Letting the Good Times Roll
A Taste of Paradise
North & Central Louisiana
Hosting one of Louisiana’s signature crawfish events, as well as festivals honoring the area’s heritage, north and central Louisiana have a full slate for the whole family. Mudbug Madness takes over Shreveport from May 24–27, and with it comes tons of crawfish, dozens of local bands, as well as competitive crawfish eating contests. Nearby Ruston might be known for its peaches, but the city’s recently renovated Railroad Park hosts musical acts and local artisans at The Railroad Festival (April 7). Other festivals, like the Zwolle Loggers and Forestry Festival (May 11–12), celebrate the importance of that industry to the Toledo Bend Lake Country area with great Louisiana music, arts, crafts and, of course, Zwolle’s famous tamales.
Baton Rouge & Plantation Country
Throughout the spring, Louisiana’s capital region holds its own when it comes to music. The Baton Rouge Blues Festival (April 14–15) honors the city’s traditional swamp blues musicians who received international acclaim in the early 1950s and inspired the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and more. And for three days of family fun, don’t miss the annual Kite Fest Louisiane (April 6–8). Kites of all shapes and sizes will soar, dive and dance through the air above Port Allen in West Baton Rouge Parish to a crowd of more than 10,000. The colorful festival will also feature kids’ kite designing, stunt shows and lots of Louisiana cuisine.
Big Fun on the Bayou
Crawfish season may be reaching its peak in the farms and bayous of Cajun Country, but springtime in Louisiana also boasts some of the hottest music and history festivals in the region. In cozy downtown Lafayette, Frenchspeaking artists and artisans from around the world come together at the free Festival International de Louisiane for five days of music, food and dancing (April 25–29). And in Lake Charles, a Frenchman of a different stripe is fêted—the notorious pirate Jean Lafitte. The Louisiana Pirate Festival (May 3–13) explores the Bayou State’s swashbuckling pirate history, as well as Louisiana’s storied folklore and natural beauty.
Turn Up The Volume
Greater New Orleans
The Crescent City is hot on music yearround, but in April and May, it goes into overdrive. Starting with French Quarter Fest (April 12–15), spring in New Orleans is jam-packed with some of the best live music in the country. French Quarter Fest brings over 700,000 people to New Orleans for local music across 23 stages scattered throughout the city’s oldest neighborhood—all free for visitors. A few weeks later, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (April 27–May 6) takes over the New Orleans Fair Grounds Race Course to showcase Louisiana’s culture, cuisine and music with 12 stages of top-tier acts from around the world. The newest addition to the Crescent City’s music lineup is the Bayou Country Superfest (May 26–28). The country music festival made the move to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome last year and continues to be a boot-stomping good time.
We Got The Beat
Louisiana’s Musical Heritage
BLUES — Soulful tunes influenced by jazz and Caribbean culture
BRASS BAND — Big bold brass sounds, often at New Orleans’ second lines
CAJUN — Dance music from the Acadians, often sung in French
JAZZ — New Orleans’ most famous export
SWAMP POP — Classic rock ’n’ roll with a Cajun accent
ZYDECO — Upbeat with accordions, fiddles and washboards