Carnival season has started, and New Orleanians are gearing up for a great Mardi Gras in 2010. During the annual Mardi Gras this year there will be 60 parades, 115 balls - featuring over 1,200 floats and 600 bands! Participating in all this fun will be close to a million attendees when it's all over. (Recent years have been estimated at between 700,000 and 1 million.) This year, Mardi Gras Day is February 16.
French Quarter Wine Festival
This year will be the fourth annual French Quarter Wine Festival. Modeled after the prestigious Boston Wine Festival, the dinners (hosted by either the winemaker or proprietor) will showcase wines from the U.S. and Europe. This is the New Orleans wine festival, so if you love wine (or want to experience a wide range of fine wines!) this is an event you don't want to miss. The French Quarter Fine Festival starts on February 26 this year.
St. Patrick's Day
It might not be as notable as our other big "parade day", but the week of St. Patrick's Day in New Orleans is celebrated with just as much fervor. Some of the highlights include the Irish Channel Parade (on Saturday, March 13th) and of course the annual Metairie Road St. Patrick's Day parade (on Sunday March 14th). Another tradition is Parisol's St. Patty's Day Party (on St. Patrick's Day) and the Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade (held this year on Sunday March 21).
French Quarter Festival
New Orleans loves music - we're known for great blues, and as the birthplace of jazz. If you also love great music, you'll want to attend the annual French Quarter Festival which is held this year on April 9th through the 11th. It's free, and features all the things that make a great festival: music, food, dancing, and beer!
One of the biggest and best music festivals in the country, the New Orleans JazzFest has only gotten better each year since it's inception in 1970. The thirtieth year since it began will be this year, 2010, and the festival begins on April 23rd. This year will feature an amazing line-up of artists, including Pearl Jam, Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, the Allman Brothers Band and more!