Only in New Orleans: Free fun, fried food beckon dad on his day

Father’s Day is Sunday, and for those looking for a festive yet frugal way to spend the day as a family, the Audubon Zoo has things covered.

To be precise, the Audubon Zoo has things covered with tasty batter and deep-fried, since Father’s Day happens to coincide with the second day of the Southern Fried Swamp Festival.

Dads get in free, and besides the animals, train rides and shady vistas, the zoo is offering food vendors, music and crafts.

The celebration of treats cooked in bubbling grease will tempt dads with indulgences from deep-fried alligator on a stick to sweet potato fries, from fried seafood grits with Cajun sauce to a good ol’ fried oyster po-boy.

Brandon Moreau and his Cajungrass perform at the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit at 1:30 p.m., and Big Sam’s Funky Nation plays at the Capital One stage at 3 p.m. For more information, go to

Swing is the thing

If swing music is Dad’s favorite, consider inviting him to a free concert by the Crescent City Big Band at 5 p.m. on Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1329 Jackson Ave.

Louis Pendarvis directs the performance, featuring music of the World War II era.

The band, which performs music from the 1930s and onwards, has played all over South Louisiana. The concert is part of the ongoing Trinity Artist Series, which stages a free concert in the magnificent old church every Sunday evening. For more information, call (504) 710-6299.

Free musical play

Dads like free, right? Well, who doesn’t? Admission is always free at the St. Luke United Methodist Church’s summer musical.

This year the play is “Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

There will be a matinee performance Sunday at 2 p.m.; the play continues next weekend, June 19-22, with performances at 7:30 p.m.

The church is located at 5875 Canal Blvd. For more information, call (504) 486-3982.

Books and Beasts at Ashé

The Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., will also lure families on Father’s Day with a food- and fun-centered fundraiser called Books and Beasts, benefiting the New Orleans Public Library and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum’s culinary library. Five dollars gets you in to enjoy the art and live music from Zazou City and the Siren Sisters, as well as stage performances by the Muff-A-Lottas and the Camel Toe Lady Steppers. There are kids’ activities, and local vendors will sell books for Dad to enjoy in his easy chair.

Food vendors include Reconcile, Cochon, Cowbell, Herbsaint, Ms. Linda Green, Parkway Bakery, Peche Seafood Grill and Pizza Delicious. A $50 wristband lets you sample everything; food will also be available on a pay-as-dad-goes basis. The event will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Call (504) 569-0405 for more information.

Annette Sisco is community news editor. She can be reached at