New Orleans festivals are unique celebrations, and there are many to revel in this month. November falls in the lull between the Halloween and Mardi Gras crowds. The oppressive, humid heat begins to let up, and tropical storms are less likely to disrupt your stay. The real New Orleans is not the drunk, manufactured tourism of Bourbon Street but the spirit that can be seen in the neighborhood festivals. At these local events you can witness the decades-old Nawlins traditions and the soul of the city. A quick flight from San Antonio, New Orleans is a colorful destination for a weekend trip. Experience the storied culture of the place where European, African, Caribbean, and Deep South Gulf Coast histories meet. Check out a few Big Easy festivals happening in November:
November 19-23. Performance and ticket info available at: nofringe.org
Named the “festival of the wild, weird, fresh and original,” Fringe Festival is a medley of performances— pantomime, musical theater, circus acts, puppetry, improvisational, storytelling, dance and more— put on by unproduced playwrights and up-and-coming writers. The more than forty venues it occupies are uncharacteristic and converted spaces, including living rooms, warehouses, churches, a plant shop, a Mardi Gras float den and artist studios. This year the 1st Annual New Orleans Fringe “Procession of the Personal Saints” accompanies the fest. In true New Orleans style, it is a volunteer walking procession to celebrate saints of one’s choosing. A few examples you can find on the Fringe website are, “St. Fats of the Dominoes, St. Mikey the Bartender Who Pours Us Very Strong Doubles and Santa Barista of the Counter”.
2nd District Blues Festival
November 22, 11am-7pm. Palmer Park. Free admission. 2nddistrictbluesfest.com
New Orleans is a city of art, music and food, all of which you can expect at the 6th Annual 2nd District Blues Festival. Experience the Nawlin’s sounds of blues, funk and jazz with live music by Walter Wolfman Washington featuring Joe Krowne, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Mia Borders, and The Stooges Brass Band. And special performances by the Pussyfooters and The Cherry Bombs, two dancing and marching troupes composed of spirited southern women. The former don pink corsets, fish nets and Doc Martins as they parade the streets and the latter, red tutus. Famous food trucks and restaurants cook up classic New Orleans eats.
Oak Street Po-Boy Fest
November 23, 11am-7pm. Oak Street at S. Carrollton. Free admission. poboyfest.com
Po-Boy Fest attracted an impressive 50,000 people last year. This Uptown festival celebrates the famed New Orleans po-boy sandwich, a fat portion of French bread and hearty fillings of seafood, meats or fried foods. Take your pick from the more than 50 kinds of po-boys offered by three-dozen local vendors. Barbecue, seafood and steaks will also be served. The fest’s motto appears to be, ‘eat ‘til you die’, which will be hard to resist with desserts like Nola’s famous bread pudding with rum sauce and pralines. Live music by many Louisiana bands, to name only a few: Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes, Los Poboycitos and Rebirth Brass Band. Merchants and restaurants of Oak Street open their doors to the fest, notably the divine Jacques Imos and the world renowned Maple Leaf Bar.