Louisiana’s buoyant festivals enhance meetings

No trip to Louisiana is complete without sampling regional culinary favorite such together gumbo, jambalaya, po’boys and crawfish etouffee, and experiencing a bit of jazz, zydeco, Cajun and brass tape music. Every these offerings are accessible throughout the year, yet they are particularly prominent throughout the state’s many yearly festivals.

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“The festivals in Louisiana space a celebration event of heritage and also culture, and also we memory them mostly through our food and music,” claims Terrie Birkel, CDME, vice president of Visit Jefferson Parish, located surrounding to new Orleans. “In our celebrations, the whole civilization is invited to join in.”

Many planners species meetings throughout festivals so that they can be guarantee of an upbeat, stimulating environment and carry out attendees with ample opportunity to delve right into local culture. The Cajun expression “laissez les bons temps rouler” (let the an excellent times roll) is commonly shouted the end at Louisiana festivals.

The most well known city in the state is new Orleans, house to the country’s leading Mardi Gras festival. Yet many various other cities in Louisiana have actually their own distinctive Mardi Gras festivals and, along with new Orleans, lot of of various other celebrations.

“Each city has various kinds that festivals, and it’s necessary to our culture that we store celebrating these heritages that us hope will be carried on because that generations after ~ us, together they have actually been teach to united state for generations,” says Christy Lohmann, interactions specialist for Visit Baton Rouge. “We have numerous well-known festivals in our state the have end up being bucket-list items for visitors and locals, and also we love to check out that continue.”

Here’s a look at the major festivals in several of Louisiana’s most vibrant, colorful cities—New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and also Shreveport-Bossier.

New Orleans

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Mardi Gras parade float, brand-new Orleans

Simply put, the Crescent City is pure magic to meeting planners. Complimentary flowing, v an unmistakably unique history and culture—including fabulous food and also music—New orleans is a sure bet to entice maximum number of attendees.

“Over the previous 300 years, the city has actually been affected by European, Caribbean, African and many other cultures, developing the distinct melting pot—or gumbo—you check out today,” claims Stephen Hahn, an elderly vice chairman of convention and also sales strategy for new Orleans & Company, the city’s convention and also visitors bureau. “It is a city the inspires brand-new ideas, new partnership and also out-of-the-box thinking. New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, a hub of celebration and a rich entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

The city hosts an ext than 135 annual festivals, which no only define the society and storage its kindred spirit, but additionally substantially assistance the state’s economy.

Awesome Experiences

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the last day that the Carnival season, and falls on the day prior to Ash Wednesday, the very first day that Lent. Many visitors come no later on than the preceding Saturday to enjoy an extensive weekend the festivities. In new Orleans, however, Mardi Gras celebrations begin on Twelfth Night (the Epiphany), Jan. 6, which marks the end of the 12 job of Christmas, the conclusion that the holiday season.

“Beginning top top the Twelfth Night, the city is obsessed through eating, costuming, bead-tossing and parading that increase in intensity as Ash Wednesday nears,” Hahn says. “On the but on the weekend leading as much as Fat Tuesday, parades roll everywhere town. Once you’re not eating oysters and also king cake, you have the right to watch parades roll under St. Charles Avenue and also tag along with marching krewes as they wind their method into the French Quarter. Local krewes invest all year planning because that the job they ride v the roads of new Orleans.”

The spirit of Mardi Gras is embedded in the culture and way of life of new Orleans, and also is proficient throughout the year, however is particularly prominent throughout the Carnival Season, i m sorry is celebrated as a 5th season the the year.

Following Mardi Gras, French quarter Festival, organized for four days in April, features musicians from transparent Louisiana performing on much more than 20 stages, playing everything from classic and modern jazz come zydeco, R&B, new Orleans funk, brass band, folk, gospel, classical, cabaret and also international. Neighborhood restaurants offer food and beverages in Jackson Square, Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint, JAX Brewery and Old Woldenberg Riverfront Park.

Satchmo SummerFest, honoring louis Armstrong, also is organized in April. It’s a four-day festival featuring modern-day and traditional jazz, mainly from new Orleans. Restaurants provide outstanding local cuisine, including Armstrong-inspired dishes.

