Every third weekend of May, Friends of Bayou St. John celebrates Louisiana’s music, art, food, and culture through its Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo Festival, held along the historic and beautiful urban waterway of Bayou St. John.
The Bayou Boogaloo was started in 2006 as a way to revive the people of post-Katrina New Orleans and to provide inspiration for rebuilding within Mid-City. Friends of Bayou St John established the festival with a mission to restore the social fabric of Mid-City and Faubourg St. John; to connect neighbors, neighborhoods, and businesses; and to provide hope for the future by creating an opportunity for all residents to celebrate the heritage, culture, and diversity of New Orleans.
At its inception, the Boogaloo was a one-day, one-stage event that attracted nearly 5,000 people. But thanks to the festival’s mission and diverse community-based approach, the festival has been able to experience tremendous growth over the last thirteen years and has become the backbone for Friends of Bayou St John to expand its programming. The Boogaloo is now a four-stage, three-day festival that attracts roughly 15,000 people annually, and Mid-City is now one of the most thriving neighborhoods in town!
The festival explores New Orleans’s musical roots in blues, jazz, zydeco, Cajun, funk, hip hop, and rock. Families are made welcome with a kids’ stage for children’s entertainment and activities for all ages.
The Boogaloo Art Market offers original works of art in a variety of mediums from 60 of Louisiana’s most celebrated artisans. The festival also boasts 30 Louisiana food vendors, serving a plethora of original recipes and traditional New Orleans cuisine.
The importance of the Bayou Boogaloo to New Orleans is apparent in the support the festival receives from neighborhood and citywide organizations.
The Mid-City Neighborhood Organization, Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association, and Parkview Neighborhood Organization all support the festival and function as collaborative action networks for local merchants and residents. Local NGOs like the Friends of Lafitte Greenway, the Youth Empowerment Project, Evacuteer.org and more also support and partner with the festival.
Bayou Boogaloo serves as Friends of Bayou St. John’s crucial outreach tool; it enables us to collaborate with other organizations, build awareness, and motivate citizens to become actively engaged in matters that affect their community.
The Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo has enabled Friends of Bayou St. John to reinvest in the community in many ways, including by becoming a valued partner to other non-profit organizations throughout New Orleans that rely on the annual festival to generate exposure and raise funds for their services. Every year, Friends of Bayou St. John selects a group of partner organizations to conduct outreach at the festival. These organizations each receive a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales. Since its inception, The Mid-City Bayou Boogaloo has raised over $160,500 for our community partners! If you or your organization is interested in learning more about how to become a community partner please click HERE.