French Quarter Festival

Thursday through Sunday

What began as a local event to lure New Orleanians back to the Quarter has grown into “the largest free music festival in the South.” For four days, music will fill the air from 23 stages, and visitors from around the globe can listen while tasting some of the world’s top restaurateurs’ offerings. Music starts at 11 a.m. Thursday and Friday, 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Stages range throughout the area, from Spanish Plaza to the French Market, the river to Bourbon Street.

A Taste of Covington

Thursday through Sunday

Sponsored by the Covington Business Association, this is a wine and food lover’s weekend of joy on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Paired with the St. Tammany Art Association’s Spring for Art (Saturday), it’s a full slate of tasty treats for the eyes and mouth. Events kick off with reservation-only dinners at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at various restaurants, tastings on Saturday and a sold-out brunch on Sunday.

Indy Grand Prix Louisiana

Friday though Sunday

This three-day weekend first-time racing event will feature six racing series, with qualifying and finals certain to boost the excitement level. The newly designed facility will feature a 2.74-mile track with 13 turns that incorporate passing zones suitable for the Verizon IndyCar Series and Mazda Road to Indy Series, plus family-friendly activities. Gates open at 8 a.m. each day. $15 and up for adults, $5 and up juniors; packages available.

“The Marriage of Figaro”

Friday and Sunday

Full of disguises, intrigue and mistaken identities, this evening of drama set to Mozart’s incomparable music takes audiences on an adventure of love, betrayal and forgiveness. In Italian with English texts projected above the stage. $29 and up. 8 p.m., Friday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts, 1419 Basin St., New Orleans. (504) 529-3000.

New Orleans Spring Garden Show

Saturday and Sunday

The annual show in the New Orleans Botanical Garden invites visitors to explore the garden, more than 50 horticultural exhibits, family-friendly activities, lectures, a plant health clinic and the Children’s Discovery Zone. Also look for plant and garden product sales, an art market and music. $8 adults, $4 children. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. New Orleans Botanical Garden, City Park, 3 Victory Ave., New Orleans.

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”

Tuesday through April 19

What happens when your 11 brothers sell you into slavery? If Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice hear the story, it becomes a beloved piece of musical theater with popularity that spans decades and generations. The national touring production opens this week to local audiences. $40 and up. Evening and matinee shows. April 14-19, Saenger Theatre, 1111 Canal St., New Orleans. (504) 287-0351.

Emerson String Quartet


Rosin up the bow — the Grammy-winning ensemble of Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer on violin, Lawrence Dutton on viola and Paul Watkins on cello bring their talents to Purcell, Berg, and Ravel when they perform in concert at Tulane University’s Friends of Music. 8 p.m., Dixon Hall, 2863 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans. (504) 865-5267.