New olions Jazz & heritage Festival, aka Jazz Fest, is held during a 10-day large in April and May, and showcases live jazz and many various other genres that music connected with the city and state. It additionally features regional chefs and craft artisans from transparent the world. Part 400,000 world attend the festival, which is organized at same Grounds race Course.

New orleans Oyster Festival, a cost-free event the takes place June 2–3 every year in Woldenberg Park, celebrates the French Quarter’s unofficial title, Oyster funding of America, when educating attendees about the services of eating foods from the Louisiana Gulf and also raising funds because that Louisiana seaside restoration. Unique dishes and also flavors native various local restaurants are featured, together with live music, food preparation demonstrations, arts and also crafts, and also oyster-shucking and oyster-eating contests.

The biggest gay occasion in brand-new Orleans, southerly Decadence, is one around-the clock street party the takes place each job Day weekend, mostly in the French Quarter. Special parades, dances and plenty the F&B, it has increasingly attracted a much more diverse crowd, including civilization from the lesbian, bisexual, transgender and also straight communities.

Meeting Venues Buzz
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Grand room at Jung Hotel & Residences, brand-new Orleans

New Orleans’ hotels administer 22,000 downtown guest rooms. Among the newest properties, NOPSI Hotel new Orleans, opened up in July 2017 and also is housed in the previous headquarters of brand-new Orleans’ power and also transportation company. It functions 217 guest rooms and 14,000 sq. Ft. Of meeting space. Jung Hotel & Residences, housed in a renovated, historic 1850s structure, debuted in January 2018. It offers 207 spacious guest rooms and more than 21,000 sq. Ft. Of meeting space, including 15 rooms and also a 12,000-square-foot exhibition hall.

InterContinental new Orleans provides 484 recently renovated, elegant guest rooms, first-class amenities, number of food and beverage selections and also 30,000 sq. Ft. Of meeting space,. The hotel provides easy access to new Orleans Morial Convention center (MCCNO).

Newly renovated MCCNO is the sixth-largest convention center in the united States. It includes 1.1 million sq. Ft. That contiguous exhibit an are and is one of the many technologically progressed facilities in the country. One of the newest additions is a 225-foot-long rooftop herb and also vegetable garden, i m sorry will prosper seasonal plants that will be supplied by Centerplate chefs, MCCNO’s food and also beverage partner.

Scheduled to open up in 2020, four Seasons Hotel and also Private Residences new Orleans will certainly be positioned in the historic, 33-story human being Trade Center structure in the central Business District. That will include 336 guest rooms and 28,000 sq. Ft. Of meeting space.

Baton Rouge

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Lawn Mower Krewe in ~ Mardi Gras, Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge sits on the Mississippi River, 81 mile northwest of new Orleans and also 59 miles eastern of Lafayette. It’s the capital of Louisiana and home come Louisiana State University, which gives it a college-town vibe. The city also features soft weather, a good mix that Creole and Cajun cultures in everything from that is food come its music—and plenty of festivals.

First-time visitors space often perplexed by the countless uses the the term “red stick” in the city.

“Baton Rouge converts to Red stick in English,” says Lohmann the Visit Baton Rouge. “It’s a nickname you’ll frequently hear when referring to our city. Countless businesses usage ‘Red Stick’ in their name.”

Awesome Experiences

Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge kicks off with timeless floats, fancy balls and also other entertainment. The yearly parades include everything from beautifully designed floats to marching bands, costumed canines and lawn mower-pushing krewes. Parades start with Mystic Krewe that Mutts Mardi Gras Parade in mid-February and also run with Krewe the Spanish city Parade in early on March.

“We have actually some nighttime parades with new Orleans-style floats and our own take top top Mardi Gras, together you will watch at the Spanish city Parade, which functions the shade pink, politics satire and tons the flamingoes,” Lohmann says. “The Southdowns Parade is a smaller float parade through one of Baton Rouge’s most famous neighborhoods, where you’ll check out a lawn-mower brigade, dancing groups and also more.”

