POSTED Mon. Jul 11, 2016


Ladies Who Lunch (And Network. And Party. And Travel, etc etc)
Written by LB KOVAC

New Orleans could be called a city of festivals; nary a week goes by without some sort of celebration. But while there are designated parties for “tomatoes, jazz, gumbo,” says Sandra Dartus, liaison for Festigals, back in 2011 there was not a designated event for one half of New Orleans’ (and the world’s) population: women.

Diane Lyons, a destination management executive, sought to fill that void via a “girlfriend getaway weekend that would showcase New Orleans,” as well as connect and celebrate women, says Dartus. FestiGals was born.

Now in its fifth year, the festival praises women from all walks of life, all while providing women a safe and welcoming environment to let loose and have fun with their friends. It’s part girls’ weekend, part “business trip,” and part giving opportunity, with events for every type of woman.

The weekend starts out with check-in on Thursday. Friday is the New Orleans Women’s Conference, a premiere female-centric conference with talks from several notable local and nationally-successful business women, sponsored by female-friendly businesses and causes.

Bodacious Bras for a Cause

One of the issues closest to the FestiGals runners’ hearts is breast cancer research. With as many as 1 in 8 women being affected by invasive breast cancer at some point in their lives, it’s an issue that all women can rally behind.

In order to support breast cancer research and treatment, FestiGals hosts the Bodacious Bras for a Cause contest and brunch. Bras are decorated as extravagantly and “bodacious-ly” as possible.

Bras were selected because of their symbolic association with women, and the choice to make them “bodacious” was meant to be reflective of New Orleans glitz and glam. “People anywhere can ‘bling a bra’…put it on the FestiGals website and tell everyone they know to pledge their support,” says Dartus.

The “winning” bras are auctioned off at the Bodacious Bras for a Cause Brunch, the proceeds of which are then donated to the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans and non-profit Breastoration. The real winners, of course, are the women who benefit from the FestiGals donations.


In addition to Stiletto Strolls through the French Quarter and a vodou ceremony with Haitian priestess Sallie Ann Glassman, FestiGals attendees are given entry to FestiTalks, a brand new addition to the conference. During FestiTalks, women from different industries with different roles in their communities give quick talks on subjects that interest them.

These women “get an opportunity to share little nuggets of wisdom they have learned along the way,” says Dartus. And the brief format “will surely be a hit with attendees” along with the other events in the Conference.

FestiTalks, and the Conference, offer many opportunities for professional development, making FestiGals a mixture of business and fun. And keynote speaker Carla Harris, from global financial services leader Morgan Stanley, is scheduled to give a rousing speech on stepping stones to success.
Note that FestiGals attendees are strongly encouraged to stay the entire weekend and enjoy the best of what the New Orleans nightlife and food scene has to offer.

The Grand Diva

All of these events are headed up by the FestiGals Grand Diva, a woman chosen for her unique contribution to the New Orleans community and women at large. Past Grand Divas have included local personality Margarita Bergen and Grammy-winner Irma Thomas; this year’s Grand Diva is TV and radio legend Angela Hill.

And, if you’re wondering what to pack for the extravaganza, take it from Dartus: “A Bodacious hat for the BBFC Brunch, and boas, wigs and things that [GLOW] for this year’s Stiletto Stroll that’s themed ‘shining light on domestic violence’ to benefit the New Orleans Family Justice Center.”

FestiGals will be taking place at the JW Marriott (614 Canal St) and several surrounding locations in New Orleans July 28-30th. Tickets are available online for both the entire FestiGals weekend and the New Orleans Women’s Conference until midnight July 20th.

Tickets will also be available for purchase at the JW Marriott during FestiGals weekend.

Image courtesy of FestiGals.

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