Summer festivities tout Big Easy's cuisine, culture

By Gay Nagle Myers

Allen Toussaint at the 2013 Satchmo SummerFest.Don't let summertime temperatures in the Big Easy deter travel to New Orleans.

True, there can be steamy days and muggy nights, but the city's Convention & Visitors Bureau has stacked the deck day and night for its visitors with outdoor activities, indoor air-conditioned exhibits and 24-hour entertainment.

"Visiting New Orleans in the summer is a great value, with festivals nearly every weekend and plenty to see and do," said Stephen Perry, president and CEO.

Coming up:

• Headliners at the 20th anniversary of the Essence Music Festival, July 3 to 6 at the Superdome, include Prince, Janelle Monae, Mary J. Blige, the Roots, Tank, Lionel Richie and Charlie Wilson. Visit www.essencefestival.com for a complete schedule.

• New Orleans offers up its own version of Pamplona's Running of the Bulls with its San Fermin in Nueva Orleans event on July 12. Unlike the Spanish version, these "bulls" are members of the Big Easy Rollergirls and select participants from other roller derby leagues in the U.S. Visit nolabulls.com.

• The 14th annual Satchmo SummerFest from July 31 to Aug. 3 celebrates the life, legacy and music of one of New Orleans' favorite sons. Festivities include jazz exhibits, a jazz Mass, a second-line parade with the New Birth Brass Band in Jackson Square and musical performances all weekend long. Many are free. Visit fqfi.org/satchmo.

• To escape the heat, drop into the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the National WWII Museum, which just commemorated the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

• Grab a go-cup (in New Orleans, you can take your drink with you) and head for Frenchmen Street, the heart of the city's music scene these days.

Located just steps from the French Quarter in the city's Faubourg Marigny district, Frenchman has a lively street culture that spills out from the bars, restaurants and clubs. Brass bands are commonly found on the corner of Chartres and Frenchmen, and gypsy jazz pickup bands take to the stoops along the strip.

Creole, Mexican, sushi and vegetarian restaurants can all be found in the area, including the Three Muses, a restaurant and bar that like most Frenchmen Street establishments features live music nightly.

A full calendar of what to do and suggestions of where to meet, eat, sleep, visit and stroll is available at www.neworleanscvb.com.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly. 

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