Louisiana celebrates Music Year with new attractions

Rolling Stones to headline New Orleans Jazz Fest

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FQF By Zack Smith Photography

The New Orleans annual Jazz Fest will welcome the Rolling Stones to the main stage in what will be the band’s only festival date in 2024.

The highly anticipated gig will take place at the Fair Grounds on May 2, 2024, after years of failed attempts to secure the rock band.

Jazz Fest announced The Rolling Stones would play at the festival back in 2019, but a heart surgery for Mick Jagger scuttled those plans.

Spanning April 25 – May 5, the 10-day Jazz Fest is expected to draw in crowds of up to 400,000 people and is a celebration of the music, art, culture and heritage of New Orleans.

“Ticket holders have access to 13 different stages and can visit four cultural villages that highlight our native and indigenous cultures, including a Native American village, a Gospel stage, our Acadian village and our Congo Square and African village,” said Diana Hernandez, Senior Manager of International Communications at New Orleans & Company.

“I would advise to book tickets and hotels months ahead of the last week of April, because they do book up quickly.”

The festival is one of a line-up of music events taking place as part of Louisiana’s Year Of Music initiative.

As well as promoting annual music highlights such as Mardi Gras and NOLA x NOLA, the tourist board is also shining a spotlight on local artists 

Hernandez said: “We have made a very intentional effort to represent our local musicians. We have a database of over 350 local artists and have created a living database on our website that incorporates their set schedules into our event calendar. It allows you to see exactly who’s playing on any given night.”

Added Hernandez: “October is always our Music Month, where we very intentionally celebrate not only our artists, but our venues who keep the music going.”


Baton Rouge gears up for free spring concert

BR Festivals and Live Music

Live After Five, Baton Rouge’s largest and longest-running free concert series, is due to return with a new line-up this spring.

The concert series will light up Rhorer Plaza in downtown Baton Rouge, the capitol city of Louisiana, on April 12, 19, 26, and May 10, 17, 24, from 5pm to 8pm.

The schedule includes performances by Groovy 7, Kenny Neal, Todd O’Neill, The Original Pinettes, The Bucktown Allstars, and The Michael Foster Project. The April 19 show with Kenny Neal will kick off the Baton Rouge Blues Festival.

New to this year’s series is a lively second-line parade led by the Brasshearts brass band, weaving its way down 3rd Street and concluding at Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s.

Baton Rouge is known as being the Blues Capitol of the state and also hosts an annual Blues Festival every spring.

“Baton Rouge is it’s only an hour away from New Orleans and also an hour from Lafayette, we’re in the middle of some great musical cities which makes us the perfect stop on a music roadtrip, ” said Marie Stagg, Leisure Sales Manager at Visit Baton Rouge.

 “We are going to be highlighting a lot of our artists through the year, and especially at all of our festivals and events. We celebrate our local musicians, whether that’s playing in a dive bar downtown or at a larger venue, or in somebody’s backyard, or at a festival.”

But it’s not just Blues that you will hear in the city. Stagg says: “We are known for Blues but you’ll also hear some other musicians especially at Live After Five, we get local bands to come play anything from rock and roll to country. So everyone can enjoy.”


Lafayette to debut Louisiana Music Museum

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Music Festival in Lafayette, Louisiana

Lafayette is due to open a new museum in 2025 which will pay homage to the state’s rich musical heritage and culture.

Overseen by the Acadiana Center for the Arts, the museum build will act as a permanent home for Acadiana Cajan and Creole music.

The museum will find its home in the historic Lafayette Hardware Store at 121 W. Vermilion Street.

Plans for the museum include a permanent core exhibition that tells the story of Louisiana music and musicians from a distinctly Acadiana Cajan and Creole perspective.

At the heart of the project will be a dancehall with plans of hosting brunch and morning dances every Saturday and Sunday.

“We have two distinct sounds: Cajun from our Acadiana ancestors is a French folk style music, very much like storytelling music, and then also Zydeco music, which blends rhythm and blues with music indigenous to the Louisiana Creoles. It will be great to have a dedicated museum to celebrate this musical heritage,” said Eugenie Mitchell, Vice President if Tourism Sales at Lafayette Louisiana.

“We’re part of that Americana music triangle of the United States that has all these different genres of music that have developed and grown, but our sound is still very cultural based.”


St. Francisville celebrates local artists

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St. Francisville is encouraging visitors to support its local artists with a directory of events on its new website.

Visitors can use the events calendar to seek out live music every week with venues ranging from dive bars to restaurants.

The highlight of the music calendar is the Tunica Hills music festival that features every March. Festival-goers enjoy a combination of folk and country music, with a little bit of jazz mixed in.

Located on highway 61, between New Orleans and Memphis, St. Francisville presents the perfect opportunity for visitors to experience small town charm and local acts before venturing on to the big cities.

“St. Francisville is right on highway 61, or what they call the Blues Highway, connecting Memphis to New Orleans. A lot of our international visitors will enjoy a two-night stop off, listen to some live music and enjoy our natural surroundings before they hit the road,” said Devan Corbello, St. Francisville’s Executive Director. 

“Our new website, visitstfrancisvillela.com has a really great events calendar. We’re making sure that we have up to date information on who’s playing where and pushing that information out on our newsletters on our events calendar and on social media.”


Experience a piece of Elvis history in Shreveport

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Shreveport Municipal Auditorium

Visitors can stand on the spot where Elvis made his performance debut at the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium.

Located just west of Downtown Shreveport, half way between Memphis and New Orleans, the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium was the launch pad for many international stars including Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.

It is said that Elvis developed the techniques that catapulted his career into stardom on the stage of the auditorium, as a regular performer on the weekly Louisiana Hayride show.

Today, visitors can experience live music performances from the very same stage and take in the historic significance of the building.

“It was on that stage here in Shreveport that the phrase ‘Elvis has left the building’ was coined following his last performance for the Louisiana Hayride,” says David Bradley, Vice President of Business Development for Shreveport-Bossier.

“Now we have artists from across the world wanting to stand where he stood and perform.”

Adding to the entertainment offering in Shreveport-Bossier is a new casino, Live! Casino & Hotel. Scheduled to open in 2025, Live! Casino & Hotel Louisiana will feature: 1,000+ slots and electronic table games and 40+ live action table games; a 550-room hotel and new dining and entertainment offerings.


Hotel Monteleone unveils redesign  

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Fifth generation-owned Hotel Montelone in New Orleans has undergone a multi-million-dollar redesign.

Located in the heart of the French Quarter, Hotel Monteleone is a historic hotel known for its revolving Carousel Bar & Lounge complete with views of the famed Royal Street.

The hotel has undergone a two-year, multi-million-dollar redesign that has resulted in 160 completely renovated rooms plus 48 new luxury suites and a reimagined ballroom. 

The hotel is the only high rise building in the French Quarter and boasts a rooftop pool, gym with a view and Creole restaurant. It is the ideal base to experience Mardi Gras and various other festivals.

The iconic Carousel Bar & Lounge will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year. Guests will be able to enjoy a special monthly cocktail which will be created to commemorate the milestone.

“Even those that aren’t staying at the hotel should still experience the Carousel bar, said Isabelle Caffery, Director of Travel & International Sales at Hotel Monteleone.

“It takes 15 minutes to make a full rotation and there is live music every night.”