Experience The Big Easy and the Biggest Names in Music at the 47th Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Music Festival has been showcasing the best in American music since its inception in 1970 with Mahalia Jackson at its helm of showcased talent. Often referred to as the greatest gospel singer in the world, Jackson, Duke Ellington and Fats Domino all had a hand in setting the groundwork for what would become today’s modern celebration of Jazz music. Combining gospel hymn, rock n’ roll, joyous parades, food and art, there’s a reason Life Magazine has called Jazz Fest “The country’s very best music festival.” Always a purveyor of mixing things up, Jazz Fest’s lineups have become a musical melting pot for legendary artists. And 2016 is no different.
This year marks the 47th anniversary of the festival and includes over 100 acts spread across seven days. Featured are internationally known and legendary artists Stevie Wonder, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Neil Young + Promise of the Real playing alongside Snoop Dogg (yes you read that right), Paul Simon, Dr. John & The Nite Trippers, Herby Hancock & Wayne Shorter Duo, Beck, Van Morrison, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, J.Cole, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Buddy Guy, My Morning Jacket, Gary Clark Jr., Bonnie Raitt and Flo Rida just to name a few will be taking over stages throughout the event. This especially eclectic collection of acts is what sets Jazz Fest apart from the rest of the festival circuit; every genre gets its time to shine and man is it glorious.
Jazz Fest is unique in its dedication to keeping the true spirit of New Orleans music alive, from the artists to the food, nothing screams New Orleans quite like this annual event. Jazz Fest becomes the perfect excuse to head out to NOLA for anyone who wants to get a crash course in Louisiana living. Every aspect of the festival is aimed to get you lost in the magic. But before you even think about packing those bags, we suggest you form a game plan. Luckily we’ve got you covered.
Now that your living accommodations have been set it’s time to roll up your sleeves, pull up your chair, and grab a bite. What better way to start than with the Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues. The festivities start at 10 a.m. and the performances are worth the early rise. Enjoy Grammy-award winning star Kirk Franklin’s take on a gospel show. Don’t be alarmed that his set of curated musicians are the perfect pairing to your bottomless mimosa’s. Take comfort in the fact that a part of the proceeds from the event will be donated to IHOBF, a non-profit organization that provides underprivileged youth with art and music education. We’ll toast that! For those of you who want a little more shut eye, we haven’t forgotten about you either. Indulge in classic New Orleans cuisine at what is now known as Commander’s Palace has become. The beloved NOLA staple is located in the heart of the popular Garden District and serves up some of the town’s best Creole and cajun dishes around. Their famed gumbo and turtle soup have kept customers satisfied and returning for years. The menu is quintessential Louisiana, and the atmosphere is as authentic as it gets. Arrive early and request a spot in the Palace’s Garden Room to enjoy a romantic dinner surrounded by beautiful architecture and dozens of lush trees.
Would a trip to Louisiana be complete without a little drinking? The correct answer is no. Start your personal bar crawl off at the Carousel Bar. Located in the Hotel Monteleone, overlooking Royal Street in the middle of the French Quarter the Carousel is the only revolving bar in New Orleans and is sure to get you more than a little tipsy. Both The Goody and The Vieux Carre cocktails were invented here and worth a sip as you take a spin around this historic bar. Looking to find your next favorite craft cocktail spot? Look no further than Arnaud’s French 75. What used to be a “gentlemen only” restricted establishment is now an open invitation to all who love premium spirits, classic cocktails and cigars, so come on in ladies! Transport yourself to a different era without skimping on taste. Here, head Bartender Chris Hannah has a knack for elevating classic cocktails to something magical while insisting upon using only fresh ingredients along with homemade syrups and liqueurs. Take a stroll on over to Arnaud’s French 75, pull up a seat at the vintage bar and let them remind you how cocktail hour should be. Equal parts classy and gritty, Bar Tonique is a truly a one of a kind experience. Take in one of their expertly made cocktails while people watching in the dimly lit tavern complete with two fireplaces and a gorgeous circular bar. The menu displays the year each cocktail was invented as well as very knowledgeable bartenders to help you navigate just what kind of night you’re looking to have. Then there’s the Maple Leaf Bar. Primarily a music venue, this laid back bar is a local legend and favorite. Hosting live bands seven days a week since opening its doors back in 1974, the Maple Leaf is the place to be if singing and dancing the night away are in your agenda. If it’s good enough to be featured in a music video by Beyoncé (Déjà Vu, 2006), it’s good enough for you and your friends.
For those who want to experience some historic NOLA hospitality, The Roosevelt New Orleans is a clear choice. The music fan inside you should rejoice in knowing that The Roosevelt has been called home by legends like Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra. A Waldorf Astoria hotel, you can expect the Spa at The Roosevelt to be your saving grace at the end of those long festival days. If a full array of massages and treatments don’t pique your interest try the hotel’s rooftop pool. Whether you’re there to swim or lounge and take in the views, it’s a luxurious amenity that needs to be experienced. If you want something a little more on the edgy side, The W Hotel may be for you. It’s bright, modern and promises to provide you with a seriously unique experience. The hotel’s whatever/whenever concierge service is guaranteed to satisfy any and all needs you may have as long as they’re legal. If dining options are at the top of your ‘must list’ the W’s well-known restaurant SoBou is open for everything from breakfast to late night dinners and features self-serve wine and beer – yes we’re serious! Looking for something more highbrow? It doesn’t get more classy than The Ritz-Carlton. Immerse yourself in New Orleans history at this luxury hotel on the edge of the French Quarter. Situated within the historic 1908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building, the hotel itself is a landmark beauty that has to be seen to believed. As a guest at this charming hotel, you will have the advantage of being walking distance from a plethora of popular attractions including Bourbon Street. Feel like staying in? No worries. Experience local traditions in the beautiful Ritz Courtyard, which hosts special events with their Crawfish Concierge, Snowball Sommelier and Oyster Butler or maybe some live music in their Davenport Lounge. The Ritz has got something to cater to whatever mood you’re in.