Baton Rouge Blues Festival, which started in 1981, is one of the earliest blues festivals in the united States. Organized on the southerly University campus in April, the honors the legend the home-grown artists, such together Slim Harpo and also Rudy Richard. Visiting performers have had Buddy Guy and Bobby Blue Bland. A variety of food and also art vendors also participate.

The hugely famous Louisiana publication Festival is a free, world-class literary celebration the features personal appearances by more than 100 influential writers, poets and also storytellers and also a variety of book-related activities, consisting of a creating workshop and also the writer Party. Food and also drinks are available at the festival, i beg your pardon is hosted at Capitol Park downtown.

Red pole Revelry on brand-new Year’s Eve begins with Red Stick rising at north Boulevard city Square. Groups can watch as a huge red stick ascends 60 feet over Town Square, whereby it stays until the brand-new year officially arrives. The main festivities begin at 9 p.m., as soon as six 3D lasers task over the audience if synchronized come live music. As midnight strikes, the light show is accompanied by the ceremonial dropping that the LED-lighted Red Stick and a fireworks screen over the Mississippi River.

Meeting Venues Buzz

Baton Rouge Marriott Hotel unveiled a $25 million renovation last spring that contained expanding and renovating the 299 guest rooms, remaking the lobby and also 6,050-square-foot ballroom, creating a modern-day restaurant space for Stinky’s Fishcamp (featuring oysters and wine) and updating technology. The 21-story hotel has actually 29,979 sq. Ft. Of conference space.

A new meeting space, The Estuary at The Water Campus, sit on the Mississippi River. It’s a world-class campus specialized to seaside research and sustainability, and houses scientists, researchers, and also public and also private businesses. It attributes 6,000 sq. Ft. Of meeting and event space, including a gallery through breathtaking views of the Mississippi River.

Lafayette

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The southern Louisiana black color Pot Festival & Cookoff, Lafayette

Located 135 mile northwest of new Orleans, Lafayette is in the heart of Cajun country, the birthplace that Cajun and also zydeco music.

“It’s complete of civilization with a good joie de vivre (joy the living) that love come laissez les bons temps rouler,” claims Ben Berthelot, president and also CEO the Lafayette Convention and also Visitors Commission. “It’s a place where every day, girlfriend can acquire immersed in the means of the Cajun and also Creole people, and also the legacies that room still celebrated.”

Lafayette has earned high honors, including Happiest City in America (The wall surface Street Journal), Tastiest city of the southern (Southern Living) and also Best Food City in the United claims (Rand McNally and also USA Today).

Festivals administer a way for residents to memory all the is essential to them—food, music, friends, family and also having a an excellent time.

Awesome Experiences

Lafayette’s Mardi Gras celebration, which is held from the Friday prior to Easter come Fat Tuesday, is the second-largest in the state. Live music operation at numerous of the run halls transparent the festivities. Teams can arrange because that a VIP endure in which castle have access to watch the parades in comfort while enjoying food and also libations.

“And the most unique thing we sell for Mardi Gras is that just 30 minutes under the road, you deserve to be in ~ Courir De Mardi Gras, which originates from the way Mardi Gras was commemorated in France in the countryside section, together opposed come the city carnival,” Berthelot says. “It’s a one-of-a-kind experience.”

The largest cost-free outdoor Francophone festival in the country, Festival worldwide de Louisiane celebrate the connections in between Acadiana and the Francophone world. Thousands of performing and also visual artists from 15 countries, along with local artists, converge on seven stages throughout downtown Lafayette for five days of civilization music in April.

No, Scott Boudin Festival isn’t called after a male named Scott Boudin. The a solemn event of boudin—a mix of rice, a special blend of seasonings and, traditionally, pork (although shrimp, crawfish or even alligator deserve to be substituted), and also all wrapped in a sausage casing. And also the event is held on the municipal grounds in Scott, the 4th largest municipality in Lafayette Parish.

The festival celebrate the heart of Scott’s well-off Cajun heritage. Boudin is a distinctive Cajun specialty, and its recipe has been passed down from one generation come the next. The three-day April fete also features other foods, arts and crafts, and music.

