Food and music are a winning combination, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival serves up heaping portions of both at its spring celebration spanning two action-packed weekends in late April and early May.
Twelve big stages and five performance tents offer an eclectic selection of jazz, blues, gospel, funk, Cajun, zydeco, bluegrass, and much, much more. Decision-making is the toughest act of the day, as you may be forced to choose among artists such as B. B. King, the Herbie Hancock Quartet, the Zydeco Twisters, and dozens of others, all performing at the same time in a variety of different venues.
Food choices are even more mind-boggling: Muffulettas or po' boys? Crawfish Monica or the pheasant-quail-andouille gumbo? Pecan pralines, peach cobbler, or a New Orleans sno-ball? The tantalizing entrees, snacks, and desserts are influenced by local flavor and showcase New Orleans cuisine and Southern cooking at their best.
Kids enjoy touring the festival's many marketplaces and villages. The Louisiana Marketplace is a showcase for the state's finest artists; in the Louisiana Folklife Tent you'll see crafters creating miniature Mardi Gras floats out of papier mache.
Families like to hang out at least part of the day at the Kids Tent and the Cultural Village, which has crafts, projects, and a huge mural for youngsters to paint. Nonstop performances for children are offered here, too, such as storytellers, kids' drum corps, funny jazzy jug bands, singers and dancers from around the world, and costumed Mardi Gras krewes.