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Bastille Day NOLA Brings Music, French Cuisine, Food Trucks, and Block Parties

Although the monarchy is alive and well in our Mardi Gras parades, New Orleanians will join France this weekend to celebrate the overthrow of the crown. Kicking off Friday night, festivities will unfold for Bastille Day, also known as France’s Independence Day, observed annually on July 14. 


Bastille Day recognizes the Fete de la Federation, the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. Citizens of France, fearful of what they viewed as an oppressive monarchy, stormed the fortress-prison, the Bastille. Although there were only seven inmates, the event carried with it great symbolic significance. One year later, the French held a huge feast to celebrate a successful French Revolution. Nearly a century later in 1878, July 14 became an official holiday.


New Orleans only recently got on board with Bastille Day, but it is quickly growing into a citywide celebration. This is the second year that the Alliance Francaise has partnered with the French Consulat and the French American Chamber of Commerce to organize a full menu of events, according to Alliance Francaise’s Director, Aurelie Champvert.


The events include live music, gourmet French dinners, cooking demonstrations, waiters’ races, walking tours, and kids’ activities. Revelers can join in all the way from Dijon (1379 Annunciation) to the Old U.S. Mint.


According to Juliet Dietzen, the Alliance Francaise’s marketing and events manager, the event will connect New Orleanians to their French ancestors in the homeland. In fact, La Nouvelle Orleans will be tapped into a live radio broadcast from Paris.


“We’ll be able to hear what’s going on in Paris, France,” said Dietzen. “New Orleans is known worldwide for being a French city, and Bastille Day provides an opportunity to celebrate that in a public way. We wanted to make it a public affair,” said Deitzen.


Whether or not your dog is a French breed, he or she can still participate in Saturday's French Dog Contest. The only stipulation is, canine competitors will have to be dressed up froggy style. Slap a beret on your mut, and he is dressed for the occasion. Register via phone at 568-0070. 


Perhaps the most famous event of the whole weekend is the waiter's race, a sprint (more of a power walk) through the Quarter in which servers do their best to balance their beverage trays. It's too late to register, but it's free to watch (route below). 


Director of Alliance Francaise Aurelie Champvert said the celebration benefits tourists as much as it does locals.


“In France it’s really a celebration of freedom and human rights, and that is the message we want to carry,” she said. “In France it is a family event, and it’s about enjoying the time. We thought this could fit well with the way of life in New Orleans."


Full Schedule of Events:


July 12:


Bastille Day Kickoff


Cocktail Party, Dijon Restaurant (1379 Annunication), 7pm-10pm. Free


July 13:


French Dog Contest


Dutch Alley (between Dumaine and Phillip Streets), 9am-10am. Register 568-0770.


Sidewalk Parade


French Market Performance Pavillion, following the dog parade. Free


French Quarter Walking Tour


Joan of Arc Statue (Decatur & St. Phillip) to the Old U.S. Mint, 2pm-3pm. Free. First come, first serve, up to 20 people. No reservations. Arrive 10-15 minutes prior to the tour.


Bastille Day Fete 

Old U.S. Mint (400 Esplanade Avenue), 3pm-8pm. Live music, food and drink vendors, kids’ activities, live radio broadcast with Paris & other U.S. celebrations.


Old U.S. Mint (400 Esplanade Avenue), 3pm-8pm. Live music, food and drink vendors, kids’ activities, live radio broadcast with Paris & other U.S. celebrations.

Musical Lineup: 3:15-4:15pm Pascal Valcasara 4:45-5:45pm Dorian et ses Chansons 6:15-7:45pm Meschiya Lake


Faubourg St. John Block Party


3100 block of Ponce de Leon, free. Music, drinks, arts, and more


4-14 Fest


Dijon (1379 Annunciation St.) Celebrity chef French-Centric wine dinner, 7pm. $100. RSVP 522-4712


Bastille Day Tumble


500 block of Frenchmen Street, 8pm. Win the Pair-A-Dice tumblers. Free.


July 14- Bastille Day:


Wreath Laying Ceremony


Joan of Arc Statue, 10:30am. Free


French Quarter Walking Tour


Joan of Arc Statue to the Old U.S. Mint. First come, first serve, up to 20 people. No reservations. Arrive 15-20 minutes prior to the tour. Free.


French Cooking Demos & Music


French Market, 11am-3pm, free


4-14 Fest


Dijon (1379 Annunciation Street). Gourmet brunch, family friendly. Cocktails, kids’ activities. $30 for adults, $15 for kids. RSVP: 522-4172



Picnic and Vintage French Car Show


Dauphine and Frenchmen Streets, near Washington Square Park, 12pm-4pm. My House Nola and CitroeNola Automobile Club present an afternoon full of food trucks and French cars. Brigade Coffee, La Cocinita, Empanada Intifada, Food Drunk, Rue Chow, the NOLA Truck, Nate the Pie Guy


Bartenders and Waiters Race


French Market, 4pm-5pm. Free. Deadline to register has passed. Come out and watch!


Trinity Artist Series Concert, ‘Chanson d’Amour d’Hier et Aujourd’hui’


Trinity Episcopal Church (1329 Jackson Avenue), 5pm. Free. Singer/Pianist Albinas Prizgintas will perform songs by Aznavour, Piaf, Gainsbourg, and Brel. Baritone Dorian Hall singing songs by Bizet, Faure, Ravel, and more. Handicap access and elevator available.


Helen Gillet Celebrates Bastille Day


Snug Harbor (626 Frenchmen Street), 8pm, 10pm. $12 per show. 

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