Also in April, Acadiana Po-Boy Festival, held at Parc san Souci in downtown Lafayette, celebrates the legacy of the humble po’boy sandwich, and promotes the society and hospitality the Acadiana. The festival features unique arts and also crafts, live entertainment, Po-Boy eating Contest and also Best of the Fest Po-Boy competition.

Festival Acadiens et Creoles, the world’s largest totally free Cajun and also zydeco festival, takes place over a four-day duration in October at Girard Park. That offers perfect opportunity for groups to find the food, music and society that do Lafayette so unique. For much more than 40 years, the festival has featured nonstop music, dancing, food and also crafts.

The initial Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival, the world’s largest Zydeco and also LaLa music festival, celebrate the spicy society of Louisiana Creoles by highlighting, documenting preserving and enhancing their affluent heritage at Yambilee Festival Grounds in Opelousas, 20 mile north of Lafayette. World-renowned and new zydeco artists space featured in ~ the one-day, late-summer event, together with Creole foods, consisting of jambalaya, red beans and also rice, fried turkey wings, fried pig tails, boudin hog cracklins, seafood, sweet potato pies, pralines and also even alligator on a stick.

Held each year in late October, The south Louisiana black Pot Festival & Cookoff celebrates Cajun culture and food preparation with two days of great music, dancing, food and camping. The festival is a cooperative of southern Louisiana musicians, artists and Southern society enthusiasts, creating an unmatched gathering of southern Louisiana’s hottest root bands and also other bands from throughout the country. Cajun, zydeco, Creole, swing, hot jazz, blues, bluegrass, Americana, Irish and also old-time performers room featured, and also an old-fashioned black color pot cook-off, one accordion contest and also square dancing.

Meeting Venues Buzz

DoubleTree by Hilton Lafayette, set on the banks of the Vermilion River, recently underwent a significant renovation that had creation the a larger lobby and also updates come the whole property, which supplies 327 guest rooms and also 22,000 sq. Ft. Of meeting space, including 18 breakout rooms.

Townplace Suites by Marriott, v 74 guest rooms and also 400 sq. Ft. Of meeting space, is under construction, with no opening day set.

Shreveport-Bossier

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Red flow Revel arts Festival, Shreveport

Situated in the northwest corner of Louisiana, Shreveport-Bossier is one action-packed area that functions 24-hour gaming on six riverboats casinos, nightlife, riverfront entertainment and delectable neighborhood cuisine.

“Shreveport-Bossier, ‘Louisiana’s various other Side,’ is a mixture of spicy Cajun attitude and also wide-open Texas spirit: It’s whereby Creole meets cowboy,” says David Bradley, vice president of sales and also services because that Shreveport-Bossier Convention and also Tourist Bureau. “The best means to gain to understand us is to head to any of our remarkable festivals—from Mardi Gras and also jazz music come crawfish and gumbo, we love to celebrate it all.”

Awesome Experiences

Mardi Gras starts on the Twelfth Night and also extends till Fat Tuesday in the Shreveport-Bossier community, which features the biggest Mardi Gras parades in north Louisiana, with some 585,000 spectators attending the four largest parades. They are an ext family-friendly than those in numerous other cities and also include daytime parades. Krewe that Centaur Parade, Krewe the Gemini Parade and Krewe that Highland Parade are known as three of the peak 20 occasions in the region by Southeast travel Society.

The Shreveport-Bossier Convention and also Tourist Bureau master the annual Red river Mardi Gras Bash throughout Krewe the Centaur Parade in downtown Shreveport. Teams of 10 or more are offered VIP treatment and also behind-the-scenes access. Following the parade, groups regularly enjoy adjacent nightlife and casino gaming.

During battle of the Gumbo Gladiators, organized in March at Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport, culinary teams of Gumbo Gladiators fight for the title of ultimate Gumbo Gladiator. Gumbo categories encompass seafood, lagniappe and chicken, and sausage.

