POSTED Fri. Jan 17, 2014

What to do in New Orleans during MLK weekend

What to do in New Orleans during MLK weekend
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend by honoring its namesake and his legacy. Plus, lots of other good New Orleans arts and music and food and fun.

1 MLK Family Day

If you’ve any interest in New Orleans backstreet culture, you owe it to yourself to attend Martin Luther King Jr Family Day at the McKenna Museum of African American Art (2003 Carondelet). The program includes a historical presentation by local Freedom Rider Dodie Smith Simmons, a music tribute by Big Chief Brian Nelson, king cake (no pun intended, I assume) and one of the best day-long showcasings of Mardi Gras Indian and Second Line culture on tap, including free tours of the Donald Harrison, Sr.: The Legacy Continues photo exhibition. That last segment includes archival photos, original beaded artwork, Indian attire by Big Chief Donald Harrison, Jr. and more. On Sat (Jan 18), 1-2:30pm. Image courtesy of the McKenna Museum.

2 Dance at the Opera House

The world-renowned Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company performs three different numbers on three different nights over the weekend at the Marigny Opera House (725 St Ferdinand); details here. Get on it. Image courtesy of the Marigny Opera House.

3 Feufollet at d.b.a

If you have’t heard Feufollet, what’s your problem? No, I kid, but seriously, these Cajun kids out of Lafayette turned Francophile-indie rock stars put on a good set, which you can see tonight (Jan 17) at d.b.a. (618 Frenchmen). Imahe courtesy of Feufollet.

4 Blush Ball!

The “Pussyfooters” are throwing their annual Blush Ball on Saturday, featuring Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Wild Magnolias and DJ Quickie Mart. Marching crew + Mardi Gras Indian chants + beats equals a river of win. At The Cannery (3803 Toulouse) from 9pm-2am; get tickets ($45) here. Image courtesy of the Pussyfooters.

5 Cirque de la Symphonie

If you’d like to class it up a little, check out Cirque de la Symphonie on Saturday (Jan 18). The outfit performs circus acrobatics and contortion to the sound of chamber orchestras, and will be on stage with the Louisiana Philharmonic at the Mahalia Jackson Theater in Armstrong Park. Image courtesy of Cirque de la Symphonie


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    • 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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