Feb 16, 2024 - Things to Do

Tet Fest: Guide to celebrating Vietnamese New Year in New Orleans

Video shows a woman rolling shrimp spring rolls.
Expect plenty of freshly made food like these shrimp spring rolls. Image: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

Tet Fest in New Orleans is a weekendlong celebration of Vietnamese New Year, with food, games, lion dances and music.

Why it matters: New Orleans metro has the largest concentration of Vietnamese residents in Louisiana.

  • The community came in the 1970s after the fall of Saigon and settled primarily in New Orleans East and Jefferson Parish, bringing its rich history and culinary traditions.

The big picture: Tet marks the first day of Lunar New Year in Vietnam, along with the start of spring.

  • It's the country's most significant celebration of the year, according to Vietnam's tourism website. Tet is marked with family gatherings, food, lucky decorations and red cash-filled envelopes.

What's happening: The fest is at Mary Queen of Vietnam Church in the Village de L'Est neighborhood of New Orleans East.

  • It's an outdoor festival that's popular with foodies, families and the Vietnamese community.
Photo shows the outside of Mary Queen of Vietnam Church
Tet Fest is on the grounds of Mary Queen of Vietnam Church in New Orleans East. Photo: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

Schedule: It's open all weekend.

  • Friday from 6pm to 11pm.
  • Saturday from 11am to 11pm.
  • Sunday from 9am to 10pm.

Admission: It's free to get into the fest, and you can park for free in the large lot next to the church.

  • Bring cash for food, games and trinkets.
Photo shows green pandan treats and other Vietnamese food
Sweet, green pandan treats are common at Tet. Photo: Courtesy of Rebecca Todd/neworleans.com

What to do: The Vietnamese food is the real draw, with vendors selling pho, banh mi, spring rolls, green pandan treats and a wide array of other dishes.

  • There are tables spread around so you can sit and eat.
  • The vendors also have Vietnamese games and trinkets for sale. Be prepared for lots of Silly String and those little firecrackers that pop when thrown on the ground.

Entertainment: The fest has nightly dragon and lion dances at 6pm with fireworks, according to NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.

  • No Idea Band performs Saturday afternoon and Groovy 7 Band takes the stage at 1:30pm Sunday, the church says.
Photo shows children playing a fishing game.
Tet Fest has games for children and adults Bring cash to play. Photo: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

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