Welcome to the Top 10 Events in LouisianaExplore the selection of the top 10 annual events and festivals, fairs and celebrations (listed in calendar priority) across the State of Louisiana, including events in New Orleans, Shreveport and Lafayette.
On the Tuesday before ash Wednesday, bead-draped Louisianians and their guests hit the streets for a day of fun and frivolity. And no two places celebrate it in exactly the same way.
In the New Orleans area, more than 60 parades roll during the two weeks before Fat Tuesday. Slidell and Madisonville celebrate with colorful boat parades, and Monroe-West Monroe, Lake Charles and Houma have lighted boat parades. Shreveport-Bossier City's and Lafayette's Mardi Gras traditions focus on family activities, and the Alexandria-Pineville are celebrates with a children's parade for the young and the young at heart.
For more information visit: www.mardigras.com
Festival International de Louisiane
Festival International de Louisiane is a community-based, non-profit arts organization formed in 1986 to produce an annual visual and performing arts festival celebrating the French cultural heritage of southern Louisiana – primarily a combination of French, African, Caribbean and Hispanic influences.
The largest outdoor, FREE Francophone event in the U.S., the Festival places special emphasis on highlighting the connections between Acadiana and the Francophone world. Each year performing, visual and culinary artists from Europe, Africa, Canada, the Caribbean and the Americas are invited to share their talents with Louisiana artists, residents and visitors.
For more information visit: www.festivalinternational.com
French Quarter Festival
New Orleans, Louisiana
This award-winning festival, which began in 1984, has grown to become the largest free music festival in the South. Eighteen stages throughout the French Quarter presented the best in New Orleans music, representing every genre from traditional and contemporary jazz to R & B and New Orleans funk, brass bands, folk, gospel, classical, opera, Cajun Zydeco, Latin World, International, as well as musical stages for children.
Over 65 food and beverage booths made up the “World’s Largest Jazz Brunch,” a signature event, featuring authentic local cuisine from renowned area restaurants, many of whom have been with the Festival for over 27 years.
For more information visit: www.fqfi.org
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
April / May
New Orleans, Louisiana
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, a/k/a Jazz Fest, is a 7-day cultural feast in which thousands of musicians, cooks and craftspeople welcome 400,000 visitors each year.
The Louisiana Heritage Fair at the Fair Grounds Race Course showcases unforgettable music on multiple stages, delicious Louisiana cuisine in two large food areas, and crafts artisans from the region and around the world demonstrating and selling their work.
For more information visit: www.nojazzfest.com
Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival
Breaux Bridge, Louisiana
The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival has become one of the largest gatherings of world famous Cajun, Zydeco and Swamp Pop musicians and plays host to over 30 bands on three stages during the three-day festival.
Also part of the fun are the Breaux Bridge Heritage Tent, Cajun cuisine, crawfish races, Cajun and Zydec dance contests, carnival midway, crawfish cookoff and eating contest, and a parade to honor the Crawfish Queen.
For more information visit: www.bbcrawfest.com
Paying homage to the most cherished of Louisiana institutions – the crawfish boil – Mudbug Madness began in 1984 as a two-day street festival in downtown Shreveport.
It is now one of Louisiana’s largest and most popular Cajun festivals, featuring renown Cajun, Zydeco, Blues and Jazz artists, mouth-watering Cajun cuisine, raucous contests, and fun for all ages.
This four-day festival held each Memorial Day weekend is nationally recognized as one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events, drawing as many as 56,000 people in one day.
For more information visit: http://mudbugmadness.com
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Over 50 years old, Contraband Days is one of Louisiana’s largest festivals and the City of Lake Charles oldest festival. Contraband Days is a themed “pirate” festival with close to 100 events. Contraband Days always falls on the first two weekends in May and it’s a twelve day festival. The Festival is based on the Lake Charles Civic Center grounds with some events occurring throughout the City. Over 100,000 people attend Contraband Days Festival on land and on the water.
For more information visit: www.contrabanddays.com
Red River Revel
The Red River Revel Arts Festival, an eight-day outdoor arts festival, celebrates the arts with more than 120 visual artists from across the country, four performance stages that feature live music and a large area dedicated specifically to providing arts education for children.
There are also the famous mouth-watering delicacies from 24 food booths, a variety of homemade gourmet items at “The Market”, and other events including events including the Sportspectrum Revel Run and the Red River Quilters' Quilt Show.
For more information visit: www.redriverrevel.com
Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival
In 1981, fearful that Creole and Zydeco music was dying out, the Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival was created and started on a farmer’s field on the outskirts of Opelousas, with four hundred neighbors attending.
Now known as the world's largest Zydeco ("LA LA") Music Festival, complete with the Annual Zydeco King and Queen Ball, fun run, jam session and parade, takes place in September in Opelousas
For more information visit: www.zydeco.org
Essence Music Festival
New Orleans, Louisiana
An arts, music and empowerment festival celebrating contemporary African-American music and culture attracts nearly 200,000 visitors in what has become the largest festival of African-American talent in the USA.
Past top performers have included Chris Rock, Kanye West, Patty Labelle, Chris Brown, LL Cool J, Grand Master Flash and Mary J. Blige.
One of the top-notch speakers of the past was Barack Obama in 2007.
For more information visit: www.essencemusicfestival.com