The girls (and the tomatoes) are back in town. Two events – FestiGals and the Creole Tomato Festival – headline the weekend, with plenty else to see and explore throughout the city. NOLA Brewing’s new tap room opens, perfect for beer and barbecue lovers, while the Bywater Bar Stroll lets you explore neighborhood watering holes. Brunch awaits after Cajun dancing at the Tigermen Den on Saturday morning – can you jitterbug yet? A winking ode to a literary classic, an actress’s spoken word performance, and Italian opera are other notable picks.
1. Creole Tomato Festival – The Creole tomato is so beloved in New Orleans, it has its own festival, happening this weekend at the French Market from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Creole tomatoes play a starring role in a variety of dishes available at the fest, where you’ll also find live music, cooking demos, and boxes and boxes of vine-ripened beauties. The fest is free, though if you spend $30 or more in a French Market District retail shop, you’ll receive juicy bounty – a bag of tomatoes.
2. FestiGals – Sure, it incorporates fun and fashion, but FestiGals’ main goal is to empower and enrich women through engaging seminars happening all weekend.
Memorable events like Bodacious Bras for a Cause and the Stiletto Stroll and Sprint are interspersed with captivating talks from speakers like Irma Thomas, Ann Teunnerman, and Poppy Tooker. Ticket prices vary.
3. NOLA Brewing Tap Room Opening – Pit master Neil McClure pairs barbecue with beer at NOLA Brewing’s new tap room, also home to a secondary outpost of McClure’s namesake restaurant on Magazine Street. An outdoor balcony patio offers sweeping views of the Mississippi River, but if nature isn’t entertaining enough, don’t worry: they’ve got televisions.
4. Opera in the Piazza – If smoked meats and ales aren’t quite refined enough for you, seek sophistication at Opera in the Piazza, a romantic evening of arias in the Piazza d’Italia in the CBD. An Italian street fair setting likens New Orleans to Rome via Italian food and drinks – bravo! Tickets are $10 online.
5. Cajun Dancing and Brunch at Tigermen Den – From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., The Tigermen Den hosts a traditional fais do do with chef Anne Churchill providing brunch (think chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, and bagels with smoked catfish cream cheese). T’Canaille brings the music, and dance lessons for beginners at 1 p.m. ensure that everyone will be boogying down in proper Cajun form thereafter. Suggested donation is $10.
Lagniappe (Saturday Edition)
Bywater Bar Stroll – Start at Bacchanal Wine at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and join the Bywater Neighborhood Association for a leisurely itinerary hitting some of the neighborhood’s most iconic bars. Come thirsty: participating bars include J&J’s Sports Lounge, The Joint, and Vaughan’s Lounge. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
To Kill A Mockingbird: Comedic Tribute at The New Movement – Though prone to moments of comedy (remember Dill?), Harper Lee’s coming-of-age masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird draws largely on the dark, Southern Gothic genre. Leave it to the New Movement to find humor: their comedic tribute pays homage to Lee’s words through improve, sketch comedy, and storytelling starting at 9 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $5 at the door.
CCH Pounder at Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans – The NCIS New Orleans actress will mix poetry and spoken word on Saturday at 8 p.m. with proceeds benefiting CACNO’s 2015-2016 performing arts season. An open bar, jewelry raffle, and silent auction are all part of the event. Tickets start at $75.