That we had a very mild winter makes the coming of sping no less of a cause to celebrate, in my book! Lawns and trees (and sometimes cars) have turned a happy green again, and flowers are blooming everywhere. Time to break out the sandals, shorts, and sundresses, and head outside!
Anyone who knows me knows I’m not outdoorsy in the classic (or any) sense, and I like to keep the traipsing through the woods and paddling through swamps to an absolute minimum. Lucky for me, and those like me, our region is renowned for it’s lovely, organized outdoor events and festivals, complete with non-rugged terrain and reasonable access to bathroom facilities.
Here’s a healthy sampling of super cool events that fit that description coming up in April on both shores. Get ready to satisfy both your vitamin D requirements and culinary, cultural, and musical cravings. (Click on the events for links and more details.)
Held annually in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, this family-friendly, fun-filled day features egg hunts, a petting zoo, spacewalks, face painting, crafts activities and more. 10am-1pm
Over 200 Local Vendors showcase local arts, crafts and wearables. Plus, there’s live music on 3 stages, a festival food court featuring the finest local chefs and picnic seating, a kid’s area, complimentary bike valet. “Slightly used dogs and cats will be up for adoption by Zeus’ Place, Zeus’ Rescues and other local rescue organizations — and there will be a Doggie Pit Stop with wading pools, treats, and water. Free parking in a nearby lot on the corner of Magnolia and Cadiz Streets. 11am-6pm
April 6, 13, 20 and 27
The City of Covington presents the Spring 2017 Rockin’ the Rails Concert Series. All ages are invited to enjoy free live music at the at the Covington Trailhead from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Concerts feature the best performing artists in New Orleans R&B, jazz, and soul, including Luther Kent and Deacon John & The Ivories.
The largest free music event in the United States, French Quarter Festival features 1,700 musicians playing 400 hours of free, local music from a variety of musical genres — from gospel to jazz, from funk to classical, from Cajun & Zydeco to brass band– on 23 stages throughout the French Quarter. The community festival also features the ‘World’s Largest Jazz Brunch,’ festival food booths operated by some of New Orleans finest restaurants. Music starts at 11am daily.
This annual event, hosted by the Northlake Nature Center, takes place as many species of birds are migrating north through Louisiana from Mexico and South America. Highlights include a social, photo workshop, and multiple trips to visit local habitats, including swamps, wetlands, pine savanna, and hardwoods of southeast Louisiana. Visit the website for the various times and events.
Highlights of this family-friendly festival include vendor booths, rides and amusements, live entertainment on three stages, a state level beauty pageant, 10K road race, and parade. Musical acts include 5 Finger Discount, The Dominos, Waylon Thibodeaux, and others.
New work by dozens of artists from around the Southeast Region will be showcased at this festival, which also includes live music at various outdoor and indoor locations, gallery openings, art demonstrations, boutique shopping, and fine dining throughout downtown Covington. 6-9pm.
Bunny Fest (Metairie)
Jefferson Parish’s first public children’s event for the Easter season is taking place in Lafreniere Park. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Metairie Sunrise, the event presents a host of bunny themed festivities, games, face painting, pony rides, crafts, storytelling, great food, and more.. Child service organizations, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, and CASA Jefferson Parish will also participate with information and activities. 11am-6pm.
The procession of mule-draw carriages and old convertibles will begin at Antoine’s Restaurant 9:45am. They typically hand out stuffed Easter bunnies and other goodies to children en route to St. Louis Cathedral for 11am Mass. Following Mass, participants will promenade to Jackson Square to show off their Easter bonnets and other finery before returning to Antoine’s, where awards are given out.
Following a hat contest, slient auction, and entertainment at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel Ballroom at 11am, beginning at 1pm, riders, floats, and marching bands will make their way through the heart of the historic French Quarter, tossing lots of throws to the crowds. Following the parade, revelers can enjoy a Champagne Brunch and dancing.
Participants are invited to enjoy mint juleps, small bites, and music as they shop at dozens of participating businesses and stroll Girod Street in Mandeville as the sun goes down on Lake Pontchartrain. Old Mandeville Business Association presents the second annual Girod Street Stroll. We’ll welcome the spring season to the heart of Mandeville with mint juleps served at dozens of participating businesses. Light tasting plates with the newest creations of the season will be served by the top chefs of Old Mandeville. 5-9pm
Held at the Trailhead downtown, this festival features over 100 booths, live auction, appraisals, live demonstrations, walking tours, food, music and more. 10am-5pm
This one-day festival of street musicians is sponsored by the Abita Springs Trailhead Museum, with music provided by the Abita Springs Opry in partnership with the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation. It also features food, art, crafts, and of course, dancing. Featured acts include The Shakemup Jazz Band, Jackson and the Janks, Tuba Skinny, among others. 1130am-7pm
New Orleans’ premier golf tournament and the only PGA TOUR event in the region, this event boasts a rich history, with play dating back to 1938 and past winners including golf greats like Jack Nicklaus, Davis Love III, and Vijay Singh. Over $11 million has been raised for over 40 charities that serve thousands of children in need in the southeastern Louisiana region.
Touted as New Orleans’s premier benefit event for children of all ages, Audubon Zoo is transformed into a magical play land, complete with live entertainment & musical performances, arcade games, inflatables, face painters, crafts, complimentary food and beverages, and much more. sponsor & patron party 5-9pm; early admittance 5:30-9pm; and general admittance 6:30-9pm.
April 28-30 & May 4-7
The granddaddy of them all, Jazz Fest is an annual celebration of the music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana. Of course, this means a huge array of music and some of the biggest national and international acts, as well as hometown favorites. This year’s lineup is incredible, including Buddy Guy, Dr. John, Stevie Wonder, Patti Labelle, Harry Connick, Jr., Usher & The Roots, Alabama Shakes, and more. Plus, there’s all the fabulous food and crafts, and it all happens at the Fair Grounds.