And you thought the fireworks were over. Wrong. So very wrong. Because in New Orleans, we aren’t just American. We also are a colonial city, founded by the French and governed by the French and Spanish along the way. That means—another chance for a party, on Bastille Day, July 14! Yes, that’s right, but since it falls on the weekend, we get a few days of fêtes! All in honor of the French ideals of libertê, egalitê, and fraternitê. Which are, after all, ideals we cherish in New Orleans.
The Alliance Française of New Orleans puts on dinner for Bastille Day at Restaurant Galvez in the French Market to start on Friday, July 13, at 8:00 PM. Today is the last day to order tickets for that gala dinner, but if you don’t make it to the dinner, you can check out the fireworks over the grand Mississippi River in Dutch Alley. There’ll be a band, of course. Fireworks start at 9PM. Watch for sparklers in—red, white and blue, of course!
On Saturday, July 14, you can jump on the streetcar and head down to the French Quarter (mais oui!) and watch the French Dog competition located at Dutch Alley, registration at 9AM. You’ll see lots of American dogs and that’s okay, as long as he’s wearing a beret and a striped sweater. (For the female dogs, how about a can-can skirt?) At Washington Artillery Park there’ll be a sidewalk parade and a ceremony for wreath-laying at 10:15 AM at the golden Joan of Arc statute across from the French Market. Wander on over to the Old U.S. Mint at 3PM to the courtyard for adult beverages, food, music, dance, and other activities all celebrating our French Connection. That’s the Bal du 14 Juillet located at the Former U.S. Mint, and it’s free.
If you want to visit another neighborhood, there’s a Faubourg St. John Block Party in the 3100 block of Ponce de Leon St., with music, crafts, and special drinks and food from neighborhood businesses. You can dance in the streets to local Francophone music, and even play pétanque, as if you were in the French village that Faubourg St. John once was! (Don’t forget the painter Edgar Degas lived here for a time with his New Orleans cousin).
Sunday, July 15, brings us to more food-related events, always a necessity in this town. Southern Food and Beverage Museum and Tales of the Cocktail sponsor cocktail demonstrations in the French Market. The perfect absinthe frappe’ recipe can be yours! There will also be cooking demonstrations in the French Market. And—for the grand finale—Sunday at 4PM is the famous French Quarter Bartenders and Waiters Race in the French Market. Yes, indeed, while carrying a fully loaded service tray, New Orleans’ finest service workers will begin from Artillery Park and race on Decatur Street to the French Market. No running allowed! No spills, just thrills! The first contestant to reach the finish wins.