Expect to see outrageous costumes at the Southern Decadence festival. // © 2010 Michael Nyika
Let’s face it: Summertime in New Orleans — with its high temperatures and humidity — might not be for every client. Therefore, it makes sense that the city plans many of its festivals in the fall and spring. This upcoming autumn is no exception.
The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau has a comprehensive website listing all the happenings around town. Visitors should also check out “Gambit,” a free, weekly newspaper and website that is full of event listings for locals and visitors alike.
Here are several excellent opportunities to visit the City That Care Forgot and to enjoy a proper Louisiana fete at the same time.
A Festival for Every Interest
Visitors don’t have to be part of the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) community to enjoy the annual Southern Decadence festival, taking place from Sept. 1-6, but they should be fun-loving and open-minded. The popular Labor Day weekend celebration has attracted thousands over the years and has been called the “Gay Mardi Gras” for its vibrant costumes and exuberant Labor Day parade through the French Quarter.
Art for Arts’ Sake, held the first Saturday in October, showcases galleries in the city’s most artistic neighborhoods — Julia Street, the Warehouse Arts District and Magazine Street. In addition, the Contemporary Arts Center will offer special exhibits and musical performances from 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Oct. 2, for a $10 admission.
The New Orleans Film Festival takes place at several venues around town from Oct. 14-21. Sponsored by the New Orleans Film Society and expected to draw more than 7,000 attendees, the festival includes world premieres, diverse independent and foreign films and a host of movies that have used the city as a backdrop. It’s a great chance to catch outstanding films firsthand or spot a visiting celebrity.
During Halloween, New Orleans is like no other place. Chalk it up to the city’s Old World architecture, the above-ground cemeteries and the vampires who made the city home in Anne Rice’s novels. There’s no official Halloween festival, per se, but people dress up in costumes for contests throughout the city and the Voodoo Music Experience rocks on several stages Oct. 29-31 in City Park. Voodoo headliners this year include Muse, Ozzy Osbourne, Weezer, MGMT and Drake, among many others. Local musicians, such as Kermit Ruffins, Tab Benoit and the Treme Brass Band, to name only a few, will also perform.
The Halloween in New Orleans event, which takes place from Oct. 28-31, benefits Project Lazarus, a New Orleans home for men and women with AIDS. It occurs at several venues in town, including the House of Blues, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Steamboat Natchez.
New Orleans has a long and illustrious literary heritage, including being home to writers William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams and Anne Rice. Words & Music a Literary Feast in New Orleans, sponsored by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society, honors both past and present literati from Nov. 17-21 at various French Quarter venues. The theme will be “The Literature of War & Collateral Damage,” and some of this year’s eclectic events include a master class for students and teachers hosted by National Book Award winner, Tim O’Brian; a special showing of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (based on the best-selling novel); a session by Julia Glass on how wars changed how we eat; and plenty of opportunities to visit some of the places frequented by the city’s most famous writers.