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New Orleans Free Weekend Guide

Even with French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest still weeks away, this is a big weekend for free festivals and outdoor events in New Orleans. Here are our picks for the best weekend fun to keep you grooving right into next week without busting your budget.


Saturday, April 4

Percussion in the Park
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo of a child playing a drumLove the smell of animal skins in the morning? The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra presents a free, daylong tribute to the drum in Mahalia Jackson Theater and Louis Armstrong Park with drum circles, drum-line activities, clinics, workshops and demonstrations. For the complete schedule, go to


Louisiana Oyster Jubilee & RoadFood Festival
10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Photo of Doreen Ketchens and childThe Louisiana Oyster Jubilee & Louisiana RoadFood Festival features some of Louisiana’s best chefs making their signature dishes along 4 blocks of the French Quarter. Admission is free; proceeds from food and beverage sales go to participating restaurants, including New Orleans' own Café Reconcile, which provides at-risk kids the opportunity to learn the food service business.


Freret Street Festival
11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Photo of poet Chuck PerkinsThe Freret Street Festival is a free family event with over 150 art and food vendors, plus bands like the Mahalia Jackson Gospel Choir, Chuck Perkins & Voices of the Big Easy, The Andrews Family Band, Margie Perez, and many more on three stages! See the complete lineup at


Sunday, April 5

New Orleans Earth Day
10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Photo of Kirk JosephThe first-ever New Orleans Earth Day Festival, presented by the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, kicks off along the Bayou St. John at Orleans Avenue. Bands include Big Sam's Funky Nation, Anders Osborne, Kirk Joseph & Friends, and Amanda Shaw, all performing on Louisiana’s first solar-powered festival stage. There’ll also be a bicycle tour, a kid’s tent, and plenty of vendors. Bring a reusable cup and get $1 off drinks. 


Pint Size Percussion!
2:15 p.m. - 5 p.m.

The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra presents Pint Size Percussion, a family concert free for kids 12 and under at 3 p.m. in Loyola University's Roussell Hall. Before the show, LPO members will be in the lobby getting kids acquainted with the instruments, and young percussionists are encouraged to bring their drums and play along. Call the box office at (504) 523-6530 for tickets.


Celebración Latina
12 - 6 p.m.

Photo of Rumba BuenaThe Fifth Annual Celebración Latina in Laurence Square Park features food, music, and Latin American-style entertainment, presented by Tulane’s Stone Center for Latin American studies. Local food vendors will be selling lots of Latin dishes, and there will be a children’s area with lots of cool activities for the little ones. Bands include Sorongo, Rumba Buena, Casa Samba, and more.

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