunday’s performances of Wicked have been cancelled

In the spirit of the show, Gabrielle Restaurant has curated a special pre-theater lunch and dinner Wicked-inspired menu. Drop by for “Munchkinland Mussels Marinières,” “Good Witch Galinda’s Southern Soup,” “The Gizzard and I,” and much more. The menu is available before every show through October 19.

Gentilly Fest (Photo: Justen Williams)

Gentilly Fest – Gentilly Fest is a community celebration that takes place in beautiful Pontchartrain Park, complete with plenty of food, music, and family activities. Feast on yakamein, BBQ ribs, snowballs, stuffed fish, hot chicken sandwiches with three spice levels, and much more. Admission is free and the fest runs all weekend long.


Second Saturday Community Market – Stop by the Second Saturday Community Market at the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center for local produce, handmade items, community services, nature hikes, live music, Planetarium shows, and more. This family-friendly event is free and open to the public, from 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Japan Fest (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

Japan Fest 2019 – Japan Fest is the largest celebration of Japanese culture in the Gulf South, featuring a day of performances from traditional dance groups, martial arts demonstrations, Japanese cuisine, tours of NOMA’s Japanese art collection, fashion shows, and much more. The fest is held at the New Orleans Museum of Art from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and admission is $5 (free for NOMA members and visitors ages 19 and under).

NOLA Mac N’ Cheese Fest – Dedicated to all things mac n’ cheese, you won’t want to miss this fest. Vendors this year include The Big Cheezy, Frey Smoked Meats Co., Oceana Grill, and much more with menu items like four cheese bacon mac, crawfish mac, pulled pork mac, and vegan mac. The fest also features an arts market, live music, a mac n’ cheese eating contest, and a contest crowning the best mac in NOLA. Mac N’ Cheese Fest is held in Armstrong Park on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is free.

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

Contemporary Issues in Food & Drink Lecture Series – The Southern Food & Beverage Museum welcomes renowned, James Beard Award-nominated Chef Elizabeth Falkner for the 10th Annual Contemporary Issues in Food & Drink Lecture Series presented by Domino Foods, Inc. This Saturday at 6 p.m., Falkner will address Ending Restaurant Waste. The one-hour lecture in conjunction with the current SoFAB exhibition, 40 Chances by Howard G. Buffet – which spotlights the worldwide fight against hunger – will be followed by a reception and is free and open to the public. RSVP for the event here.

Admission to the Southern Food & Beverage Museum is free courtesy of Domino Foods, Inc. all day on Saturday. While you’re there, be sure to check out the brand new Gumbo Garden, located in the museum’s outdoor space.

Enjoy Music Under the Oaks in Audubon Park (Photo: Rebecca Todd)


Music Under the Oaks – The Music Under the Oaks Fall Concert Series is a great way to enjoy live music under the majestic oaks of Audubon Park. The New Orleans Concert Band will perform this Sunday from 5-6:30 p.m. The concert is free, but donations are encouraged. Music Under the Oaks celebrates the Audubon Park Conservancy, an annual fund that directly supports annual care and improvements in Audubon Park, including ongoing needs such as lawn care, seasonal flower planting, and the protection of historic live oak trees.

Music Box Village Halloween Market – The Music Box Village’s Halloween Arts Market features original, independent designer and handmade Halloween costumes, masks, crafts, jewelry, Latin food, cocktails, and more. Stop by from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday to check it out. Admission is free.

New Orleans Civic Symphony – The New Orleans Civic Symphony is a group of volunteer musicians bringing a diverse orchestral experience to the community. Their first concert of the season will feature Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F (“Pastorale”), Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with guest pianist Chris Jung, and Sibelius’s Karelia Suite. The performance will be held in UNO’s Recital Hall on Sunday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are strongly encouraged.

The Ogden Museum is home to Ogden After Hours (Photo: Rebecca Todd)


Ogden After Hours – Kick off your weekend with a performance from Soul Brass Band at Ogden After Hours. This group infuses soul and funk with traditional New Orleans jazz for an always upbeat, high-energy performance. Catch the band this Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Regular admission for adults is $13.50.

Roosevelt Rooftop Pop-Up Series – Stop by the Roosevelt Hotel’s newly-renovated pool deck this Thursday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. for light bites from New York-based, New Orleans native Chef Adolfo Garcia, Jr. From BBQ shrimp and molasses smoked ribs to chicken satay and market fish tostadas, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. To quench your thirst, The Roosevelt’s Rooftop Bar staff will be serving Frozen Kahlua Mudslides and Fireball Cider as $10 specialty cocktails. Feel free to take a dip in the pool while you’re there. This event is free and open to the public.

GLOW (Photo courtesy Hunter Cole)

GLOW: An Illuminated Living Art Experience – Artist Hunter Cole’s photographs are known for their signature glow, and the photos will come to life in an immersive experience this Thursday. GLOW: An Illuminated Living Art Experience will transform the Zeitgeist Theater into a live, glowing, one-of-a-kind art experience. Guests will have the opportunity to walk into the darkened theater illuminated by never-before-seen art created with actual, living bio-luminescent bacteria and interact with dancers wearing “glowing art” costumes. Guests can also become living art themselves – Cole will photograph guests interacting with living light pieces throughout the evening. This event is from 6-10 p.m. and is free and open to the public.


Haunted Attractions – It’s officially October, which means spooky season is here. For haunted house lovers, stop by the Mortuary or New Orleans Nightmare. Scout Island Scream Park is back with its fright zones, but bring the little ones before sunset for a family-friendly experience. Discover more NOLA Haunted Attractions here.

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