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Mardi Gras may be over, and New Years Eve just a fading memory, but there are still plenty of things to do in New Orleans.

March has St. Patrick's Day weekend ( a huge party in New Orleans ) and St Joseph's Day & Night ( very important to both the Sicilian community and the Mardi Gras Indians).  There's Easter Weekend, French Quarter Festival and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April.  In May we have Bayou Boogaloo. June brings the New Orleans Oyster Festival and the Creole Tomato Festival.

Easter Weekend
April 10 - April 12

We do Easter a little different down here in the Crescent City. Since it's New Orleans, there's gonna be parades. Easter Sunday's lineup of parades begins early that morning with The Historic French Quarter Easter Parade. Starting at Antoine's Restaurant at 9:45 a.m. and proceeding to St. Louis Cathedral for 11:00 a.m. Mass. The parade, a procession of mule-drawn carriages and vintage automobiles, perambulates through the Vieux Carre, giving stuffed Easter bunnies and beads to the children along the way

After Mass, participants promenade to Jackson Square opposite the Cathedral to show off their Easter bonnets and other finery before returning to Antoine's for Easter brunch. Prizes are awarded for the best bonnets, Easter baskets and overall Easter attire.

Later, around 1:00 p.m. is the Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade. This tradition, which began back in the early 1980s, features renowned French Quarter singer, dancer and all-around entertainer (ecdysiast) Chris Owens as the Grand Duchess. She stands proudly on her gaily decorated float, assisted by elegantly attired attendants while decked out in one of her stunning, form revealing outfits. Only in New Orleans are you likely to see a septuagenarian stripper elevated to a cultural icon.

The parade starts at the corner of Canal and Bourbon streets and wends its way through the French Quarter, past the eponymous Chris Owens Club at 500 Bourbon, with colorful floats and vintage convertibles and accompanied by one or more of the city's famous brass bands. Plus dance troupes and other entertainers. And, of course, since this is a New Orleans parade, there will be plenty of throws – Easter-themed – to catch from the floats and the convertible top autos.

Then, later in the afternoon, is yet another parade, the Gay Easter Parade, put on by the city's GLBT community. Being nowhere near as wild or extravagant as a Mardi Gras parade, but rather family-friendly, the Gay Easter Parade takes a leisurely route through the French Quarter, passing every gay bar and many gay-owned restaurants and retail shops. The paraders ride horse-drawn carriages or floats while wearing showy versions of their Easter Sunday finest. Don't be surprised if you see a gaggle of motorcycle dudes in leather and Easter bonnets riding by.

There is also an annual Easter Bonnet Contest at Good Friends Bar, a LGBT neighborhood bar at the corner of Dauphine and St. Ann streets in the French Quarter. Anyone can join in and some of the bonnet entries can get pretty outlandish. The crowd votes for the winners, and you can almost certainly expect to hear impromptu renditions of Irving Berlin's classic song for the occasion, "Easter Parade." For information call (504) 566-7191.

And, in South Louisiana seersucker season begins on Easter Sunday, not Memorial Day as in northerly climates. So pack your Haspel suit, your straw hats and bonnets, and come on down for the weekend.

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The Chris Owens Easter Parade in New Orleans
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Jackson Square during the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans

French Quarter Festival 2020
April 16 - April 19

This four day long festival, also known as French Quarter Fest, has been heralded as the best free music festival in the south., featuring New Orleans' legendary music on more than 20 stages dotted around the picturesque Vieux Carre and along the banks of the Mississippi River in Woldenberg Park.

B&W Courtyards Bed & Breakfast is ideally located for French Quarter Fest. We're just four blocks away from the nearest stages at the Old US Mint, and just a few blocks more to the French Market stages.

The producers have put together a stellar lineup of musicians. Thursday's headliners include the Ellis Marsalis Quintet, Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Friday's acts include Irma Thomas, known as the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Rickie Lee Jones making her French Quarter Fest debut, and the Dukes of Dixieland. Saturday brings Aurora Nealand and her Royal Roses, Bonerama, Deacon John and the Ivories, and Dana & Tom's friend Wendell Brunious. And Sunday closes out the French Quarter Festival with Astral Project, John Boutte, Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns, Rockin' Dopsie Jr, and the Washboard Chaz Trio. This may be the strongest FQF lineup in years.

And B&W Courtyards Bed & Breakfast has a great French Quarter Fest special offer - pay for five nights and get the sixth night free.  Just scroll down to the check availability button, click and choose your dates and enter the code FQF 2020 in the comments field.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 2020
April 23 - April 26 & April 30 - May 3 

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Jazz Fest for short, will be held over the last full weekend in April and the first weekend in May.  As last year, 2020 will have 4 days of music each weekend.

Headliners for the first weekend include the Beach Boys, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Costello, The Who, The Avett Brothers, Foo Fighter, Erykah Badu and Norah Jones.  The second weekend features The Black Crowes, Jimmy Cliff, Lionel Richie, the Wu-Tang Clan with the Soul Rebels Brass Band, Dead & Company, Lizzo, The Isley Brothers, Keb' Mo', Stevie Nicks, Trombone Shorty, John Prine and Kool & the Gang.
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Bayou Boogaloo
May 15th - May 17th 2020

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Performance stage at Bayou Boogaloo Festival in New Orleans

Photograph by Infrogmation of New Orleans - Creative Commons License

More than two dozen incredible bands and solo artists will be performing at this year's 15th Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo Festival on the weekend of May 15th-May 17th! It's a truly NOLA-style party with lots of live music, food, arts and handicrafts. The festival is hosted by MotherShip Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to encourage social change by improving the quality of life for Louisiana residents through the promotion of arts, culture, and recreation.

Located on the banks of Bayou St John the festival features three music stages plus a kiddies stage.  And since it's right beside the bayou, many people bring, kayaks, canoes, and rowboats to enjoy the music while floating on the water.  Some folks even build party rafts with canopies and seating.

The musical lineup hasn't been announced yet, but it's always heavily weighted towards local, New Orleans based acts.  Check back here for updates.

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