In its second year, New Orleans Luna Fete light show goes interactive

In its second year, New Orleans Luna Fete light show goes interactive

LUNA Fete, the free of charge week-long light festival that uses New Orleans architecture as a canvass, returns for a second year starting this Sunday.

This time, the Arts Council of New Orleans expands the show and takes an interactive approach.

Friday afternoon in Lafayette Square, artist Jen Lewin supervised the installation of "The Pool," an interactive display featuring 106 lighted pods.

"It's really a pool of lights," Lewin said.  "You get to dance and run around and play."

Spectators turn participants when they visit The Pool, changing the colors at they step on the pods, which Lewin calls "pucks."

"Kids can come out and play, you can touch the art," said Nick Stillman, acting director of the Arts Council. "You're invited to touch the art."

Lewin said parents often have trouble pulling children away from the pucks.

"You have this great dynamic that happens where people are interactive with the sculpture, but also with each other," Lewin said.

Luna Fete debuted last year at one location, Gallier Hall.

Sunday, it balloons in size, with a large display at the Ashe Power House and several installations by local artists on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.

For example, Raven Productions will allow spectators to beat on a drum, piano or bass to produce a different light effect.

"So, if we start pressing the trigger element, you'll hear the kick sound," said Jason Starkey of Raven Productions.  "We'll have some speakers set up as well. It'll trigger a certain light, maybe a red light will flash on the columns.  When the snare hits, a bright light will flash in the windows."

Next Friday and Saturday, the Arts Council will add another batch of displays along Julia Street, bringing the total number of installations to 18.

While the 2015 edition of Luna Fete features 18 different displays, the Arts Council vows it is just beginning.

"LUNA Fete's going  to keep expanding," Stillman said.  "The vision is to grow it right through the tricentennial year (2018)."