Never a Dull Moment in the Big Easy

By Tommy Milburn

New Orleans is one of the few places in America that has managed to hold on to a very unique culture. The Mississippi River is one of the major gateways to the United States and as such, it is a melting pot of culture. The French, Spanish, African, Caribbean, Irish and Italian influences have amalgamated in the sub-tropic heat of New Orleans to create a culture unlike anywhere else in the United States, or the world. New Orleans’s heritage is one worthy of celebration and, rightfully so, the people of New Orleans have developed all kinds of traditions to recognize this rich culture. Below, I will list and describe some of my favorite celebrations of the Summer and Fall.

Red Dress Run

The Red Dress Run is a charity run organized every August in downtown New Orleans organized by the Hash House Harriers. While this group exists all over the country and there are red dress runs all over the country, New Orleans’s Red Dress Run is the biggest (and obviously the most fun). Downtown New Orleans is swamped by tens of thousands of people dressed in red dresses to raise money for local New Orleans charities. It’s a lot of fun and it’s for a great cause. Check out their website for more information

Running of the Bulls

While this event doesn’t really compare to the events of Pamplona, Spain, this ode to New Orleans Spanish influence is a great event that starts bright and early in the morning and lasts through the day. New Orleanians dress up in white and red, like their Spanish counterparts, and run through the streets. While there are no live bulls, there are Roller Bulls, which are professional roller derby players equipped with paddles to surprise the unsuspecting festival-goer. May I suggest searching “Running of the Bulls – New Orleans 2013 GoPro” in youtube?

Krewe of BOO/ Halloween on Frenchman Street

New Orleans has some of the most, if not the most festive Halloween celebrations in the world. As the “Most Haunted City” in America, New Orleans celebrates this holiday by organizing the “ghost and ghouls” into a parade with floats and bands in classic New Orleans style. What makes this parade different? Besides the event being planned around Halloween festivities, the parade also promotes New Orleans businesses and fills the parade watchers pockets with useful, tasty treats. On Halloween night, I would recommend heading down to Frenchmen Street to see some of the most creative Halloween costumes in the country.

Voodoo Festival

Voodoo Festival is one of the largest music festivals in the southern United States and a great opportunity to see amazing performers in a festival setting. You can see just about anything from country music, to hip-hop, to electronic music. There is also a great display of art, plenty of food choices, and even craft beer trucks where you can sample all sorts of local brews.

Po Boy Festival

Last, but most definitely not least is the New Orleans Po-Boy Fest that takes place just a few blocks away from campus. The Po-Boy is a staple of New Orleans fare and a great lunch or dinner. Po-Boy Fest brings together the greatest minds of the culinary arts in New Orleans to compete for bragging rights of top Po-Boy in the city. This festival gives you the chance to have a meal from some of the best chefs in town while enjoying live music from top local bands and the company of fellow food lovers!