|Memorial Day Weekend is Here! Celebrate in NOLA
Memorial Day in New Orleans allows visitors and locals to honor fallen military members: the country’s National World War II Museum is located in New Orleans. However, there are plenty of other ways to commemorate the long weekend, whether you choose to attend a cultural festival or sample rare wines from around the world. As a French Quarter hotel, Bienville House is close to it all. Plan to walk to almost all of these Memorial Day events as you enjoy the beautiful architecture and scenery of the neighborhood. Enjoy!
We recently wrote about NOWFE, the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience that’s happening over Memorial Day Weekend. NOWFE participants will get to try incredible wine and food from rare vineyards and popular restaurants all over the city. Our sister property, Hotel Monteleone, is even part of the event: their restaurant, Criollo, will be serving dishes at NOWFE.
Visit the National World War II Museum
The National World War II Museum will hold festivities honoring Memorial Day all weekend. The museum itself will showcase materials related to Memorial Day and fallen soldiers, and it will also host special performances like a 1940s-themed dance performance and live music from the U.S. Marine Corps Band. You’ll also have plenty of other opportunities to hear the band (more info below).
Listen to a Marine Corps Band
The New Orleans Marine Corps Band will play all over the city during Memorial Day Weekend. The National World War II Museum hosts the band on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday; you can also hear them at 7 p.m. at St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter.
Get to the Greek
The 42nd annual New Orleans Greek Festival happens in Bayou St. John in Mid-City this weekend, featuring Greek food, entertainment, and culture. The festival isn’t within walking distance from Bienville House, so we suggest taking the Canal Streetcar toward City Park for a scenic trip. Ask our concierge for comprehensive directions; they also will be happy to schedule a cab for you!
NOWFE: What to Do at New Orleans Wine and Food Experience
The annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE) draws in gourmands from all over the globe craving a glimpse (and a taste) of authentic New Orleans flavors. Our hotel’s French Quarter location makes it the perfect destination during NOWFE: head to special NOWFE events on foot, or even plan a beverage break at our on-site restaurant Latitude 29, home to authentic tiki-style cocktails from legendary bartender Jeff Berry. Take a look below at some of the standout events at NOWFE!
Royal Street Stroll
We’re personally partial to tiki drinks, but we’d never pass up the chance to sample rare wines from around the world. NOWFE’s Vinola! event features a huge variety of wines, and the winemakers themselves will present many of the selections. Vineyards like Antica Napa Valley, Selby Winery, Pernod Ricard, Espirit du Vin Fine Wine, and more will all have a presence at the event.
The Big Gateaux Show
Pastry competition meets burlesque performance art in New Orleans. The Big Gateaux Show combines two unlikely activities on Friday evening: the event typically sells out, so plan to purchase advance tickets!Family-Friendly Activities in the French Quarter
Summer vacations are a tradition for many families, and our French Quarter hotel is a great choice. Bienville House boasts close proximity to lots of family-friendly activities. Take a look at some of our favorites!
Watch a Summer Blockbuster or Nature Film
Two theaters within short walking distance of one another are a great option for hot or rainy NOLA summer days. The Theaters at Canal Place meet the demands of kids and adults with sumptuous seats and full-service dining. Kids can munch on popcorn studded with peanuts, bacon, and chocolate while adults can choose from a wide selection of small plates, flatbreads, and a full list of wine/beer and cocktails. If you’d like to treat your kids to an educational movie, the Entergy IMAX Theater is an excellent option. Operated by the Audubon Institute’s Aquarium of the Americas, the theater shows 3-D films about great white sharks, humpback whales, and other animal life.
The #frenchquarter is always family friendly. Here's what to do with the kiddos in #nola Click To Tweet
Admire Beautiful Butterflies
Open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., the Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium on Canal Street lets children learn about butterflies and other insect life in a fun way. The insectarium features a variety of butterfly species in an open environment (they might even land on you) plus educational activities. CNN voted the insectarium “a top museum for you and your kids” – we second that!
Shop for Back-to-School Duds
Get your back-to-school shopping finished early at the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk. Name-brand clothes at a fraction of the price are available at several outlet versions of popular stores like Neiman Marcus, Gap, Coach, Gymboree, and more. Worried your kids won’t agree? Order them some beignets (there’s a Café du Monde inside) and watch riverboats cruise down the Mississippi – the mall boasts a fantastic view of the river.
