POSTED Mon. Dec 14, 2015


An Evening with the Acro-Cats
Written by CATE ROOT

New Orleans has its own set of holiday traditions, from reveillon dinners to visiting the Roosevelt lobby’s cornucopia of light. One annual tradition, the Amazing Acro-Cats Meowy Catmas Show, celebrates whimsy, charity, and cats just being cats.

Samantha Martin, the cat wrangler and emcee, has been making New Orleans the home of the cat circus’ holiday engagement for several years. Martin and the Acro-Cats tour the country with their show, which features furry felines tightroping across the stage, jumping through hoops, and even playing instruments.

The inspiration for the show was Martin’s cat, Tuna (now known as the leader of Tuna and the Rock Cats). Martin rescued Tuna’s mother, who was pregnant and abandoned, in 2002. She found homes for the other kittens in the litter, but she kept Tuna’s mother and Tuna, who “showed such uniqueness and promise, and just enthusiasm when it came to training… People were so amazed every time I took her somewhere. She was the inspiration behind the show.”

The Acro-Cats’ first shows were in 2006, and Martin learned on her feet how to build a show around notoriously fickle felines. Martin would perform in art galleries, bringing props and between 6-8 cat performers with her.

An early lesson was, “It didn’t matter if the cats did the tricks or didn’t do the tricks.” Cat lovers come to see the spectacle, and an uncooperative cat is easily folded into the show.

Cat personality is a huge part of the show. Featured performers are introduced by name and superlative, like “Annie, the Helper,” “Jax, the Troublemaker,” “Nola, the Princess,” or “Tuna, the

As emcee, Martin introduces the audience to the cats and provides color commentary about the tricks they are or are not performing. She learned her role on the fly.

“Cats come out, stretch, groom, and I come up with stuff to say to buy time for them to get it together… I’m just having fun with my cats. This is what I’m doing at home. Showing what my day is like in a house full of cats, interacting with them and spending time with them.”

The cats were featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last month. Most of the felines seemed less cooperative in the Ed Sullivan Theater than they are in their Christmas home, the Theatre at St Claude (2240 St Claude Ave). Capricious cat behavior is, however, built into the show. A common highlight for audience members is when cats wander offstage to go explore.

For the special Christmas-themed show, expect holiday music such as “A Cat in a Manger,” “Catnip Roasting on an Open Fire,” and “God Rest Ye Merry Kittens.” The stage and props will be decked in white and red. You can see a cat pushing a sleigh or jumping through a tinsel-covered wreath. That is, if the cat feels like it.

After the show, the cats hang around onstage for an extended meet-and-greet. Audience members get to say hi to the cats and take plenty of photos. (After all, who wouldn’t want their picture taken with the famous Rock Cats?)

The circus tours with anywhere between 14-18 cats, including a few fosters. They ride in a giant cat-bedecked tour bus (see below) that, according to Martin, is unfortunately unreliable. The cat krewe is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to purchase a new tour bus.

Education and cat rescue is a huge part of the Martin’s mission with the Acro-Cats. The Acro-Cats merchandise is not all cool cat T-shirts (although those do exist); Martin also sells a clicker training kit. Despite popular belief, cats are not untrainable — although they may require heavy food-bribing to actually do tricks.

Martin also partners with a local animal rescue organization at each tour stop. The Jefferson SPCA receives a portion of ticket proceeds from the Meowy Catmas show.

The Amazing Acro-Cats Meowy Catmas Show has performances through Monday, Dec. 21, at the Theatre at St. Claude. General admission tickets cost $22, with a $3 discount for children’s tickets. Premium front-row seating costs $5 extra.

Find more information about the Acro-Cats, including cat bios, performance videos, and current tour information, at

POSTED Jul 18, 2019

Creative Culture

August in New Orleans

August in New Orleans

New Orleans may be known as a party town, but locals work as hard here as they do in any city. Take a break from the routine with…....

Written by CREE MCCREE
POSTED Nov 27, 2018


Ready for Reveillon

Ready for Reveillon

Just like caroling on Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral concerts, or bonfires on the levee, Reveillon dinners are a beloved Crescent City holiday tradition. This year a…....

POSTED Feb 28, 2018


Off To The (Wiener) Races...

Off To The (Wiener) Races...

We often stress on this site the unique nature of New Orleans. The one of a kind confluence of cultures, ethnic groups, immigration patterns and geographic conditions that…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED Nov 30, 2017




Almost any identifiably New Orleans menu item has a corresponding festival, but up until recently, one of the city’s most iconic culinary treats was left without its own…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN

    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.



    was added to your favorites.



    Share On Twitter Share On Facebook