From left, Billy Iuso and Ivan Neville sample crawfish cooked up on Frenchmen Street by Chris "Shaggy" Davis and Kelly Watson of NOLA Crawfish King.

Each year, NOLA Crawfish Festival spices up the “down time” between Jazz Fest weekends with an impressive line up of jam and funk-focused bands and mountains of mudbugs.

Back again Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (April 29-May 1), it turns the outdoor grounds of Central City BBQ (1201 S. Rampart St.) into a giant backyard boil with live music from mid-afternoon through the night.


NOLA Crawfish King cooks up boiled crawfish at festivals and events around the region that often have a tie to New Orleans music.

Crawfish are prepared by Chris “Shaggy” Davis and his company NOLA Crawfish King. Davis caters concerts, festivals and backyard throw-downs, and these gigs often include a strong Louisiana music contingent. That's kept Davis close to plenty of New Orleans musicians, and he conceived NOLA Crawfish Fest to put the pieces together.

Central City BBQ encompasses about half a city block, with a large indoor restaurant and an open yard ringed by repurposed shipping containers.


Central City BBQ has open grounds ringed by repurposed shipping containers that becomes a venue for festivals and fundraisers. 

For NOLA Crawfish Festival, those containers will frame the stage for a funk- and jam-heavy music line up with acts including Neville Jacobs (Ivan Neville and Cris Jacobs), Anders Osborne, the Mike Dillon Band and Samantha Fish with Jonathon “Boogie” Long.

There’s a crawfish cookoff with backyard teams vying for honors on May 1 and a crawfish eating contest on April 30.

NOLA Crawfish Festival

April 29-May 1, 3-10 p.m.

Central City BBQ, 1201 S. Rampart St.

Tickets: start at $45; details at nolacrawfishfest.com

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.