Decadence descends on New Orleans' French Quarter

Kenner hosts family-oriented Freedom Fest on the Lake

Don Ames
August 30, 2019 - 8:58 am

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Some very varied festivals are on tap this weekend in south Louisiana. They range from very adult to very family friendly. 

There'll be huge crowds in the Quarter this weekend, for Southern Decadence.  

"We anticipate that there'll be over 300 thousand this year," says Chuck Robinson, owner and producer of the festival's largest event, Saturday's Bourbon Street Extravaganza.

"Every year it grows by about 50 thousand," Robinson says. "It's the gay Mardi Gras. People come from all over the world. It's the largest festival of its kind in the entire south."

The 4-day Decadence Fest celebrates its 48th annual event through Labor Day, though many attendees stretch their stay through Tuesday. With an estimated economic impact of $275 million dollars, Southern Decadence is one of the top five annual events in New Orleans, along with Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, the Essence Festival and French Quarter Festival.  

The party includes a walking parade in the French Quarter, street parties, club parties, concerts and more. Hours and admissions vary.

On Sunday, Kenner hosts the 3rd annual Freedom Fest on the Lake, a celebration of food, fun and music on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. 

"Come on out there and enjoy a free afternoon and evening," invites Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn. "You'll be guaranteed a good time, if you like country music."

The lineup features country superstar, Clint Black, country music duo, High Valley, John Schneider, best known for his portrayal of "Bo" Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard, and local up-and-coming songbird, Jenna Hunts. 

"You'll obviously have a great time listening to the music," says Zahn. "It's a pretty impressive evening. And the best thing about this event is that it's free. For five dollars to park, you get all that entertainment." 

He says it's a big event, but you're not likely to feel crowded.   

"We're in the parking lot of Laketown, which is a pretty big area. It's going to have the stage and the trailers, all the food vendors and arts and crafts vendors. It also extends a little bit onto the green space. It's a pretty huge area." 

"I think it's a good day to show our freedom, to show our patriotism and also have the next day off on Labor Day."

Or take a Labor Day Weekend trip to Morgan City for the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival, the oldest chartered harvest festival in Louisiana, celebrating it's 84th anniversary this year. 

It's also a free event, voted a Top 20 Event for the last three years by the Southeast Tourism Society.

There is a blessing of the fleet, a water parade, live music, a car show, a 5k walk/run, amusement rides, children's activities and lots of shrimp dishes. 5 p.m.-midnight Friday, 9 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-midnight Sunday. 9 a.m.-midnight Monday.

The Grand Isle Redfish Rodeo takes place Friday and Saturday. It's the 59th year for the fishing tournament, which awards prizes in a range of categories and also has food vendors, art booths and more.

Or check out Saturday's Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival in Opelousas. A bloody mary zydeco breakfast kicks off a day of music from Louisiana's top zydeco performers. 10:30 a.m.-midnight. $15, $5 for children 12 and younger.

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