New Orleans loves a party like nowhere else, so it’s no surprise that the Fourth of July gives the city yet another reason to laissez les bon temps rouler. From picnics in City Park to kite-flying at the lakefront, here are numerous ways to celebrate Independence Day in and around New Orleans. It just isn’t the Fourth of July, though, without magnificent fireworks.
Regional displays aren’t just confined to Independence Day itself, though. Check out celebrations that start early in the weekend and perhaps make plans to catch more than one
Ponchatoula Fireworks Show: Ponchatoula Recreation Park. Friday, July 2nd at dark
The north shore town of Ponchatoula is famous for more than just strawberries. Ponchatoula kicks off the weekend celebrations with a Friday fireworks display starting around 8:30 in the evening. Park gates open at 5:00 and entertainment includes live music. The picturesque pine woods of the north shore park frame this professional fireworks display beautifully.
Ponchatoula’s Independence Day celebration combines the best of a small-town feel with professionally choreographed fireworks. For directions or more information, visit the Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce web site.
Uncle Sam Jam: Metairie, Lafreniere Park. Saturday, July 3rd, 8:30 P.M.
Metairie’s celebrations start a day early and include food and live music in the early evening. The festivities culminate in a fireworks display in Lafreniere Park once the sun goes down. The Ghosttown Band kicks things off at 5:30 in the park’s central gazebo and the New Orleans Concert Band will take over at 7:00 to play patriotic classics and a few favorite New Orleans hits.
The Uncle Sam Jam is free and open to the public with refreshments on sale. A portion of the sales proceeds will go for future park improvements, so enjoy both the good meal and the good cause. Bring blankets and chairs to stake out a good space from which to enjoy the fireworks display.
For detailed directions, see Lafreniere Park’s list of upcoming activities.
St. Bernard Salutes America: Chalmette Civic Center. Sunday, July 4th, 9:00 P.M.
One of the oldest and closest neighbors of New Orleans, Chalmette hosts its own celebration on Sunday. Festivities start around 6:00 in the evening with Harvey Jesus and Fire providing live music. The event also features kid-friendly foods and activities. This close-knit community offers a taste of the region beyond city crowds. They know how to throw a great party, so if you’re looking for something less jam-packed, head over to Chalmette to enjoy a little of the St. Bernard Parish life, dawlin’!
See the St. Bernard Parish calendar for more information.
Go Fourth on the River: Downtown New Orleans. Sunday, July 4th, 9:00 P.M.
The biggest show is right in the heart of the city on the Mississippi River itself. Go Fourth on the River features Dueling Barges, two ships laden with the most dazzling fireworks set to stirring patriotic music. This unique display on the river looks doubly gorgeous as the fireworks are reflected in the water. This will be the twentieth annual Go Fourth on the River celebration and it promises to be the biggest and brightest yet.
The best place to watch is from Woldenberg Park on the riverfront, though the Moonwalk is another choice location if parking is an issue. Spend the afternoon wandering the streets of the French Quarter or enjoy dinner at one of the Quarter’s excellent restaurants to ensure you’re there early enough for a good viewing spot.
The Fourth of July weekend is also the weekend of the Essence Music Festival, so be prepared for a large turnout and make reservations if you intend to visit a particular restaurant.
For parking information and a full schedule of events, visit the Go Fourth on the River official web site.