The following month, Festival Plaza is residence to Ark-La-Tex Ambassadors BBQ Cook-Off, i beg your pardon attracts top barbecue groups from throughout the South. Barbecue lovers have the right to sample ribs, brisket, sausage and more while enjoying live music and a organize of exciting activities.

Also in May, arguably the premier crawfish festival in the South, Mudbug madness Festival, takes place at Festival Plaza. It attributes Creole and Cajun cuisine, nonstop Cajun and zydeco music, activities and food. South-east Tourism culture named the festival among the region’s peak 20 Events.

Red flow Balloon Rally, available in July in ~ Louisiana State college Shreveport, attributes tethered, hot-air balloon rides and also a neighborhood culinary favorites, craft vendors, live music and fireworks to lid off the evening.

The ever-popular Red river Revel arts Festival takes over Festival Plaza for nine days every October. Food, live music, activities and visual and performing arts experience from top neighborhood and local artists room offered.

Meeting Venues Buzz

Remington Suites Hotel and also Spa, Shreveport-Bossier’s premier boutique hotel, unveiled a new renovation come its fourth-floor suites critical fall. The floor now attributes four suites that have the option of using adjoining rooms. Every suite as accessibility to a typical area with an expansive media/game room and a commercial kitchen. The whole floor deserve to be rented, and is appropriate for groups.

The 22-room hotel also boasts a rooftop venue an are that deserve to host dinners and also events, and connects come a ballroom featuring elegant chandeliers, a full-service bar, exposed brick walls and a grand see of downtown Shreveport. Remington provides 15,000 sq. Ft. Of event space.

A Parish full of Life

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Gretna legacy Festival

Situated simply west of new Orleans, vivid Jefferson Parish is Louisiana’s most populous parish, with around 440,000 residents. That features good diversity in both that people and also landscape. It important is une paroisse pleine de eie (a parish full of life).

“The human being of Jefferson Parish are Louisianans, yes, yet sprinkle our great region of the state through French, Creole, Hispanic, Asian, Italian, German and also Middle eastern culture,” states Terrie Birkel the Visit Jefferson Parish. “These societies come together seamlessly, producing experiences in legacies of family, faith as well as cuisine. The see is equally diverse, native the city cityscape—which includes Louis Armstrong global Airport , two convention centers, service districts, restaurants, shopping and shipping industries—to the lush marshlands, swamps and bayous, plentiful wildlife and seafood.”

Jefferson Parish celebrates its culture through that is food and also music, both the which room abundantly featured in that is festivals. Mardi Gras, i beg your pardon lasts from so late February to Fat Tuesday, is right for teams wanting to experience the classic parades of new Orleans, because the krewes and also riders design much of their pageantry after ~ them. The parades take ar in several parish locations.

“The parades room attended by families and also children, and also feature interaction amongst neighbors and families—you will certainly not endure the crowds and infamous revelry of the French Quarter,” Birkel says.

Visit Jefferson Parish to produce a significant event, household Gras, i beg your pardon takes place during the very first weekend the Mardi Gras at Clearview facility in Metairie. Special food, music, art and carnival parades, this totally free event offers a an excellent opportunity come celebrate Mardi Gras in the parish.

Gretna legacy Festival, hosted the last weekend the September, honors the parish’s German and also Italian heritage through national and also local musical acts, food, crafts, the German Beer Garden and the Italian Village. The takes location in the heart of Gretna, a historical district that encompasses 25 city blocks.

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St. Clement of Rome Oyster Festival is a three-day, October event in Metairie that functions live regional bands each day and also evening, along with rides, games, rides, beer and food, including oysters, oysters and an ext oysters!

In 1973, Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards proclaimed the parish’s bridge City the Gumbo funding of the World, inspiring the yearly Bridge City Gumbo Festival. As well as arguably the ideal gumbo in the world, teams can enjoy jambalaya, brand-new Orleans format red beans and rice v sausage and also plenty of various other foods. The three-day festival provides consistent live entertainment, including Cajun, country, zydeco, jazz, blues and rock ’n‘ roll music. Carnival rides and also games, as well as arts and crafts booths, are likewise featured.