Go Fourth on the River
July 4, 2015
Looking for a fun place to celebrate our nation’s birthday? Look no further than New Orleans. A fireworks display rated one of the best in America awaits you while you enjoy a weekend of fun things to do in the historic and scenic Crescent City.
It all happens on Independence Day, Saturday, July 4 over the Mississippi River, adjacent to the storied French Quarter where boutiques, art galleries, antique shops and many other businesses roll out the red (and white and blue) carpet for our visitors and locals alike.
Weather conditions permitting, the fireworks spectacular will begin aboard “dueling barges” anchored at mid-river at 9:00 p.m. Each barge will be trying to out-do the other with a colorful, sonic-booming aerial display usually lasting 15-20 minutes. After that, it’s time to go out and party in the French Quarter and celebrate the anniversary of our nation’s birth.
Rated a “Top 20 Event” by the Southeast Tourism Society and one of the “Top Five Must-See Fireworks Displays in the U.S.” by the American Pyrotechnics Association, last year’s celebration featured some unique innovations. These included nautical floating shells that, when launched, land on the water’s surface, creating a towering, glittering fountain of sparks and brilliant colors.
The fireworks can be viewed from either side of the river. On the French Quarter side the best views are from Woldenberg Park between the Governor Nicholls Street Wharf and Spanish Plaza, adjacent to the Canal Street Ferry landing. Crescent Park, which runs along the Marigny/Bywater neighborhoods, also offers sweeping views of the river, especially at the overlook just off of the Piety Street footbridge. Those who wish to enjoy the colorful extravaganza against a backdrop of the city skyline can hop aboard the Canal Street Ferry and grab a great view from the levee in Algiers Point. From either vantage point it is a breathtaking panoply of patriotism! Bring your blankets, chairs, ice chests and more, then relax and enjoy.
Those who wish to get the closest views of the display can make reservations to board one of the two still-operating riverboat paddle-wheelers, the Natchez and the Creole Queen. Both vessels are offering cruises that evening, along with dinner and live entertainment. For a real New Orleans experience you’ll remember forever, this is the way to enjoy our nation’s 239th birthday!
To make your reservations for the Creole Queen call (504) 529-4567 or (800) 445-4109 or book online.
For the Natchez call (504) 569-1401 or (800) 233-2628 or go online to www.SteamboatNatchez.com.
For a simulcast of the fireworks, accompanied by patriotic music, bring your radios or other reception devices to the Riverfront and tune in to either WWL 870 AM, WWL-FM, WWL.com or Magic 101.9 FM.
Ample parking is available in the twin garages at Harrah’s Casino and Hotel (Poydras Street and Convention Center Boulevard), the New Orleans Hilton Riverside (Poydras Street and the river), the French Market, the garage in The Shops at Canal Place, the Jax Brewery parking lot and many other lots and garages in the nearby French Quarter and downtown business district.
The Audubon Institute is offering discounted coupons to its downtown attractions - the Aquarium of the Americas at Woldenberg Park along the Mississippi Riverfront, and the Audubon Insectarium (with its spectacular butterfly garden) on Canal Street in the historic old Customs House building. From Thursday through Sunday, July 2-5, you can get $4 off a single ticket adult or child admission.
And to commemorate its 25th anniversary, the Port of New Orleans will bring out the General Roy S. Kelley fireboat to make a return appearance along the river, with its famed water show beginning at 6:00 p.m. and leading up to the 9:00 p.m. fireworks show. The Gen. Kelley was used by the Port of New Orleans to fight fires, give tours, and conduct search-and-rescue missions on the Mississippi River. Built in 1994, the Gen. Kelley is 95 ft. long and 16 ft. wide with a 7 ft. draft. It seats 24 and typically has a crew of three.
Want to take some breathtaking photos of the fireworks? Before the big display, sign up for Zack Smith’s Firework Photography workshop from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. at Scott Edward’s Gallery on Decatur Street. You’ll learn all the secrets and key tricks to taking unbeatable photos of the stunning firework show.
Check back for the most up-to-date information on July 4th in New Orleans, by visiting www.go4thontheriver.com.