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Staff Recommendations: Get Excited for Festival Season

Kacy Helwick

Kacy Helwick

Kacy Helwick is the youth collection development librarian for the New Orleans Public Library

Growing up, April was always my favorite month of the year. It’s my birthday month (which is very important to a child) and it was the start of festival season. For most of my life my dad, Karl Helwick, was the bass drummer in the Storyville Stompers Brass Band and some of my favorite memories are seeing the band play at various festivals and feeling important since I got to visit the backstage areas. 

Now that festival season is finally upon us again, I’m beginning to feel that same giddy excitement I did as a child. So I want to share some great Library resources for enjoying music, food, history, and heritage to keep you in festival spirits throughout April and beyond!

Music

NOPL has an extensive music collection in physical CD format and your library card gives you access to both streaming and downloadable music. Check out our featured collection of CDs by 2022 Jazz Fest Artists on our catalog, visit Freegal for up to 6 hours of streaming a day and 7 free song downloads a week, and Hoopla where you can borrow up to 20 albums a month for 7-day periods. For Jazz Fest fans, I recommend checking out the Smithsonian/Folkways book/5-CD set Jazz Fest: the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival which features 50 live recordings from the first 50 years of the festival. 

Food

The food is definitely as important of a festival draw as the music. For those interested in trying their favorite recipes at home, the Library has copies of nearly every New Orleans-focused cookbook either in our circulating collection or available for in-library use in our City Archives & Special Collections located at the Main Library, which can be visited by appointment. Outside the city, the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival is scheduled for April 8-10, and we have a new strawberry-focused cookbook for this seasonal favorite: Strawberry Love: 45 Sweet and Savory Recipes for Shortcakes, Hand Pies, Salads, Salsas and More. 

Reads

For parents, there are so many great books that you can share with your children to teach them about New Orleans musical heroes, like Mahalia Jackson and Trombone Shorty, or about the importance of New Orleans history like Freedom in Congo Square. Or you can share local authors’ fiction titles like The Case of the Left-Hand Trombone, where a kid detective needs to solve the mystery of musicians’ instruments going missing right before French Quarter Fest. 

Upcoming Festivals

Nix Library is Open

After more than a year of renovations, Nix Library is back open to the public. The construction included the addition of an accessible bathroom, a wheelchair lift, and automatic doors, bringing the 92-year-old building up to ADA standards.

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