The 9th Annual New Orleans Burlesque Festival, September 14-17

Photo by Darrell Miller. Courtesy of New Orleans Burlesque Festival.

If you’re in town during the third weekend of September, check out the annual Burlesque Festival, an international event that brings together the best of local talent and some big international names. Dancers, emcees, comics, singers, and variety-act performers will be doing two shows nightly at two locations, Harrah’s and House of Blues. Tickets are $22-$57 for individual events. The festival will also host parties, workshops and panels (see schedule highlights below). All parties are open to the public but age restrictions may apply.

Burlesque was one of the main attractions in the French Quarter in the 1940s-60s, featuring the largest concentration of burlesque clubs than anywhere in the country. It’s made Bourbon Street famous and launched many careers. Some of the most famous burlesque dancers to this day have performed in clubs on Bourbon Street — Evangeline the Oyster Girl, Lily Christine the Cat Girl, Blaze Starr. It’s only fitting that New Orleans is now the epicenter of the modern-day burlesque revival, with this festival carrying on the tradition of the golden age of burlesque since 2009.

The festival’s Opening Champagne Gala gets things going on Thursday, September 14, at Bar Loa at International House Hotel. The two main shows on Friday are the Mondo Burlesque show at Harrah’s (21-plus only) and the Bad Girls of Burlesque at the House of Blues (18-plus).

The main event will be held on Saturday at the Civic Theatre, featuring a classic striptease competition accompanied by a live jazz band. The winner will be selected by a celebrity judge panel and crowned as the “Queen of Burlesque.” The 2016’s winner, Minxie Mimieux, will also perform.

Photo by Darrell Miller. Courtesy of New Orleans Burlesque Festival.

The festival ends on Sunday with two hotel parties. A topless-optional pool party at The Drifter Hotel in Mid-City starts at noon. Later that day, a rooftop party at Catahoula Hotel in downtown New Orleans will close the event.

Below are the festival’s main event highlights. You can also check the festival’s Facebook page for more details and updates.

New Orleans Burlesque Festival Event Highlights

Photo by Darrell Miller. Courtesy of New Orleans Burlesque Festival.

Opening Champagne Gala

The festival’s opening party will honor Rita Alexander the Champagne Girl. Live Music by The Tangiers Combo.

When: Thursday, September 14, 8-11 p.m.

Where: Loa Bar, International House Hotel

Cost: Free

Mondo Burlesque

A 21-plus extravaganza featuring a variety of performers, including the most famous local and international names in burlesque today.

When: Friday, September 15, 8 p.m.

Where: Harrah’s

Cost: Tickets $30/$35/$50

Bad Girls of Burlesque

The 18-plus annual show described by the event organizers as a “rowdy celebration of the wicked, the wayward, and the wanton.”

When: Friday, September 15, 8 and 10:30 p.m.

Where: House of Blues

Cost: Tickets $22/$42/$57

The Queen of Burlesque

The main event of the festival during which the striptease dancers compete for the title of “Queen of Burlesque.” Performances are set to live jazz music. Special performance by 2016 Queen of Burlesque Minxie Mimieux.

When: Saturday, September 16, doors open at 7 p.m.

Where: Civic Theatre

Cost: Tickets $40/$45/$50

Photo by Darrell Miller. Courtesy of New Orleans Burlesque Festival.

It’s Burlesque!

An international striptease showcase.

When: Saturday, September 16, 8 and 10:30 p.m.

Where: House of Blues

Cost: Tickets $22/$42/$57

Pool Party at The Drifter Hotel

Get into the topless-optional saltwater pool at The Drifter, a recently opened retro boutique hotel on Tulane Avenue in Mid-City.

When: Sunday, September 17, noon-3 p.m.

Where: The Drifter Hotel

Cost: $10 entry, free for NOBF performers

Closing party at Catahoula Hotel

A closing party with live music on the rooftop terrace of the Downtown boutique hotel.

When: Sunday, September 17, 6-9 p.m.

Where: Catahoula Hotel

Cost: Free


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