Carnaval Latino 2013

New Orleans means parades and festivals for many locals, including those who organize Carnaval Latino. The 2013 celebration begins on Friday (Sept. 13) with the Parade of the Americas and continues on Saturday and Sunday with music, food and dancing at Mardi Gras World, which serves as the venue for the weekend gathering.

“I think of Carnaval Latino as a chance to take a mini-tour of Latin America’s food, music and people — and to do it in a fun New Orleans setting,” said event chairman Romi Gonzalez. “Our culture is so diverse, that it’s sometimes a surprise, even for Hispanics.”

It’s the 14th year for Carnaval Latino, which celebrates the Latin American presence in New Orleans — and the community’s long history. The festival website reminds New Orleanians that the city once was designated “Gateway to the Americas” — a label conceived by civic leaders promoting Latin American trade links in the 1950s.

For those seeking fresh perspectives, Carnaval Latino is a smart way to kick offHispanic Heritage Month. But, of course, it’s also about fun.

The Parade of the Americas is scheduled to roll Friday at 7 p.m. The route was announced in an email from the Krewe of Quetzal, which is organizing the parade.

Photos: Kinovera Films