New Orleans may well have invented the festival. This is a town that throws parties to honor the homely mirliton and local Creole tomato. We celebrate oysters, fried chicken, gumbo and Louisiana seafood. Neighborhood fetes abound, with feet dancing from the Treme to uptown on Freret. Diversity is heralded at Greek Fest (May 26-28), Southern Decadence (August 30-September 4) and Soul Fest (which took place March 4-5). Local art, live music and good eats are the common denominator and entrance is usually free. If there is a charge, it’s for good at fundraisers like Hogs for the Cause (March 31-April 1) and Emeril’s Boudin, Bourbon and Beer (held annually in October). Dedicated music festivals of note include Satchmo Summer Fest (August 3-6), French Quarter Fest (April 6-9), Essence (June 29-July 2) and the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience (Oct. 27-29). And some celebrating happens all spring like Wednesday at the Square in Lafayette Square (Wednesdays from March 15-May 17) and Jazz in the Park at Louis Armstrong Park (Thursdays from March 30-June 1).