12 Must-Attend NOLA Events of 2019

12 NOLA EVENTS

We’re almost a full month into the new year. How are those resolutions holding up? If you’re well on your way to knocking down your goals, “you go Glen Coco”! But if you’re one of those people who don’t follow the “new year, new me” fad, I’ve got something different for you to do.

I’ve created a list of events to attend each month of the year. Some are near and dear to me, some I haven’t tried, yet. From reunion concerts to historic tours to once-in-a-lifetime events, check out my must-attend events of 2019.

JANUARY – Get Down at Lagniappe w/ DJ RQ Away
Two women enjoying Lagniappe at Tiptina's
Credit: Ashley Lorraine

Lagniappe w/ DJ RQ Away – a quarterly get down that mixes charity, a packed dance floor, and intentional space for creatives, professionals, and artists of color. If you’ve ever been to a RQ Away dance party, you know this event is going to be a good one. He’s the only DJ I know to mix Kirk Franklin’s “Brighter Day” with Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot N*gga” (God, forgive me, but it was so good, I had to dance). Artists Brandon Tarell + EIB.am & The Satellites will grace the Tipitina’s stage as opening acts. Admission is free with non-perishable donations. Saturday, 1/26 @ 11P.

FEBRUARY – Learn the History of Mardi Gras Indians @ The Backstreet Cultural Museum

Backstreet Cultural Museum
Source: Instagram @ilovedetroitmichigan

Living in New Orleans, Super Sunday is a natural part of our weekends. Mardi Gras Indians are not only an integral part of Mardi Gras, but of our secondlines, as well. Do you know the history behind them? I’d be lying if I said I did. To the world, the month of February means Black History Month, but to New Orleans, February also means that Mardi Gras is near — which means there’s no better time to learn about the history of the Indians we dance with on Sundays. The Backstreet Cultural Museum has the largest collection of Mardi Gras Indian costumes. Located in Tremé, the oldest African-American neighborhood in the U.S., the museum features elaborately designed costumes and photos and videos from Mardi Gras, jazz funerals, and more. Admission: $10. M-F: 11A-5P; Sat: 10A – 3P; Closed Sundays.

MARCH – Get Your Praise on at Soul Fest

Choir singing at Soul Fest
Credit: Audubon Nature Institute

Over 20,000 festival goers unite at the Audubon Zoo for one of New Orleans’ biggest celebrations of African-American history. Presented by AARP, the Soul Fest overflows with musical performances by Jazz, R&B, and Gospel artists, soul food by local restaurants from around the city, lifestyle and wellness exhibits, and family fun. Sat & Sun, March 9-10, 11A-4P. Free w/ Zoo admission or Audubon membership.

APRIL – Relive the 2000s with B2K, Pretty Ricky, and More

B2K
Source: Instagram @b2k

When members of B2K and Pretty Ricky announced they were getting back together for a reunion tour, I dropped. The early 2000s were some of my best years and I owe most of it to the music. Black boy bands were a thing back then, and ones like B2K and Pretty Ricky were the soundtracks to my life. So, you best believe I’ll be at The Millennium Tour with my Bebe rhinestone tank top and jeans to match. Mario, Lloyd, Chingy, Bobby V, and the Ying Yang Twins will also be bringing us back into time. Tickets are on sale now, and they’re going fast. UNO Lakefront Arena, Sunday, April 21 @ 7:30P.

MAY – Groove to Tank and The Bangas or Maze at Jazz Fest

Tank & The Bangas perfoming at Jazz Fest
Source: Instagram @jazzfest

It’s the second week of Jazz Fest, and, in my opinion, the best week — that is if it doesn’t rain. Sip all the beer you can handle, savor mouth-watering food from the best vendors in the city, and sway to the sounds of Chaka Khan, Pitbull, Maze feat. Frankie Beverly, and more.

JUNE – Embrace Your Inner Kid at June Under the Moon

Craft beer at June Under the Moon

Open beer bars, unlimited park rides, food, shots, music, and a whole lot of adult fun in one night is what you get at June Under The Moon. Leave the kids at home and meet your friends at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park where adults can be kids! The date is TBA, but trust me when I say this is an event you don’t wanna miss. Some day in June; 7:30-10:30P; Admish: $30.

JULY – Celebrate 25 Years with Essence Music Fest

Pepa and Queen Latifah perfroming at 2018 Essence music Festival
Source: Instagram @essencefest

There’s no other place to be in July than the Essence Music Festival. This year, EMF will be celebrating its 25th year of bringing one of the biggest festivals to the city. The lineup of performers hasn’t been announced yet, but I think it’s gonna be dope. July 4-7.

AUGUST – Wine & Dine on a Budget During COOLinary

Lobster Gnocchi from Restaurant R'evolution

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know COOLinary is my favorite part of August! During the entire month of August, the annual culinary event allows you to experience various tastes of New Orleans by visiting 80+ participating restaurants that feature specially priced prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus. COOLinary is such a cool way to dabble into multiple restaurants without breaking the bank. Check out my 2017 & 2018 recommendations for COOLinary + a full list of participating restaurants.

SEPTEMBER – Partake in the Martini Madness

Woman and man dancing at Martini Madness
Source: Facebook @FriendsMartiniMadness

Picture this: A night sipping unlimited pours of over 25 specialty martinis, savoring delicious cuisine from over 35 of New Orleans’ best restaurants, swaying to bomb music from the DJ, and flicking it up with your girls in a photo booth. Doesn’t that sound like fun? That’s what Martini Madness is all about. There’s also an open craft beer bar and all the Zapp’s potato chips you can eat. The actual date hasn’t been set, but tickets are around $60. Sounds pricey but food, drinks, and all of the above are included. Trust me, it’s well worth it.

OCTOBER – Pick a Festival

Fried Mac N Cheese Balls

Not only is October when New Orleans finally gets a fall breeze, but it has to be the month that has the most festivals. So, I’m leaving it up to you to pick which festival(s) you wanna hit up.

Tremé Fall Fest

Gentilly Fest

Oktoberfest

Beignet Fest

Crescent City Blues & BBQ Fest

NOLA Mac N Cheese Fest

Praise Fest

Carnaval Latino

WWII Air, Land & Sea Festival

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

NOVEMBER – Shop Til You Drop at The Riverwalk

Black Friday @ Lakeside
Credit: Brett Duke, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

Black Friday has been the biggest shopping day of the year since 2005 — and that’s facts. Stores across the city will be filled with patrons trying to get their hands on the biggest deals (see Lakeside above). People tend to sleep on the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk. Let me tell you, the deals don’t get any better than this. Because it’s an outlet center, prices are already reduced and there’s always a good sale. So when the holidays hit, they’re outrageous. For example, during Christmas, Coach gave customers up to 95% off. I bought a friend a backpack retailed at $595… I got it for $150. Stay woke.

DECEMBER

Elephants @ Zoo Lights
Source: newsroom.audubonnatureinstitute.org

For years, City Park’s Celebration in the Oaks has been families’ go-to for all things Christmas lights. Last year, Audubon Zoo launched their own holiday lights walking tour. Zoo Lights feature a myriad of animal-themed light displays, live entertainment, story time with local authors, carolers, pictures with Santa, food trucks, and more. The show goes on after the zoo closes. 5:30-9:30P; Amish: $10 for members, $15 for non-members.

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