Eve Troeh / WWNO

Crowds filled the Fairgrounds as the 46th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival started its annual seven days of festing.

From a homegrown showcase for local talent, Jazz Fest has grown to include top national pop stars (which the festival officially calls “guest artists") alongside New Orleans' favorite jazz, blues, rock, gospel, hip hop, brass band and other talent. The nonprofit Jazz and Heritage Foundation has produced the festival in partnership with international production company AEG since 2004.

Ian McNulty

There are lots of ways to prepare crawfish, but it’s the boil that brings out their best qualities, and these are not limited to flavor. Served in massive quantities, dumped upon a table where friends and strangers feast alongside each other, crawfish are the ultimate social food. And as it happens, the annual crawfish mania across this state hits its stride just when Louisiana itself is at its most social.

Paul Cheney

A spirit of competition and creative excess is helping a local charity cook-off grow bigger and better, and in ways beyond the food offerings.

Emily Kaplan-Levenson / WWNO

Last weekend, Spring Break vibes descended upon the riverfront in the form of neon, midriffs and pounding bass. The BUKU Music and Art Project swarmed Mardi Gras World with big names like STS9, TV On the Radio, and A$AP Rocky, and more underground acts like Run the Jewels and Odesza, for a mostly collegiate (and younger) crowd to rejoice in. 

Central Louisiana’s regional food summit, Foodapalooza, is set Friday, Feb. 27, and organizers expect it to attract about 200 people.

The day-long event in Alexandria will feature seminars, such as planting a profitable garden for farmer’s markets, an introduction to worm casting, and developing food hubs. John Cotton Dean, regional food systems planner for the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, anticipates the third annual event will be the largest one yet.

Laurie / Flickr

Elton John, The Who, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga will headline this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The festival annually draws hundreds of thousands to New Orleans for two weekends of jazz, blues, Cajun, zydeco and gospel. The lineup draws heavily from Louisiana but it's accented with national acts. This year they will also include No Doubt, Keith Urban, Pitbull, John Legend, Ed Sheeran and Chicago.

Festival season is winding down but crawfish season is still going strong. A few weeks ago, I decided to take a trip to Breaux Bridge for the world famous Breaux Bridge crawfish festival. And who better to show a Yankee girl around than Sam Irwin, a freelance writer who just put out a book all about crawfish. It’s called Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean.

Gwen Harlow / Flickr

People United for Armstrong Park is an organization with the mission of "establishing the park as a nurturing, living environment for the arts."

Toward that end, a few years ago they established an annual jazz concert series, which opens its 2014 season on Thursday.

Mary Steele of People United for Armstrong Park says there is a lot to look forward to this year.

Inna Astakhova / Shutterstock


Getting together with family and friends is something Louisianians do best and in springtime, the weather's just right for barbecues and crawfish boils. This week on Louisiana Eats! we're going around the state to investigate two primary foods that feed the masses this time of year.

Sam Irwin grew up in crawfish country, so his fascination with our state's freshwater crustacean seems natural. Sam's the first of many guests to discuss the crawfish, as well as Chris Jay and Scott Gold, who join the conversation with their own advice about the mudbug.

Then we'll turn to members of the Southern Foodways Alliance for some insights into barbecue. Chef Drew Robinson talks about running a barbecue joint with over 30 locations, and John T. Edge discusses the peace-making capabilities of a great smoked pig.  

Vincent & Bella Productions\flickr

Over the course of 31 years, New Orleans' French Quarter Festival has grown from a small event to the largest free music festival in the United States. Along with Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras, it's become one of the crown jewels in Louisiana's cultural economy.

On this week's Notes from New Orleans, Sharon Litwin speaks with executive director Marci Schramm about the festival's growth and its plans for the future.