Learn About Sea Life at the Aquarium
The Mississippi River isn’t the only home to sea life in New Orleans. The Aquarium of the Americas, part of the Audubon Institute, is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and gives kids an up-close look at aquatic animal life. One of the most memorable facets of the aquarium is its stingray touch pool and feeding sessions – learn more about these fascinating creatures as you touch and feed them.Don’t Stop the Music! Jazz Fest Continues
Though it ends on Sunday, the second weekend of Jazz Fest is a can’t-miss event that celebrates the history and heritage of jazz in New Orleans. We’ve outlined some of our favorite acts this weekend, plus what to do after Jazz Fest is over each evening (hint: it involves even more music). Happy festing!
Elton John takes the stage at Jazz Fest for the first time ever this year. Securing him to perform has been a mission over the years according to Jazz Fest founders, so Saturday is a particularly special day representing years of hard work.
This legendary performer, whose career has spanned five decades, takes the Acura Stage at 4:50 p.m. for one of the Fest’s longest sets: it lasts until 7 p.m. Our recommendation? Get to the Acura Stage early and stick around for another famous piano man, Jerry Lee Lewis, who starts his set at 3 p.m. Other standout acts on Saturday include:
After the fest is over Saturday night, head to Hotel Monteleone for their Jazzy Jam series in the elegant Carousel Bar & Lounge. It’s a fitting end to a full day of music.
The last day of Jazz Fest! Take the last day to soak in all you might have missed from smaller stages. For example, check out Cynthia Girtley at noon in the Gospel Tent and clap your hands to uplifting spirituals. Or, listen to “Cajungrass” (a Cajun/Bluegrass hybrid) at the Lagniappe Stage at 12:45. Still, there are plenty of big acts worth waiting for on Sunday.
At the bigger stages like the Acura Stage, Gentilly Stage, and Congo Square Stage, you’ll find the following:
The Hotel Monteleone also hosts their last night of Jazzy Jam on Sunday starting at 9:00 p.m. The Luther Kent Jazz Band will take the stage in the Carousel Bar all the way on through until midnight.Jazz Fest: A Full Day of Music, Food, and Fun
Jazz Fest is New Orleans’ biggest festival, and it’s finally here! Here’s how to make the most of the festival, before, during and after your Jazz Fest adventure.
Fuel up, folks. There are plenty of food vendors at Jazz Fest, but we recommend getting something to eat in the French Quarter before you travel to the festival grounds. If you’re going early, get your caffeine fix at Spitfire Coffee on South Saint Peters Street. They typically have a rotation of light pastries as well. For something heartier, head to Criollo in our sister property, Hotel Monteleone. From daily Benedicts to breakfast classics like pancakes and fresh orange juice, Criollo is an ideal destination for a little morning fuel.
Not heading to the fest until a little later? Our on-site restaurant Latitude 29 at noon on Saturdays and Sundays. Enjoy Polynesian-inspired dishes like a pork and ginger dumpling burger or luscious pineapple bread with a fanciful tiki cocktail.
Know your stages. Take a look at the complete Jazz Fest lineup, and plan out your must-see acts in advance. Sometimes, you’ll have to choose between two of your favorites if they’re playing on different stages at the same time… there are just too many acts to see at this massive festival!
Plan for a little downtime. Jazz Fest can be overwhelming if you don’t work in a bit of time to refuel. Choose refreshing vendor items like the famous Mango Freeze from New Orleans radio station WWOZ and remember to drink plenty of water. Seek out a misting tent to cool off for a few minutes… you’ll be ready to enjoy the music again after a quick rest.
By the time you’re ready to leave Jazz Fest, you’ll probably be craving air conditioning. Head back to our hotel and rinse off (or take a dip in our pool), but don’t lie down just yet! Walk just outside our doors and over to the Hotel Monteleone, our sister property, where you can enjoy their Jazzy Jam series inside their Carousel Bar & Lounge. You’ll hear incredible live jazz music in an intimate, elegant setting. A bar bites menu, craft cocktails, and thorough wine list are the perfect way to cap off a memorable day.
Jazz Fest: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is Almost Here
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, more commonly known as Jazz Fest, is arguably the biggest and best festival of the year in New Orleans. Seven full days of performances from world-renown performers like Elton John, Lady Gaga, Wilco, and The Who (to name just a few) treats Jazz Fest patrons to a lifetime’s worth of concerts in one single festival.
