Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo
Bayou St. John at Orleans Avenue; www.thebayouboogaloo.com
The Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo has grown from a small festival on the grassy stretch of Bayou St. John near Orleans Avenue to a sprawling three-day, three-stage event with a large art market and activities extending between Lafitte and Dumaine Streets. Its roots now reach into the surrounding community and include partnerships with neighborhood organizations.
Jared Zeller created the festival in 2006, when many residents were still rebuilding from post-Hurricane Katrina flooding. The event has grown into a popular neighborhood festival with a wide array of musical offerings. This year, performers include Donald Harrison and Congo Nation, the Washboard Chaz Blues Trio, Delfeayo Marsalis' Sweet Thunder, Rockin' Dopsie Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters, Los Po-Boy-Citos, Tuba Skinny, Cyril Neville's Tribe 13, Jumpin' Johnny Sansone, DJ Brice Nice, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux's Golden Eagles with Billy Iuso, Grupo Fantasma and others.
As the festival has grown, it has developed relationships that emphasize green living and other causes.
"We're trying to be a socially conscious festival," Zeller says. "We ask our food vendors to compost, and (we) have put solar panels on some stages. We're definitely trying to push social awareness."
A bicycle second-line procession is intended to encourage festivalgoers to bike to the event. The Metro Bicycle Coalition organized the bicycle second line. It begins at 10 a.m. Sunday at the corner of Bienville Street and North Jefferson Davis Parkway, and bikers will tour Mid-City, led by a brass band aboard a truck.
The Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club's 5K Zulu Run to Ride encourages recreation and will raise funds for community organizations. The run begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, and proceeds benefit the New Orleans Recreation Department and the Zulu Community Activity Charities.
"Part of our mission is to encourage social change by promoting recreation," Zeller says. "[The festival] raises social awareness on various issues and needs throughout the community, specifically recreational and environmental issues."
Some events benefit Zeller's Mothership Foundation. A bicycle pub crawl begins at 7 a.m. at the Buttermilk Drop Bakery and Cafe (1781 N. Dorgenois St.). Proceeds benefit the Mothership Foundation and the Mid-City Volleyball Group. Sunday's Rubber Duck Derby is a race for rubber ducks in Bayou St. John. Proceeds benefit Second Harvest Food Bank.
The festival's art market features an array of local crafts people and artists who work in a variety of media. Food and drink vendors include Boucherie, Crepes a La Cart, Lazaro's Pizza and Po-Boys, Cool Fruit Sensations, Brocato's Eat Dat, Lemonade Parade, Meltdown Popsicles, Saltwater Grill, Woody's Fish Tacos and others. The festival also features a health and wellness area where attendees can get massages and complimentary shampoo.
"(The Festival) is free and there are lots of activities for the whole family," Zeller says.