Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month at Carnaval Latino

Carnaval Latino
Photo courtesy of Carnaval Latino on Facebook

The vibrant celebration of the National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) ends in grand style on Saturday, October 13, with the 19th annual Carnaval Latino. The free festival is organized by the Hispanic American Musicians and Artists Cultural Association, Inc. (HAMACA) and will have Latin music from different parts of the world, food and drink, art, and, of course, a parade.

New Orleans has one of the oldest Hispanic communities in the country — which traces its beginnings to the Spanish rule that preceded the French — and all the way to the modern times, as the city is currently experiencing a robust influx of immigrants from Mexico, Honduras, and other parts of the Latin American world.

The Carnaval started small 19 years ago as a way to celebrate Hispanic culture in New Orleans through music, food and art. Now it’s grown to include a parade, more food and art vendors, and the internationally acclaimed musicians from all over the world. The Carnaval attracts not just locals but visitors from outside New Orleans and Louisiana, and has become an essential part of the local celebration of the National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The festivities will be kicked off with the annual Parade of the Americas, or “Desfile De Las Americas,” a fun and unique way to celebrate the city’s tricentennial and the National Hispanic Heritage Month. The pre-parade party starts at 2 p.m. in the Washington Square Park (700 Elysian Fields Ave.), featuring DJs and authentic Latin cuisine from the local vendors including Los Jefes and Agave House.

The parade will form on Elysian Fields Avenue by Washington Square Park by 6 p.m. It’s only fitting that the parade will roll through the historic French Quarter, described on the festival’s website as “the most Hispanic neighborhood of our country, rebuilt from the ashes of two great fires by the Spanish Governors of Louisiana in the late 1700s.”

Just like in the previous year, the Krewe of Quetzal will roll with about 20 floats, many with their own personalized throws. The floats will be accompanied by the marching folkloric groups and bands, all featuring costumes that celebrate national roots. Don’t miss the opportunity to check out the eye-catching handcrafted float designs and colorful pageantry representing various Latin countries like Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and more.

The parade will go down Decatur Street from its starting point on Elysian Fields, making its way to Canal Street, and eventually ending in the Warehouse District at Generations Hall, a spacious event venue and a former sugar refinery built in the early 1820s. There, the festivities will continue with the Latin music concert featuring a lineup of international and local bands that will be playing traditional folk music, salsa, mambo, and more — to get the festival-going on their feet and dancing.

For more information on the parade route, the Grand Marshall and this year’s Queen, as well as other special updates and tickets, please visit the festival’s website and Facebook page.

Be “en ese número”!