Although the festival isn’t as close to our hotel as, say, French Quarter Festival, it’s definitely one worth attending. You can take a scenic streetcar trip up Canal Street and over to City Park or have our concierge arrange a taxi. Plan to spend the full day at Jazz Fest and check out ample food vendors, crafts presentations, and, of course, music.
Every night after Jazz Fest, our sister property Hotel Monteleone is hosting their annual Jazzy Jam concert series. The music will go all night long in an elegant (and air-conditioned) atmosphere – the perfect way to relax after a full day at Jazz Fest!
Take a look at a few of the Jazz Fest headliners each day below.
Saturday, April 25
Treme Brass Band
Sunday, April 26
Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
Rebirth Brass Band
Thursday, April 30
Alison Krauss & Union Station
Friday, May 1
Saturday, May 2
Sunday, May 3
Trombone Shorty & Orleans AvenueGood Eats for French Quarter Festival: Come Hungry!
New Orleans festivals are often as much about the food as they are the music. Fortunately for your appetite, French Quarter Fest is no exception! We’ve had the pleasure of trying many of the foods available at French Quarter Fest (after all, our central location puts us just steps away from the best of the festival), and we’re more than happy to share our favorites with you.
Read on for the tastiest festival treats at this four-day festival! Craving a sit-down experience? Our on-site restaurant, Latitude 29, has creative menu and drink items in a fun and festive setting – the perfect way to cool off after a day at the festival.
Some of the city’s most iconic restaurants have a presence during French Quarter Fest. Head to Antoine’s for Oysters Bonne Femme and Shrimp Regua or try the Crawfish Louise from Court of Two Sisters. If a po-boy is more your speed, there are plenty of options available. Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse is offering a prime rib po-boy, and Bourbon House is serving up a barbecue shrimp version. Galatoire’s, another iconic New Orleans restaurant, is serving gluten-free Shrimp Remoulade in addition to a fried shrimp BLT po-boy. Check out the complete list of vendors here!
Whether you’re craving Pontchatoula strawberry shortcake (from GW Fins), white chocolate king cake bread pudding (from Haydel’s Bakery), or a cool, café au lait ice cream (from Quintin’s Ice Cream), practically any dessert you can think of is available at French Quarter Fest. You can also get snowballs – a New Orleans classic – from Plum St. Snoballs with your choice of boozy extras like tequila, whiskey, or several liqueurs.
Speaking of liqueurs, French Quarter Fest has beverage stands that serve a variety of drinks from daiquiris to refreshing, cold draft beef. Wine and cocktails are available, too – just remember to put a dollar or two in the tip jar! Proceeds from beverage stands go directly to French Quarter Festival musicians.
With our location in the heart of the French Quarter, any day of the year feels like a festival. Come join us and see for yourself!Celebrate French Quarter Festival in the Heart of it All
French Quarter Festival comes to the neighborhood starting Thursday, April 9 through Sunday, April 12, highlighting the culture, food, history, and people of New Orleans’ historic epicenter. This free festival features more than 1,700 local Louisiana musicians across 23 different stages peppered through the French Quarter and Woldenberg Park at the Mississippi riverfront.
As is so common with New Orleans, music is a huge component of the festival – but wherever there’s music, there’s food. French Quarter Fest has an impressive list of food vendors, offering up traditional New Orleans fare like barbecue shrimp, cochon de lait po-boys, and plenty of crawfish. The sounds and smells of this festival are simply intoxicating, and our location on Decatur Street puts us in the center of the action.
Here are a few ways to enjoy French Quarter Fest during your stay at Bienville House:
Think Beyond the Big Stages
The festival’s main stages, such as the Abita stage at Woldenberg Park and the Jackson Square stage in (of course) Jackson Square host legendary acts like Allen Toussaint, Ellis Marsalis, and Rebirth Brass Band. However, some of the best entertainment takes place in other places. For example, the French Market hosts swing-dancing lessons and live hot jazz music, and the Old U.S. Mint features two stages full of diverse programming. Another highlight is the Cajun/Zydeco Showcase stage, giving spectators a chance to observe traditional Louisiana heritage.
