This is New Orleans. The place is almost an event in itself, and the social diary in these parts takes some beating...
Mardi Gras; February or March: This is the party to top all parties in New Orleans. The annual Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday), which marks the start of Lent, is an explosion of costumes, colour, balls, revelry and long parade routes. The riders will throw trinkets from their floats for partygoers to collect. It's a fun-filled riot with plenty going on in the days and weeks around the main day.
Tennessee Williams and the New Orleans Literary Festival; March: This five-day celebration honours perhaps the most famous playwright of the Deep South, Tennessee Williams. Plays, readings and other literary proceedings take place around this annual event - a must for fans of the writer and his most famous work, A Streetcar Named Desire, which is set in New Orleans.
Louisiana Swamp Romp; April: Combine music and food at this annual party. A fantastic line-up of Cajun musicians is dished up alongside platters of Cajun food, such as crawfish, cornbread and gumbo.
French Quarter Festival; April: This free festival features a host of musical performances over four days in spring. The French Quarter is even more buzzing than usual and the entire event ends in a display of fireworks over the mighty Mississippi.
Satchmo Summerfest; August: If you love Louis Armstrong, you'll want to stake your place at the Satchmo Summerfest. The trumpeter and singer from New Orleans is celebrated with four days of jazz, seminars and plenty of fun.