Trombone Shorty Academy

In the Jazz Fest Kids Area, young Festivalgoers and their families can enjoy a wide variety of cultural, technological, and free-spirited fun in three shaded tents, a family recreation area, and a relaxing Peace Garden. It is a special place where kids can see performances, participate in art-making activities, play interactive games and learn about the unique cultural and natural heritage of Louisiana.

 At the heart of the Jazz Fest Kids Area is the Ochsner Children’s Tent. Sponsored by Ochsner Children’s Hospital, this iconic Festival tent features a vibrant music stage with live performances and shows specifically tailored for children. Talented musicians and other performers will grace the stage, captivating the young audience with interactive and age-appropriate music programming. From catchy sing-alongs to energetic dance routines, the stage has been a destination for exciting family entertainment for decades.

Visitors to the Cultural Arts Tent can experience the various creative processes involved in creating and preserving the cultural heritage of Mardi Gras.  Arts demonstrations and hands-on activities are led by Caroline Thomas, the artistic director, designer, and lead painter for the Krewe of Rex and the Krewe of Proteus parades, and Dana Bueler, whose work can be seen in the Krewe of Iris and Krewe of Pygmalion parades. Kids will be able to meet and work with other guest artists, including Mardi Gras flower makers, float painters and builders, paper mâché sculptors, puppeteers, costume makers, and organizations that promote sustainability in Mardi Gras.

Each day young Festivalgoers can participate in engaging activities, including painting paper mâché, designing their own costumes and floats, and creating sustainable Mardi Gras throws. A highlight in the Cultural Arts tent will be local culture bearers who guide kids in creating traditional crafts like the hand fans of the Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs and the second line umbrellas of the Baby Dolls. Outside the tent, kids can enjoy a mini Mardi Gras float designed just for the Jazz Fest Kids Area by a local float builder. And each Saturday at 2:00 pm a petit carnival parade will delight visitors to the Kids Area. Kids can join the parade carrying banners and flags while marching with a local high school band as the parade winds through the Kids Area.

At the Ochsner Children’s Activity Tent, the Ochsner Education & Community Outreach team will engage Festival kids and families with fun, STEM focused health and wellness activities.  Whether it’s competing in a quick memory challenge about New Orleans and Jazz Fest or learning how to use a stethoscope – participants will enjoy stopping by the Ochsner Children’s Activity Tent during the Festival.  There will even be an opportunity to learn about family genetics and healthy nutritional choices!

New this year to the Kids Area is our Interactive Technology Tent. Young Festivalgoers can create personalized GIF’s with local video producer and filmmaker Gerald McLaughlin. It’s motion graphics fun for the whole family using props and a green screen. Once created, kids will receive a digital takeaway to share with their friends and families.

The Pontchartrain Conservancy also joins the Interactive Technology Tent with an augmented reality 3-D Sandbox, underwater remote operated vehicles (ROVs) and microscopes to look at the microplastics in our waters. The augmented reality 3-D Sandbox is where technology meets geology! A sandbox filled with ordinary sand, but with a twist – as you shape and mold the sand with your hands, colorful digital landscapes materialize before your eyes, projected onto the sand’s surface. From towering mountains to winding rivers, the possibilities are endless!

Explorers of all ages can dive into the depths of exploration with underwater ROVs. Let your imagination take the plunge as you control these mini submarines, navigating through an underwater world of wonder. Learn about marine life and environmental conservation while having a blast maneuvering through obstacle courses and discovering hidden treasures. Using microscopes, kids can observe microplastics and learn how long it takes for different items of marine debris to degrade and the things they can do to lessen their impact on the environment.

Spend some time in the JF Kids Peace Garden. Designed for natural play, it offers mindful movement, games and activities that use quiet observation and play for a gentle sensory experience as well as a place to sit and rest. A mini tent in the garden features certified yoga teachers to engage all ages and abilities in empowering and fun activities, including mini classes and mindful crafts like Peace Flags, tissue paper flowers, and mandala coloring. Other Peace Garden activities vary day by day and include self-guided watercolor painting, hand pan drumming, chalk art, weaving, sun prints, and poetry writing.

And the fun doesn’t stop there! For Tweens, we have a Silent Disco Dance Party from 3:00-5:00 pm everyday inside a portable dance club. The Family Recreation Area has games and activities to entertain and provide an environment where families can play together. Kids can work with local artists to create sustainable artwork. On Friday, April 26, artist Kenneth Scott, Jr and art students from Warren Easton Charter School will guide kids to create a piece of art to take home with them. And you can help artist Jackie Inglefield create an art installation using recycled plastic bottles. Come pass a good time in the Jazz Fest Kids Area!

 

ARTWORK

The Banner Project, showcased in the Ochsner Children’s Tent, has been bringing color to the Jazz Fest Kids Area and exhibiting the work of phenomenal young local artists for over 40 years. This year, the Festival provided art materials to Orleans Parish public school teachers and student-artists created banners inspired by the guest country, Columbia, as well as the vibrant culture of New Orleans. The student-artists are invited to see their work hanging at the Festival, connecting their creative output with the amazing professional craftspeople and musicians celebrated. After the Festival, the banners are returned to the schools and a brand-new batch is created the next year!

2024 banners featured in the Kids Area have been created under the direction of their teachers by the students of the following public schools:

  • Sarah Dearie -Audubon Charter School, Uptown Lower Campus
  • Wheeler Moorman, Teresa Anasagasti, Sara Rendant, Charlie Vaughn – Morris Jeff Community School
  • Dixey Faciane – ReNEW Charter Schools, Firstline Charter Schools (do you need the specific schools versus the charter networks Dixey works with?)
  • Poppy Miles – Eleanor McMain Secondary School and Dwight Eisenhower Charter School
  • Elise Bellard Russell – Elan Academy
  • MiWha Morrison – Young Audiences Charter School, Elementary School
  • Valorie Polmer – Homer Plessy Charter School
  • Christine Bagneris – The Willow Middle School