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Things to do in New Orleans: Cinco de Mayo Festival

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Cinco de Mayo, Louisiana Style 

New Orleans is world famous for festivals that celebrate culture, food, music, and more. As one of the United States’ oldest cities and a centuries-old cultural crossroads, New Orleans is home to a wide variety of communities. Each of these communities finds a way to celebrate their culture in a way that dovetails with New Orleans’ festive nature. As the local Mexican community has blossomed in recent years, they have introduced festivals of their own, including one that celebrates the popular Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo. 

Origins of Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de mayo festival battle of puebla depiction

It is a common misconception that Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexican Independence Day. In fact, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory in the Battle of Puebla against French forces on May 5th, 1862. This victory occurred against challenging odds – the Mexicans were outnumbered and under-equipped. Their victory against the French invaders was a powerful morale boost at a crucial time. Then-President Benito Juarez later declared the date of the battle as a national holiday.  

In today’s Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily celebrated in the state of Puebla, where the namesake battle occurred. Other parts of the country participate, but it is considered a minor holiday. In the United States, however, Cinco de Mayo has become the premier national celebration of Mexican heritage. Cities with large Mexican populations like Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston throw massive Cinco de Mayo celebrations that feature parades, Mexican food, and traditional Mexican music.

Cinco de Mayo Festival New Orleans

Things to do in new orleans cinco de mayo festival

New Orleans has not historically been home to a large Mexican population. However, that has steadily been changing over the past 20 years! The largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in Louisiana is known as Cinco de Mayo Fest, and it takes place at Fat City Park in Metairie.

This vibrant festival is right at home in the New Orleans area, where every community enjoys hosting big public parties for their annual events. Festivities include lucha libre wrestling, the region’s largest taco eating contest, food trucks, and live music. Now in its 7th year, Cinco de Mayo Fest has become a beloved celebration of the area’s rapidly growing Mexican community. 

Cinco de Mayo Fest 2023: Schedule & Admission 

Things to do in new orleans

This one-day festival is organized by Los Jefes Grill and presented by Avión, Modelo Especial, and Yeah You Right Events. The festival will take place from 4-10 PM on Friday, May 5th. General admission is $25; VIP admission and a table service group package are available as well. This year’s Cinco de Mayo Fest will feature several live music performances, including DJ Mannie Fresh, Partners ‘N Crime, the Honey Island Swamp Band, and more. Profits from the festival will be donated to Ecco NOLA, a non-profit that supports the academic achievement of Hispanic high school students. 

See More with Swamp Tours New Orleans 

Cinco de Mayo in New Orleans offers a great opportunity to spend the rest of the weekend exploring the region. Swamp tours in New Orleans are the best way to learn more about Louisiana nature. On a New Orleans swamp tour, professional and knowledgeable guides will explain the ins and outs of Louisiana’s unique ecosystems and introduce you to all of the local flora and fauna. Alligators, pelicans, cypress trees and more are waiting for you just outside the city. Book your New Orleans swamp tour with Cajun Encounters today! 

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