New Orleans is a gumbo of cultures from around the world, and one of those bright flavors is that of the Caribbean islands. To celebrate this Caribbean heritage, Bayou Bacchanal (November 1-2, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.) is a free festival sponsored by Friends of Culture and held at Louis Armstrong Park on the border of the French Quarter. Founded in 2002, the festival is a collection of events and food vendors that explores the cultural link between the islands of the Caribbean and the city.
To kick off Bayou Bacchanal, a parade will meander up and down city streets featuring brightly colored and often feathery costumes made especially to harken back to Caribbean culture. Masqueraders, which include both active participants and attendees, will dance to the pulsating beats of Soca music and steel pan drums, indigenous instruments of Tobago and Trinidad. Anyone can join, with or without costume, as the parade finds its way to Lafayette Square downtown, where the festival continues with live music, authentic Caribbean cuisine and tropical drinks as well as arts and crafts.
As for other events, on Friday, October 31st, the organization will host a pre-Bacchanal fete and flag party at Pleasant Palace in Marrero. There will be music from DJ Lady Peppertree and a cash bar and food on sale. Admission is $10 in advance and $12 at the door. On Saturday night, there will be a post Bayou Bacchanal All White Party at Caribbean Palace on Washington Ave from 10 p.m. till the party slows down late into the night. Music comes from DJ Lady Peppertree and DJ Simon, and there will be a cash bar. Admission is $10 in advance and $12 at the door.