Hey there, festival-goers and culture enthusiasts! Karen Brem here, your go-to guru for all the fab festivities in the Big Easy, serving up the inside scoop on this weekend’s most vibrant and vivacious event — Bayou Bacchanal 2023! Brace yourselves for a whirlwind of feathers, sequins, and all the jerk chicken your heart desires as we dive into the ultimate homage to Caribbean culture, right here in the heart of New Orleans.
Now, y’all know we at the Historic Mardi Gras Inn don’t just watch a parade, we become the parade, honey! And this weekend, it’s all about the electric energy of the Caribbean beating through the veins of the Crescent City. I’m talking about a festival so full of life, even the statues in Congo Square seem to sway to the soca rhythms!
Kicking off the festivities on Friday night, November 3, 2023, is the ‘Wear White Dance Party’ at Rendez-Vous Haitian Restaurant. Dress in your breeziest whites — think of it as the unofficial rehearsal dinner for the main event. It’s where you’ll catch me busting moves that haven’t been seen since the ‘90s made its second comeback.
Come Saturday, November 4, 2023, the air will be crackling with anticipation (and probably a bit of that hairspray holding the fabulous costumes together). We’re inviting every Tom, Dick, Harry, and their kiddos to slap on a feathered mask, shimmy into a costume, and sashay through the streets with us — for free, darlings! That’s right, your pockets can jingle with spare change rather than entry fees as we parade from the Warehouse District, through the spice and soul of the French Quarter, and wrap up with a grand flourish in Crescent Park.
Speaking of the parade, expect nothing short of a peacock parade of colors and a cultural cocktail of Caribbean flavor. Imagine a conga line of masqueraders, with more sequins than my Aunt Patty’s disco-themed birthday bash, all winding through the iconic streets of NOLA. Be ready to shake your tail feathers to the infectious beats of live music that’s so invigorating, you might just forget about the 10 po’boys you promised yourself you wouldn’t eat this week.
And the food, oh, the glorious food! It’s like your taste buds took a direct flight to the Caribbean. There’s enough spice to make you feel like you’re sunbathing in Jamaica, and enough variety to have you island-hopping from one food stall to another. Grab some curry goat here, a little ackee and saltfish there, and top it off with a coco bread sandwich so good, you’ll write home about it.
Once the sun sets and the parade floats have made their majestic journey, the fun is far from over. The Bayou Bacchanal post-party is where the real shenanigans happen. Imagine a street festival peppered with the aroma of street food, clinking cocktail glasses, and music that commands even the shiest wallflowers to the dance floor. I, for one, plan to show off the dance moves I’ve been refining just for this occasion.
So, here’s your official invitation from me, Karen Brem, and the whole crew at the Historic Mardi Gras Inn: come one, come all to the Bayou Bacchanal 2023. If you’re looking to find the heart of Caribbean jubilation pulsating in New Orleans or just want to see a bunch of adults dressed like tropical birds (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), this festival is for you!
Let’s get together and feel alright, New Orleans! This weekend, the Crescent City doesn’t just get a slice of the Caribbean — we become the Caribbean. I’ll be the one in the costume that’s equal parts fabulous and “I sewed this myself,” leading the conga line straight to the heart of the party.
Bayou Bacchanal 2023 — Be there or be the only one not covered in glitter come Monday morning!