This weekend: New Orleans' other huge party

By JD Rinne
October 3, 2012
Courtesy <a href="" target="_blank">izik/Flickr</a>

It's no understatement that this city knows how to party. (After all, there is nothing understated about Mardi Gras.) And this weekend is no exception, as the French Quarter Festival kicks off for the 26th time.

The three-day festival boasts 150 live music performances, 450 musicians, 18 stages, and 60 booths for food and drink, all with a block-party atmosphere as people stroll around the French Quarter. New this year is the "Louis-Louis Pavilion Stage" along the riverfront, named for native sons Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima. (The Zydepunks, among other acts, will play there). Most of the performers are locals, and there's going to be a show for every taste—jass, salsa, gospel, Cajun, funk, and so on.

Oh yeah, and there's food! Local vendors ranging from Abita beer to The Praline Connection will be serving food and drinks (see full list, with prices, here). New Orleans' art world will be represented, as well, with local artists selling their wares in the French Quarter and in area galleries.

The festival attracted 435,000 visitors last year—that's quite the block party.

The festival is free; most food items are between $5 and $7. For more information, call 504/522-5730 or go to

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Affordable Paris: Museums for free

Paris museums house some of the best collections in the world, but they aren't cheap dates. Entry to the Mus&eacute;e d'Orsay costs 8&euro; ($11.50), the great Louvre is 9&euro; ($12), and the Centre Pompidou is 12&euro; ($16). These admission fees can add up if you're planning to visit more than one museum, and especially if you're paying for a whole family. But there's good news: About 22 museums offer free entry every day. And the French government also subsidizes free days and nights at an even longer list of attractions. A complete rundown of these cultural freebies can be found at the Parisinfo website, and some of my favorites are listed below. Free Every Day: Entry to see the permanent collection of these museums is always free. There may be a small charge for temporary exhibitions. &bull; Mus&eacute;e Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris (history of Paris) 23 rue de S&eacute;vign&eacute;, 3rd arrondissement. &bull; Mus&eacute;e de la Vie Romantique (the Romantic movement, that is) 16 rue Chaptal, 9th arrondissement. &bull; Mus&eacute;e d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (modern art) 11 avenue du Pr&eacute;sident Wilson, 16th arrondissement. Free Every Wednesday Evening: One of my favorite places, Maison Europ&eacute;enne de la Photographie (better known as MEP), opens its doors every Wednesday night for free. Set in the Marais, the MEP is steps away from some great eating and drinking. 5-7 rue de Fourcy, 4th arrondissement. Free on the First Sunday of Every Month: Major tourist draws like the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou, the Mus&eacute;e d'Orsay, the Quai Branly and the Picasso museum are free on the first Sunday of every month. However, the crowds are so overwhelming that I avoid them on this day. Instead, I like take the first Sunday to explore some of these less-mobbed museum treasures: &bull; Mus&eacute;e national de l'Orangerie (home to the massive Monet water lilies) Jardin des Tuileries, 1st arrondissement. &bull; Mus&eacute;e de la Chasse et de la Nature (hunting and nature) 62 rue des Archives, 3rd arrondissement. &bull; Mus&eacute;e national du Moyen &Acirc;ge (Middle Ages) 6 place Paul Painlev&eacute;, 5th arrondissement. &bull; Mus&eacute;e Rodin (The Kiss, the Thinker, and other great sculptures) 79 rue de Varenne, 7th arrondissement MORE Affordable Paris


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Gear: Flight 001 has a 30 percent off sale online and in store

Flight 001 is turning 10 next week, and to celebrate, the travel gear company is knocking 30 percent off all in-store and online purchases between Apr. 14 and 19. Use promo code BIRTHDAY to save on everything from luggage and toiletry bags to games and guidebooks. The discount applies to both regularly priced and sale items, but not cosmetics. Items include on-board amenity kits, games, luggage, noise-canceling earphones, and other stylish, streamlined goods to make traveling more bearable. Here are some sample deals: The Gorillapod, which one of our readers recently reviewed, is normally $25 and now costs $17.50 with this discount. The Go Games Checkers set, already marked down from $12 to $6, is $4.20. Bonus: If you stop by any of the seven U.S. stores from Apr. 14 to 19, you can also enter a raffle for prizes, which will include freebies from the company’s SpacePak and Go Clean lines. One drawing in each store takes place on Sunday April 19, except the New York City stores which will have drawings throughout that weekend. All you need to do is come in and sign up. No purchase necessary. No entry online, only in store.