Situated amid the willows, stone bridges, and mirror-calm waters of Louis Armstrong Park stands the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Named after a history-making gospel singer and civil-rights activist, the three-tiered auditorium was built in 1973 and hosted concerts, comedians, and other entertainment straight through 2005, when it was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina, a known enemy of the arts. In 2009, the theater reopened thanks to the dedicated work of Mayor Ray Nagin, the New Orleans City Council, and hundreds of workers and artists.
Phoenix Underground blends a lively club atmosphere with the class of an upscale lounge. Strobe lights hit the floor as a DJ spins top 40 dance music and pool cues strike balls at artfully arranged tables. Waiters bring by bottles for those who don't want to take their eyes off the swirling bodies and VIP rooms provide a private location to wow friends with your collection of business cards.
• For $27, you get one ticket for seating in sections 315–321 (a $41.50 value before fees, or up to a $53.45 value online, including all ticketing fees). • For $42, you get one ticket for seating in sections 307–314 or 322–329 (a $71.50 value before fees, or up to an $84.20 value online, including all ticketing fees).
The Funny Bone has farmed laughs thanks to comedy heavyweights such as Cedric the Entertainer and Jamie Kennedy, as well as up-and-coming talents with fresh faces, fresh routines, and that fresh pine scent. Upcoming comics include Sam Demaris (Friday, May 27 and Saturday, May 28), the winner of the 2002 "Houston's Funniest Person" award. Couples looking to laugh off a first-date marriage proposal can cash in on the gut-wrenchingly honest observations of Comedy Central–featured Rodney Laney, whose Jersey-brewed stylings are finely tuned to tickle the giggleplex and pluck the shock-cartilage (Wednesday, July 13 and Thursday, July 14).
Sitting cabaret style around the stage, cutting rugs on the dance floor, or singing along at the bar, visitors to Columbia Street Rock N Blues Cafe are as thoroughly entertained as they are well-fed. Live entertainment lights up the venue almost every night, while a menu of sandwiches, salads, and burgers ignites palates with customizable classics. Whether a DJ is spinning records or a rocker is smashing his guitar case full of jelly, a night at Rock N Blues is sure to be memorable.
Every week, New Orleans's longest-running improv comedy troupe, Brown Improv Comedy, crafts one-of-a-kind hilarity based on the suggestions of theatergoers and bar patrons. The group runs with the suggested topic, creating skits and interactive games to tickle guffaws out of the audience. Having just celebrated their 18th year of performing, the team is well versed in turning out the funny and has outgrown the angst-ridden eye rolls of their 16th and 17th years of performing.