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 start 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 sipping on something frosty—September is a relaxed but entertaining month to visit.
New Orleans Weather in September
September is the height of hurricane season. It's not as sweltering this month compared with June, July, and August, and it rains only four inches in September compared with five to six inches in June, July, and August. Expect approximately 10 rainy days in September, so pack an umbrella just in case. The average high is 87 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius) and the average low is 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).
What to Pack
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 just in case.
September Events in New Orleans
The following are some great events scheduled this September in New Orleans and surrounding areas.
- Southern Decadence: 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 take place over the course of Labor Day weekend each year.
- "We Live to Eat" Restaurant Week New Orleans: 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 have included Antoine’s, Domenica, Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak, and Tujague’s, among dozens of others.
- Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival in Natchitoches: 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.
- New Orleans Burlesque Festival: 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: Taste more than 400 beers at this one-day event that brings together Louisiana’s brewing scene with national microbrew 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).
- Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival in Bogalusa: The Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival takes place in the small town of Bogalusa, which sits on the Louisiana–Mississippi border about 75 miles north of New Orleans. It’s home to this impressive blues festival, which brings national touring artists with Louisiana artists.
- The Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Music Festival in Opelousas: 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.