Luna Fete 2018, New Orleans’ high-tech festival of light, shines Dec. 6-9

Luna Fete 2018, New Orleans’ high-tech festival of light, shines Dec. 6-9


Be ready to be dazzled. The fifth annual Luna Fete, a gorgeous wintertime festival of high-tech lighted artworks, takes place Dec. 6 to 9 in New Orleans’ Central Business District and elsewhere. Unlike most other local festivals, which are based on Crescent City music and cuisine, Luna Fete is all about visual sensation. The free holiday season event is modeled on similar after-dark festivals popular in Europe.

At a press conference held at Gallier Hall on Tuesday (Nov. 6), representatives of the Arts Council of New Orleans, the nonprofit agency that presents the fest, outlined some new features of this year’s event, including:

  • As in past years, Luna Fete will be anchored by an animated video projection that is perfectly mapped to match the architecture of Gallier Hall. In past years, the digital artwork was designed by visiting artists, but this year the projection is being created by New Orleans-based digital artists Courtney Egan, David Sullivan, Cristina Molina, Carl Joe Williams, Andrew Wade Smith, and New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts students under the supervision of Kourtney Keller. 
  • In fact, all of the new artworks at this year’s Luna Fete were designed by New Orleans artists, including something called “Sheep Happens” by Pam Keaton.
  • For the first time, the Piazza d’Italia, New Orleans’ postmodern architectural masterpiece at 377 Poydras St., will also be animated by a large-scale projection like that at Gallier Hall. 
  • This year lighted sculptures and performances will also take place at The New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint at 400 Esplanade Ave. 

Arts Council executive director Heidi Schmalbach pointed out that New Orleans’ light festival is the largest of its kind in the United States and has grown from year to year. It is meant to be a jewel of the city’s ongoing tricentennial celebration. Though Schmalbach declined to say how much it will cost to present the 2018 festival, she said that it is being paid for in part with a $100,000 Wisner Donation grant that was presented to Arts Council to help support all of its programs.

Nonprofit institutions annually apply for Wisner Donation Grants that are administered by the city to “support local needs in the areas of beautification, education, recreation or human services,” according the City of New Orleans website. Mayor Latoya Cantrell, who spoke at the press conference, pledged the city’s continued support of the Arts Council.

Luna Fete is one of the most unique and little-known of New Orleans many festivals. Mark your calendars. It is one not to miss.


A tunnel of lights for a  LUNA Fête display in downtown New Orleans on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. (Photo by Chris Granger, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune) Photo by Chris Granger, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
A tunnel of lights for a LUNA Fête display in downtown New Orleans on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. (Photo by Chris Granger, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune) Photo by Chris Granger, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune  Photo by Chris Granger, NOLA.com

Doug MacCash has the best job in the world, covering art, music and culture in New Orleans. Contact him via email at dmaccash@nola.com. Follow him on Twitter at Doug MacCash and on Facebook at Douglas James MacCash. As always, please add your point of view to the comment stream.





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