This weekend is a big one, what with our nation’s birthday kicking things off and all, bringing most of us an extra day or two off of work. New Orleans has one of the best fireworks shows in the whole country, so starting your holiday weekend off with a bang is going to be easy as pie (perhaps an all-American apple pie for the Fourth?). Then through Sunday we’ve got one of the biggest music festivals of the summer, Essence Fest, an extreme live art exhibit, a chance to honor New Orleans history, and a performance by a great up-and-coming band at one of New Orleans’ hottest new additions to Freret Street.
Thursday, July 4
1. Go 4th on the River – One of the biggest questions we as Americans ask ourselves leading up to the Fourth of July is: where am I going to catch some killer fireworks? Well here in New Orleans, we don’t mess around with things like this and we answer that burning question with Go 4th on the River. Choreographed to a patriotic score, this annual fireworks celebration takes place on dueling barges on the grand Mississippi River right by the French Quarter, and it’s also one of the “Top Five Must-See Fireworks Displays in the U.S.” according to the American Pyrotechnics Association… not to brag or anything.
2. Essence Fest – One of the biggest New Orleans festivals all summer is this weekend: Essence Festival. Get ready for four days of music from some of the country’s hottest artists, including this year’s headliner, Beyoncé. You’ll also be able to catch artists like Maxwell, Jill Scott, Solange, and Trey Songz, among a ton of other great acts. There will, of course, be plenty of New Orleans food, and a host of speakers and workshops as part of the festival’s “Empowerment Experience.”
3. Anthropomorphizer Opening Weekend – This weekend, puppeteer and artist Miss Pussycat will begin three months of “anthropomorphizing” colorful fabric and art supplies into 100 new puppets. This New Orleans artist has been making puppets and performing in New Orleans for years. She will conduct her gallery puppet project Anthropomorphizer in the Corner Gallery of the Contemporary Arts Center, and her daily work will be visible to passersby through a giant corner window at St. Joseph and Camp Streets, so if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and see the magic happen!
Friday, July 5
4. Brass Bed at Gasa Gasa – Lafayette’s indie rock/pop band Brass Bed is here in New Orleans this weekend performing some of their latest hits from their album “The Secret Will Keep You.” Brass Bed has been together performing, recording, and touring for just about a decade now. Gaining a wider audience and national attention recently, it’s fitting that this breakout band will perform at a hot new Freret Street venue like Gasa Gasa.
Saturday, July 6
5. Maafa – New Orleans history is strong and diverse, and we know it is important to acknowledge and honor the people and events, good and bad, that came before us. This year the Ashe Cultural Arts Center is hosting the 13th annual Maafa Commemoration in Congo Square (Louis Armstrong Park). This very moving New Orleans event that honors the indigenous people of Louisiana starts with a performance by The Spirit of Fi Yi Yi Mardi Gras Indians and N’Fungola Sibo Traditional African Dance, followed by a procession of drumming, dancing, and singing through town, and ending aboard the Canal Street Ferry to honor those ancestors whose lives were lost in acts of violence.