LIKE ITS SIGNATURE DISH, GUMBO, Louisiana is a spicy stew comprised of many distinctive elements: African-American, Cajun, Creole, Latin, French, Cuban, Isleño, Native American and practically everything in between. To experience this unique culture firsthand, step into the Louisiana Folklife Village and discover many of the state’s generations-old traditions and cultural highlights. Here, you can see artists create elaborate sculptures for Mardi Gras floats, blacksmiths forge decorative ironwork for French Quarter balconies, musicians meticulously handcraft accordions and Mardi Gras Indians bead their suits. Learn how to knit a shrimp net, build a pirogue or glitter a Muses shoe. These are only a few of the dozens of traditions featured in the Louisiana Folklife Village that bear witness to our state’s unique cultural and diverse history.


A component of the Folklife Village, the Native American Village celebrates the rich heritage of our state’s indigenous peoples. Here you can see demonstrations of traditional indigenous crafts from many of the Louisiana Native tribes such as the art of basket weaving, wood carving, and beadwork. You can also taste traditional Native American foods such as fry bread and maque choux while enjoying traditional pow wow dancing.


The Grandstand gives Festival-goers a chance to take an intimate look at the vibrant culture, cuisine and art of Louisiana in an air-conditioned environment. This year’s programs includes Special Exhibits spanning both weekends on the 1st Floor, West Wing, and four intriguing stages: Food Heritage Stage (1st Floor East), the Allison Miner Music Heritage Stage (2nd floor East), and the Lagniappe Stage (in the outdoor paddock).


The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s Commitment to celebrating New Orleans’ and Louisiana’s multicultural heritage culminated with the Festival’s inaugural Cultural Exchange Pavilion in 1996, which was dedicated to the music and culture of Haiti. Since then, the Pavilion has been a hub of cultural exchange, where Festival-goers and local artists have mingled with master craftsmen and performers from Haiti, Mali, Panama, Brazil, South Africa, Martinique, Belize and Cuba.

Every year, the Pavilion brims with colorful artist demonstrations, live music and dance showcases, parades, cultural displays, photo exhibits and authentic cuisine which infuse other areas of the Festival. With its culturally-unique programming, intimate stage, dancing crowds and family-friendly atmosphere, the Cultural Exchange Pavilion is a destination not to be missed.