New Orleanians looking for a place to boogie down all weekend long can find their dancing destination at the 11th annual Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo. From Friday (May 20) through Sunday (May 22), the free, family-friendly festival will showcase the beauty of the Bayou St. John neighborhood.
The event is produced by the MotherShip Foundation and presented by the Positive Vibrations Foundation.
Four stages of live music will feature performances from headliners Irma Thomas, The Wailers and Lowrider Band.
The expansive art market will include over 60 local artisans displaying handcrafted goods, like pottery and jewelry.
Additionally, festivalgoers can sample dishes from over 30 food and beverage vendors, including crispy oysters from Mopho Mid-City and brie and Nutella grilled cheese from Brown Butter.
“It was initially one day, but it’s grown into three over the years,” says Jared Zeller, president of the MotherShip Foundation. “I originally had the idea to do a free festival pre-Katrina.”
After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Zeller returned to the city in October 2005, where he began working to make the free festival a reality by reaching out to Mid-City community organizations.
Zeller says: “It was a unique time to start a festival. We wanted to revitalize the community and provide a stress relief from the trials we were going through. The neighborhood is woven within the fabric of the festival. When you dive into the history of New Orleans, Bayou St. John is crucial.”
Bayou Boogaloo’s festival grounds surrounding the Mid-City waterway offer patrons a unique experience.
“We usually highlight that this event is tied to the water. We want people to step out and experience the great outdoors in an urban environment,” says Zeller.
Festivalgoers will have many opportunities to enjoy the bayou, including participating in paddle boat races and visiting the floating root beer float booth benefitting Friends of Lafitte Greenway.
“The neighborhood is woven within the fabric of the festival.”
Jared Zeller, president of the MotherShip Foundation