Home to a one-of-a-kind melting pot of culture, food, and entertainment, New Orleans is one of the most unique destinations in America. The Crescent City is full of epicurean delights, and visitors will encounter a variety of cuisine options including Cajun, Creole, Southern Comfort, and more. Some can't miss eating establishments include GW Fins, Commander's Palace, and Brigtsen’s Restaurant. All visitors should make time for the French Quarter, which was founded in 1718 making it the oldest part of the city. Here travelers can tour historic buildings, visit favorite night spots, and learn about the city’s rich heritage at a variety of museums.
NOLA Pyrate Week is one of the top pirate centric celebrations in the region, and it will take place March 30 to April 8 in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Visitors will encounter a giant pirate-themed adventure complete with art, music, food, and special events. The Week kicks off with a Pyrate Party (Friday, March 30) at the Pirates Alley Cafe & Old Absinthe House, where patrons can sample light snacks and libations while interacting with the event crew. Then patrons can partake in the New Orleans Vampire History Tour (Saturday, March 31) which highlights the legend of vampires in New Orleans. Those looking for an immersive Big Easy experience will love the Chris Owens French Quarter Easter Parade (Sunday, April 1) and the Gay Easter Parade, both of which include vibrant floats and entertainment. The Volunteer Bead Recycling with ARC of Greater New Orleans is a fun event where volunteers help sort the leftover beads from the parades, with proceeds going to the ARC. All attendees should check out the Family Pyrate Day. Here attendees of all ages can enjoy live music, sample foods, play games, and more. The event donates to a variety of local causes annually that support re-building the community, preserving the environment, and helping animal shelters. We interviewed Capt. John Swallow, to learn more about this can’t miss pirate-themed celebration.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
CJS: We pyrates were in New Orleans just after Hurricane Katrina and wondered how we might help out in the community. Two years later, we officially started NOLA Pyrate Week - a way to involve our mates in the pyrate community with some volunteering & fundraising efforts in New Orleans, while enjoying the hospitality o' the city and helping promote it to others.
RAL: How many annual attendees do you draw?
CJS: We're not a "festival" or ticketed event, so we have no way to count the number o' folks who gather with us from year to year. However, we can say for sure that we have had visitors come from all over the US, Canada, the UK, France, and Australia. Even the French Consul in Louisiana has attended our event!
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
CJS: We attract pyrates and anyone who is interested in pyrates. While many things we do are for the 21+ crowd, we do host a "Family Pyrate Day" with events and activities for families and children. We also go to local schools to chat with students about real pyrate history and how it applies to Louisiana and the U.S.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
CJS: Activities vary from day to day and year to year. The first night we have a gathering in one o' the most historic locations in New Orleans, Pirate Alley, at the world-famous Pirates Alley Café & Olde Absinthe House. Drinks, snacks and a chance to meet The Crew and share some tales - tall or otherwise. We have joined volunteering efforts that have ranged from helping remediate homes in the Lower 9th Ward, to walking shelter dogs, Bayou cleanup to entertaining seniors. Family Pyrate Day is a free event with more o' a festival atmosphere: merchants, artisans, live music, children's authors, food & drink. There is also a tour set for one day or evening (or often, both). Some o' our best mates are licensed tour guides and have a wealth o' information to share.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
CJS: Who needs guests, when ye have pyrates? Some o' us have appeared in dozens o' films and TV. Others are notable for creating things (costuming, props, etc.), and local authors. Ye never know who will show up!
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
CJS: It was pyrates who brought BBQ to the US (Buccaneer is rooted in the French word Boucanier - grilling meat over a fire pit - a traditional cooking method for the indigenous peoples o' the Caribbean). We do introduce folks to the best places to eat in and around New Orleans - from BBQ to traditional Italian, crawfish boil to Po’ boy, breakfast to late night snacks.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
CJS: Abso-floggin-lootlee! We primarily support smaller businesses in the local economy - introducing folks to places off the "tourist trap" trail and even local community groups that can use their assistance (as volunteers or with donations).
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
CJS: Part o' our mandate has always been to support special causes and most often smaller ones that need the help. It's hard to ignore a bunch o' pyrates asking ye to lend a hand! Over the years we have (and continue) to support rebuilding efforts, cleanup groups, wetlands restoration, animal shelters and more. As our official trademark states, "Take what ye can, GIVE something back!"
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
CJS: If ye want to meet some real pyrates, see some authentic history & culture, learn things about New Orleans & Louisiana ye never knew, and meet some great folks... be a VISITOR, not a tourist!
For more information about NOLA Pyrate Week, please visit the event website.