Buy a box of sparklers and get the grill going. It's the Fourth of July, and New Orleans is celebrating in style. Check out these fun events and celebrate America's 245th birthday.
Cocktails and Crawfish Fest
The Cocktails and Crawfish Fest is the biggest outdoor party during the Essence Fest weekend extravaganza. On July 4, head to Culture Park for a complimentary open bar (while supplies last) and fantastic food. So dig into a big bucket of red, juicy crawfish and wash it down with an ice-cold beer or refreshing cocktail. Free drinks on a holiday weekend? Yes, please!
Madisonville Old Fashioned Fourth Of July
Less than an hour from downtown New Orleans, Madisonville is holding its own Old Fashioned Fourth of July. The day begins at 11:00 a.m. with a parade starting at the Maritime Museum and ending on the Madisonville riverfront, where a free fireworks display begins at dark. There's a horseshoe tournament at 1:00 p.m., and DJs spin from 2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Come hungry and participate in the watermelon eating contest at 2:30 p.m. Another silly event is the rooster crowing contest, where you can channel your inner Peter Pan. Fireworks begin at 8:30 p.m. and light up the dusky sky.
Mississippi paddle wheelers seem to be frozen in time. These nostalgic watercraft are fun ways to enjoy a lazy troll up the river and watch the world move. Book a Fourth of July ticket on the Creole Queen for a luxurious and patriotic evening. A buffet with classic American fare opens at the start of the cruise, and there will be an open bar with reception-style seating. Wander from room to room to listen to DJs spin or dance the night away to a live jazz band. The Dueling Barges fireworks show will start after dark. Boarding for the cruise is from 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Tickets are $129 for adults and $69 for children 6 to 12 years old.
Crescent City Tours
Get to know New Orleans on a Crescent City Tour. The New Orleans City and Katrina tour takes guests on a three-hour, air-conditioned trip through the city. The licensed guide transports guests through the history and culture of Creoles and the areas devastated by the floodwaters of Katrina. There's also an overview of the famous French Quarter, a trip to the St. Louis Cathedral and the French Market. Then, get out of the city on the Swamp Tour. Hop aboard a swamp boat to tour and discover the incredible range of plants and wildlife that call this habitat home.
Take to the water this Fourth of July on Steamboat Natchez. "Go Fourth on the River" gives guests a front-row seat to the community-sponsored Dueling Barges fireworks extravaganza. A picnic-style menu will be served as well as an open beer, wine and soda bar. There are two dinner seatings, one at 6:30 p.m. and another at 7:45 p.m. Local DJs will be playing your favorite tunes. The fireworks spectacle will begin at approximately 8:30 p.m. or when it gets dark.
Cochon Butcher takes its cue from old-world butchers and charcuterie shops. There are five full-time butchers on staff that make all of the cured meats, sausages and fresh cuts in-house. Two thousand pounds of meat are butchered, cured and smoked on-site every week. Cochon Butcher is the best place in New Orleans to get all of your barbecue and grilling necessities. They also sell a range of pickles and locally-made or foraged ingredients from nearby farms. If you're not willing to take the heat of the grill at home, the extensive menu of meaty sandwiches is a great option to bring home a feast.