Visiting New Orleans in September: What You Need to Know

Discover events scheduled this month and get packing tips for your visit

Commander's Palace Restaurant in New Orleans' Garden District
••• Commander's Palace is one of over 80 restaurants participating in We Live to Eat Restaurant Week, one of the very best things about September in New Orleans. © Megan Romer, 2014

New Orleans in September sees the beginning of the slow descent out of the intense heat and humidity of summer into the warm loveliness of fall. Students are all back at the colleges and universities, and the Who Dat Nation reawakens as the New Orleans Saints begin the regular football season. Most free concert series starts back up after Labor Day, as do the local social aid and pleasure clubs with their iconic second lines.

Hotel prices are still quite low, though not as low as in July and August, and We Live to Eat Restaurant Week brings meal deals to dozens of the city’s best restaurants. If you don’t mind spending some of the more sweltering parts of the days indoors—or at least sippin’ on something frosty—September is a relaxed but entertaining month to visit.

Weather in New Orleans in September

It's not as sweltering this month compared with June, July, and August. It's also the height of hurricane season. It rains only 4 inches a month compared with 5 to 6 inches in June, July, and August. Expect approximately 10 rainy days in September, so you'll want to pack an umbrella just in case.

  • Average High: 87 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celcius) 
  • Average Low: 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celcius)

Packing Tips

It’s likely that the majority of a visit to New Orleans in September will be quite hot, so comfortable summery clothes should be the bulk of your wardrobe.

However, a cool breeze is possible at night, and the legendary air conditioning of the Gulf Coast is always on full blast, so bringing a wrap or light layer of some sort is always a good idea. It also rains about 10 days in September, so pack something waterproof or an umbrella. If one of the higher-end, old-line New Orleans restaurants is in your plans, check first to see if they have a dress code; fellas, you might want to bring a jacket and tie.

September 2017 Event Highlights

Southern Decadence (August 31–September 4): Sometimes referred to as “gay Mardi Gras” (though Mardi Gras itself is perfectly gay-friendly), this enormous gay pride celebration turns the French Quarter into a giant, festive street party. Parades, live music, drag shows, and plenty more adults-only fun takes place over the course of Labor Day weekend each year.

We Live to Eat Restaurant Week New Orleans (September 11–17): High-end restaurants all over the city offer prix-fixe gourmet lunch and/or dinner menus at deep discounts, allowing locals and tourists alike to try fancy restaurants without breaking the bank. Participants in 2017 include Antoine’s, Domenica, Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak, and Tujague’s, among dozens of others.

New Orleans Burlesque Festival (September 14–17): Burlesque is (and has long been) a wildly popular form of entertainment in New Orleans, combining the sexiness of classic strip tease with bawdy humor, elegant music, and trained dance. The local burlesque scene invites troupes and individual performers from around the world to take part in this annual event, which includes a number of shows and pageants throughout the weekend.

NOLA on Tap Beer Fest (September 23): Taste more than 400 beers at this one-day event that brings together Louisiana’s brewing scene with a national micro brew and specialty beer producers.

Live music and other entertainment are also on the roster. The whole shebang is a fundraiser for the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

Outside of Town

September picks up quite a bit outside New Orleans, as well, as Southwest Louisiana’s famous food and music festivals begin to start up again after a summer of steamy quietude. Check out these highlights:

The Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival (September 1 and 2 in Opelousas, Louisiana): They always book the best musicians, who in turn pull the best dancers, who fuel up with the best food, and the whole thing is just grand. It tends to be dusty and hot (bandanas used as dust masks are de rigueur), but it’s a unique, Louisiana bucket-list experience. Opelousas is about 25 minutes north of Lafayette. 

Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival (September 15 and 16 in Natchitoches, Louisiana): Say it with me now: “NACK-uh-dish.” Don’t ask. This small city in Central Louisiana was actually the first French settlement in the Louisiana territory (yes, it’s older than New Orleans) and is known for a lot of things, but the most delicious among these are its tasty, spicy meat pies. This festival celebrates the delicacy with music, drink, and other entertainment at the Natchitoches Parish Fairgrounds. Natchitoches is about 55 miles northwest of Alexandria.

Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival (September 29 and 30 in Bogalusa, Louisiana): Bogalusa is a small town that sits on the Louisiana–Mississippi border about 90 minutes north of New Orleans. It’s home to this impressive blues festival, which brings national touring artists with Louisiana artists. Bogalusa is about 75 miles north of New Orleans.