Buy a Drink, Leave a Tip
In addition to food, French Quarter Fest offers beverages like wine, cocktails, and daiquiris. You’ll also find a tip jar at every beverage stand. Proceeds from the tip jars are split amongst the festival’s musicians, so leave a little lagniappe to thank them for the music.
A Festival Outside Your Front Door
We’re located in the middle of the French Quarter, so there’s no need to make additional travel plans to get to French Quarter Fest. Simply walk out the door! We’re located on Decatur Street, which offers a direct route to Jackson Square. If you need directions to a particular stage, our concierge will be more than happy to help!
Spring festival season is a great time to enjoy the French Quarter, but every day is a celebration when you’re staying in the middle of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood. Book now for an unforgettable trip any time of the year.
Easter in New Orleans: Celebrate in the French Quarter
New Orleans is a city full of rich Catholic history, which means that Easter is an especially popular holiday. Take a look at ways to enjoy Easter in New Orleans, with a special emphasis on the French Quarter (it’s the neighborhood where our hotel, Bienville House, resides!).
Experience Mass at St. Louis Cathedral
Located in Jackson Square, just a short walk from our hotel, St. Louis Cathedral is one of the most iconic buildings in the city. The historic cathedral still offers daily mass, including an Easter Mass of the Risen Christ that takes place at 9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. (review the complete mass schedule here). Afterward, head to Café Du Monde for fresh beignets and café au lait – be sure to have cash with you as this famous beignet shop does not accept credit cards.
Hunt for Eggs in City Park
Although it’s not in the French Quarter, City Park is a great destination for Easter. In addition to springtime flora and fauna, the park also hosts an annual Easter egg hunt for children ages 8 and younger. Park employees hide more than 15,000 eggs within City Park, giving kids a chance for an epic Easter egg hunt. Tickets are required ($4 each) and include a special carton that carries 12 eggs. The Easter egg hunt takes place this Saturday, March 28, at 10 a.m. (get there early – gates open at 9 a.m.).
Taste Rabbit at Kingfish
Don’t let the name fool you – Kingfish isn’t just a seafood restaurant. Located at the corner of Charles and Conti Streets, this eatery serves up smoked rabbit gumbo that encapsulates traditional Creole flavors. Served with brown basmati “dirty rice,” the dish is comforting and luxurious.
Eat Brunch at Criollo
In addition to a daily eggs benedict menu and morning cocktails, our sister hotel’s restaurant, Criollo, also offers a special Easter brunch. Guests can choose from several gourmet appetizers, mains, and dessert to create an unforgettable Easter memory.Our Favorite Spring Menu Items at Latitude 29
Spring is officially here, and with it a chance to fill up on the light, refreshing flavors that reflect the season. Our sister hotel recently shared their favorite spring cocktails to make at home, but if you’re questioning your bartender skills, Latitude 29 has you covered.
With famed bartender Jeff “Beachbum” Berry at the helm (literally – the host stand is a ship’s bow!), Latitude 29 serves wonderfully exotic tiki cocktails and pan-Asian cuisine. Learn more about a few of our favorite spring dishes from Latitude 29 below. Whether you enjoy them at happy hour or dinnertime, these menu items don’t skimp on fresh, imaginative flavors.
Bamboo and Micro Green Salad – Bamboo shoots lend hearty texture to delicate micro greens. A Polynesian-inspired sauce creates a sweet, umami flavor.
Vegetable Poke – Typically made with tuna, this poke salad relies on strictly vegetables for a result that is just as flavorful. Pistachio puree, fresh corn, sweet peppers, and baby greens come together beautifully in this vegetarian dish.
Shortall’s Pineapple Bread – Pineapple and coconut to create a moist, dense bread pudding loaded with tropical flavors.
Latitude 29 – The restaurant’s namesake rum cocktail is our drink of choice for spring. Passion fruit puree, house-made Madagascar vanilla syrup, orange, pineapple and lemon all play together in this fruity, refreshing mix.
Missionary’s Downfall – Choose light rum or vodka to pair with flavors like honey, lime, and peach brandy in this vintage recipe from 1948. Mint and diced pineapple add color and texture – and flavor!
Espresso Bongo – Coffee is a must-have any time of year, but blended with citrus flavors like orange and lime plus passion fruit, pineapple, and rum, this drink is anything but a regular cup of Joe.
Latitude 29 is open daily until 11 p.m. – it’s located just through the lobby of our hotel!