POSTED Wed. Oct 14, 2015
Blues, Barbeque and Winning Returns to Lafayette Square

Does anything go together better than listening to blues guitar riffs while eating a rack of ribs? The answer is no. And that’s why the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival is a can’t miss event on the crowded New Orleans fall calendar. Few free festivals can match its mix of musical and culinary talent, and its downtown Lafayette Square location is close to the French Quarter without being overwhelmed by tourists.

The festival, now in its tenth year, is produced and presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.. This year features its most musically diverse lineup yet, with acts from Texas to the Delta, all the way up the Mississippi River to Chicago. And of course, there’s a wide range of food vendors dishing out pulled pork sandwiches, jalapeno mac n cheese, vegetarian/vegan options, and tons more.

Like French Quarter Festival, the Crescent City Blues & BBQ fest celebrates local icons — musicians like Walter Wolfman Washington, or Little Freddie King — while also booking acts from around the U.S., such as Chicago bluesman Lurrie Bell. Having just two stages in relatively compact Lafayette Square makes for an intimate musical setting. Various arts and craft tents also dot the festival grounds, while barbecue vendors line adjacent N. Maestri St. Plus, WWOZ live-streams the event online and on the air in case you ever have to step away.

The Jazz and Heritage foundation also organizes an Oral History Stage in Gallier Hall, across St. Charles Avenue from Lafayette Square. Here, music journalists interview blues icons like Mason Ruffler and Brint Anderson about their influences and experiences in the music industry. The interviews are as informative as they are hilarious — all of these artists know how to put on a show.

As far as barbecue, well, you have your pick of the city’s finest. Some of my favorites:

-Brisket Quesadilla from Saucy’s.
-Shrimp Etoufee from Praline Connection.
-Smoked Wings from Blue Oak BBQ.
-Pulled-Pork Sliders from The Joint.

And here’s a quick guide to some notable musical acts:

Saturday, October 17th
2:15pm – Little Freddie King (St. Charles Ave Stage)
75-year old Delta blues survivor and member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

3:15pm – Lurrie Bell (Camp Street Stage)
Chicago blues prodigy with an embattled, up and down career, finally getting the recognition he deserves. He won a Blues Music Award for his track “Blues In My Soul.”

7:00pm – Ride Your Pony Down to New Orleans – Home of the Blues starring The Funky Meters, plus special guests Allen Toussaint and Irma Thomas (St. Charles Ave Stage)
A collection of long-standing New Orleans stars. Hands down, the can’t miss performance of the festival.

Special Event/Official After Party 8:00pm – Drive-By Truckers @ The Joy Theater. If you haven’t gotten your fill at Lafayette Square, check out these longtime rockers out of Athens, Georgia.

Sunday, October 18th
4:30pm – Excello Records Reunion, Featuring Lazy Lester, Carol Fran, Classie Ballou, and Lil Buck Sinegal (St. Charles Ave Stage)
Collection of musicians featured on the influential Nashville blues record label, Excello.

5:45pm – Denise LaSalle (Camp Street Stage)
Blues and R&B star from Mississippi, known for her 70’s hit “Trapped By A Thing Called Love.”

For more information about The Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival, check out their website..

Image: last year’s poster for the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival, via Facebook.


    Our Local Publisher Partners

    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
    • WWNO
    • WWOZ
    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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