A nations culture resides in the heart and the soul of its people. – Mahatma Gandhi
Good vibes, food, and music are three of the most important things in my life. That’s exactly what Bayou Bacchanal brings. Brought to you by Friends of Culture, Bayou Bacchanal brings Caribbean culture to the Greater New Orleans area. This annual event, that takes place every November during the first Saturday, is also known as “Carnival”. Not to confuse it with traditional carnivals, Bayou Bacchanal is a West Indian style carnival. Some of the Caribean islands represented are-Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Antigua, Guyana, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Barbados, Greneda, to name a few. The weekend is filled with parties, a parade downtown, and ends with good times in the park.
Free and open to the public, Bayou Bacchanal shares rich Caribbean culture with the general public. Introducing them to the unique and festive traditions that are celebrated through food, music, and dance. The festivities begin with a parade. Masquerades begin downtown and works their way to Armstrong Park. They range from the young to the elderly. Some dressed in extravagant costumes. Brightly colored, intricately detailed. Alternatively, you can find them in a t-shirt and shorts- covered in paint, baby powder and oil. Parading up and down the street, dancing to their favorite soca music. The parade ends with a huge fete in the park.
Fête in the Park
fête /fāt/- n. a celebration or festival
As with any celebration or festival- food, music, drink and a good time are the common themes. With Bayou Bacchanal it was no different. Taking place in the iconic Congo Square in Armstrong Park- walkers by can take part in the good food and feel good soca and reggae music. Vendors are available as well. Selling items unique to the Caribbean culture, such as flags, jewerly, clothing, and car accessories.
Party-goers can taste caribbean delicacies. Such as fried shark po-boys, curried chicken, goat, beef and roti, pelau, even vegan options. Caribbean drinks such as sorrel and mauby were also available to try. Bayou Bacchanal definitely links the Greater New Orleans area with its local caribbean culture. Giving eveyone who wishes to partake, a peek at true island culture. My favorite part of Carnival is the music. There’s something about the feel good vibes Caribbean music brings. I danced non-stop to the beat.
If you’re ever in the New Orleans area during the 1st weekend in November, I urge you to stop by- try good food and groove to the beat. Have you ever been to a Caribbean carnival? Let me know your most memorable experience(s) in the comments.