Many people first encountered the world of burlesque in 2010 when Cher and Christina Aguilera starred in a cinematic imagining of the artform (aptly titled “Burlesque”), or through iconic names like Bettie Page and Dita Von Teese.
However, while these films and people do fall into the world of burlesque, the art of the tease goes way back before these pop culture icons, revealing many more layers to its history.
New Orleans has always been in the heart of the bohemians, and through these people, music, art, movement, performance, and glamour collide. It is a well-known fact that the French played a huge role in the development of New Orleans culture, and it is not farfetched to assume that the energy of the Moulin Rouge of Paris trickled its way down to the Mississippi crescent. New Orleans has been and always will be an epicenter for iconic burlesque history. Here are some of the best shows to see this art form, and to brush elbows with some of the most iconic national and international title holders within the community.
Every Friday night Burlesque Ballroom brings classic burlesque back to its historic New Orleans Bourbon Street home! Located at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, Burlesque Ballroom is produced by local treasure Trixie Minx and features a rotating cast of local performers in a one-of-a-kind show where live music and burlesque meet again! Showtimes are at 7 p.m. & 9 p.m.! For tickets, show dates, and more, visit www.trixieminx.com.
Produced by the stage beauty herself, Mz Juno, Beaucoup Burlesque is New Orleans’ premier live-band burlesque show. Located at The Fillmore Theater, you can find these award-winning burlesque stars performing to local jazz and brass bands! For upcoming show dates, visit the venue’s website here.
The Vivacious Burlesque Experience
The Vivacious Burlesque Experience is a tour de force of live burlesque entertainment. Experience spectacular, award-winning burlesque, and world-renowned stars of the stage alongside show-stopping circus feats and a dazzling array of variety acts on the big stage at The Joy Theater! This show is produced by none other than Vivacious Miss Audacious three times annually. Make sure to snag your tickets at audaciousnola.com
Inferno Burlesque is an all-inclusive cast of performers ranging from Neo Burlesque, Nerdlesque, Boylesque, Draglesque, and more! Produced by Mz Juno, you can find these artists sizzling on the House of Blues stage nestled in the French Quarter. For tickets and more head here.
The Van Ella Bordella
The Van Ella Bordella is one of the city’s most beloved immersive Storyville burlesque experiences! Join Madam Lola van Ella and her intoxicating and charming courtesans for an evening of debauchery, scandal, decadent delights, and scintillating Victorian-era brothel history. Produced and curated by critically acclaimed international showgirl Lola van Ella, her Bordella has toured to sold-out crowds in Kansas City, Denver, Colorado Springs, Santa Fe, Atlanta, Orlando, St. Louis, and beyond, and most recently opened for cabaret artist and actress Sandra Bernhard. Catch the show on Thursdays at 8 p.m., or Saturdays and Sundays at 7 p.m. at The Allways Lounge and Cabaret in The Twilight Room. For tickets and showtimes visit: www.thevanellabordella.com
Worship: A Monthly Burlesque Experience
Located within the Chapel Club of Hotel Saint Vincent, Worship: A Monthly Burlesque Experience is an intimate and immersive show with performances full of mischief, surprise, and decadent delight! This lineup features both locally celebrated stage vixens and traveling acts from all over the globe! Doors to this show are at 7 p.m. with a prompt show start time of 8 p.m. Due to the intimate scale of this venue, it is suggested to both get your tickets ahead of time and claim your seat early! For more info, visit here.
Le Vampyre Cabaret
Le Vampyre Cabaret is a deviously campy and deliciously sexy theatre show hosted by Madame Tsarina Hellfire and Stanley Roy, with a rotating cast of bloodthirsty beauties. You can enjoy the art of the tease, live music, and storytelling monthly at The Allways Lounge and Cabaret in The Twilight Room with doors opening at 10:30 p.m. Make sure you get your tickets at: https://vampyrecabaret.eventbrite.com
Dream House Burlesque Club
Experience the exquisite showgirls and nonstop glamour of Dream House Burlesque with this intimate floor show every Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Dream House Lounge in the Warehouse District of New Orleans. Tickets are available here.
Fleur de Tease
Fleur de Tease is New Orleans’ longest-running Burlesque Variety Revue and is produced by Trixie Minx! With a modern twist on classic vaudeville shows, this production brings high-flying aerialists, burlesque beauties, and comic cuties. With elaborately themed shows, you’ll find an entirely new spectacular every month. The show can be found at Toulouse Theater monthly at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Book your seats here.
Betsy Propane’s Smoke Show
Loving the sounds of traditional New Orleans jazz? Maybe you are in town, but can’t make a weekend show? Well, you are just in luck because Betsy Propane’s Smoke Show is the show for you! Betsy Propane & The Accessories are a Jazz Trio fronted by a female lead singer, who also happens to be a local burlesque performer, too! Located at The Allways Lounge & Cabaret, you can get your seats for the weekly 8 p.m. show here.
Bella Blue's Burlesque Brunches
Bella Blue is a vibrant and essential figure in the electrifying Burlesque scene that makes New Orleans shine as a true haven for this captivating art form. Prepare to be dazzled by Bella Blue's presence at two extraordinary burlesque brunch shows in town!
Join the Legs & Eggs Burlesque Brunch at 3rd Block Depot Kitchen + Bar, where you can savor a delectable two-course package and indulge in bottomless bellinis while Bella Blue enchants you with her spellbinding performance. It's the perfect way to start your day with a scrumptious breakfast feast and a side of pure seductive magic.
If you're in the mood for a delightful pop-up experience during the fall through the end of the holiday season, make sure to catch Bella on select Saturdays from October 14-December 23 at Palm & Pine for the exhilarating Bottoms Up Brunch, where she'll showcase her brilliance through her mesmerizing pole burlesque performances! Get ready for a tantalizing experience, complete with a mouthwatering two-course prix fixe menu priced at just $45 per seat.
Lagniappe: Burlesque Classes
And with that, you might find yourself interested in learning more about the art form. So, this is a great moment to suggest dipping your toes into the waters with one of our local stage producers and all-around sweetheart, Trixie Minx.
Trixie Minx’s Burlesque Boutique is in the heart of the French Quarter and beyond offering lots of handmade burlesque apparel, costumes, glitz, and more! You can sign up for a variety of courses through her workshop program, ranging from group classes for bachelorettes and girls’ trips to longer, more intensive courses geared toward every skill level. Find out more here.
A few final tips:
1. Fuel the fun and cheer if you see something you like!
2. Tip your performers! Bring your $1s, 5s, 10s, and 20s!
3. Consent! Do not touch those performing for you without it. (This also goes for your involvement in their acts!)
4. Things that come off do not belong to you! If you catch a falling star, please do not put it in your pocket.
5. Share the experience on social & tag them!