Don’t spread this around too much, but April might just be the best time to visit New Orleans. The city has recovered from its massive Mardi Gras hangover, crawfish season is in full, spicy swing, and the weather is just about as perfect as it gets, with average highs hovering in the mid-70s.
If that’s not incentive enough, April is a month jam-packed with music, food, parades, festivals… You know, all the stuff that makes New Orleans so New Orleans. Best of all? You don’t have to venture outside the French Quarter to enjoy the best the city has to offer, and many of these events don’t cost a dime.
Just bring a sense of joie de vivre and let the good times roll!
Hogs for the Cause – March 31 – April 1, 2023
Still going strong after 15 years, Hogs for the Cause is an annual fundraiser with plenty of BBQ, live music, and family-friendly fun. Held at the UNO Lakefront Arena, with plenty of room to accommodate the crowds.
Crescent City Classic – April 8, 2023
Yes, the Crescent City Classic is a 10k that attracts top athletes from around the world, but it’s so much more than a road race. Even if your idea of a workout is walking from Cafe du Monde to Pat O’Brien’s, you owe it to yourself to check out the race, festival, music and people who have made the Crescent City Classic a New Orleans institution for close to 40 years.
You can run, walk, dance, or push a stroller down all or part of its scenic route, which loops from the Superdome, through the Quarter and up Esplanade Avenue before ending in a party in City Park. Or you can sit on the sidelines, cheer on the participants and ask yourself how it’s possible for so many people to run while drinking and wearing a full bunny costume. Either way, traditionally held the day before Easter Sunday, the Crescent City Classic is a spectacle not to be missed.
Easter Sunday Parades – April 9, 2023
Easter is a time for celebration, chocolate bunnies and church services, but in New Orleans, it’s decidedly over the top. Wear your finest pastels, florals, seersucker, and hats (the bigger the better) and you’ll fit right in at the city’s three Easter parades.
They kick off at 9:45 a.m., when The Historic French Quarter Easter Parade rolls from Antoine’s Restaurant (713 St. Louis St.) to St. Louis Cathedral for 11 a.m. mass.
After that, things take a turn for the campy with the Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade, which celebrates the late Bourbon Street’s reigning queen. It rolls from Canal and Bourbon streets at 1 p.m.
Finally, the Gay Easter Parade closes down the celebrations at 5:30 p.m., with floats, throws and dancers galore. Celebrate good times, come on!
French Quarter Festival – April 13-16, 2023
It’s the largest free music festival in the South, when more than 1,700 musicians take over 23 stages scattered throughout the Vieux Carre and commence to rock out. There’s a preponderance of jazz, zydeco, New Orleans funk, brass bands… Pretty much every form of music native to Louisiana and the Delta gets a chance to shine in front of more than 760,000 attendees. Wear sunscreen and comfortable shoes, because you’ll be doing a lot of walking from stage to stage (not to mention dancing).
Crawfest – April 22, 2023
You probably guessed it right: It’s a festival that revolves around crawfish, but it also comes with music and other kinds of food. It’s an annual festival held on Tulane’s Uptown campus.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – April 28-May 7, 2023
If you’re coming to New Orleans during the last weekend in April, you probably already know about the granddaddy of all music festivals, Jazz Fest. From contemporary arena-filling rock stars and rap gods to pop princesses and living legends, the festival covers every musical base as it takes over the Fair Grounds Race Course (1751 Gentilly Blvd.). This year’s lineup is stellar, as it is every year.
And of course, there’s a hearty assortment of Louisiana acts at the stages. Don’t leave without feasting on food as well as music — crawfish bread, po-boys, muffulettas, boiled seafood, red beans and rice, and more are all for sale. Pro tip: Tent a bike to cruise right up to the gates — it’s an easy 3.4-mile ride — and wear rubber boots and a poncho if it rains. (You’ll thank us when the dirt race tracks turn to knee-deep mud.)
Wednesday at the Square – every Wednesday in April
This is the free spring concert series held on Lafayette Square from March through May in the CBD. Proceeds from food and beverage sales benefit the Young Leadership Council’s community projects. Check the event’s website for this year’s lineup.