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New Orleans’ 300th birthday is just around the corner. For its tricentennial in 2018, the city is planning dozens of special events and programs to commemorate the big [easy] milestone. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu shared his vision for New Orleans’ tricentennial in his inauguration speech back in 2014, after being elected to serve a second term. To ensure the milestone unfolds in spectacular fashion, Mayor Landrieu put together a committee of well-known New Orleanians to plan for the occasion. What does New Orleans have in store for its tricentennial year? To give you a better idea, let’s take a look at some projects that NOLA has in the works.

  1. TriPod: New Orleans at 300 – Produced by Laine Kaplan-Levenson of WWNO (New Orleans Public Radio) in collaboration with The Historic New Orleans Collection and the Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies at the University of New Orleans, Tripod features some of public radio’s best storytelling. Each episode of the podcast is devoted to a single story from the annals of New Orleans’ history. The series explores lesser-known pieces of New Orleans history and culture and also re-examines myths about the city’s past that longtime NOLA residents will appreciate.tripod
  2. Jazz – Just in time for New Orleans’ 300th anniversary, two historically significant jazz landmarks in the city will be resurrected. The Eagle Saloon and The Iroquois Theatre—which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places—are both in various states of disrepair following years of neglect and storm damage. The re-opening of these buildings is one of many music-oriented projects that are in the works for NOLA’s tricentennial. Among other collaborations, The Apollo Theater in Harlem has commissioned Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra to compose a special piece of music in celebration of New Orleans’ tricentennial. 400 block south rampart
  3. Additions to Louis Armstrong International Airport – Louis Armstrong International Airport is slated for a makeover. Plans are underway to build a brand new terminal at the New Orleans airport. The project, which will cost $807 million, is the largest construction project to break ground in New Orleans since the Superdome began construction in 1975. According to the building contract, the new airport terminal at Louis Armstrong will open on October 1, orleans airport
  4. Intersection of Art & Tech – LUNA Fête is the New Orleans Art Council’s five-year initiative to produce a series of large scale outdoor light installations leading up to the city’s 2018 tricentennial. The initiative aims to utilize the city’s iconic architecture as the canvas for contemporary light installation, motion graphics, and video-mapping practices.

    LUNA Fete sets Gallier Hall aglow

    LUNA Fete sets Gallier Hall aglow

  5. Empowering Women in New Orleans – NOLA4WOMEN plans to celebrate the city’s tricentennial in 2018 by hosting an international summit on women and girls. The work that NOLA4WOMEN engages in seeks to improve the lives of women and girls who live along the Gulf Coast. “It is heartening and wonderful to see so many people interested in the future of women and girls in this city,” says Kathy Seligman, a founder of the organization.


    Photo of Mother Catherine Seals, from NOLA4Women exhibit: “Teachers and Leaders: Photographs of Women in New Orleans.”

  6. ‘Turn The Page’ Literacy Campaign – The New Orleans Public Library, in collaboration with 10 regional parish libraries, launched the “Turn the Page” literacy campaign in 2014 with the goal of making New Orleans the most literate city in the U.S. before the city’s 300th birthday in 2018.

More New Orleans’ tricentennial celebrations are still being planned. Speaking to the larger meaning behind New Orleans’ tricentennial, Walter Isaacson (who is a member of Mayor Landrieu’s Tricentennial Committee) says, “The 300-year history of New Orleans is a tale of creativity, enterprise, turmoil, triumph, and the magic of diversity. I look forward to celebrating it all and looking at how it propels us into the future.”