This is the month New Orleans! It's festival time. One of the largest festivals in the south is now one of largest in the country, and I'm not talking about our beloved Jazz Fest.
Touted as the biggest free festival in the south, New Orleans' own French Quarter Festival now outdraws the legendary Jazz and Heritage Festival! More people attend French Quarter Fest in just 3 days than they do in 7 days of Jazz Fest!!! Over a half a million folks bringing with them an economic impact in excess of $300 million!!! That's like a Superbowl! And this year, they will be even more food, fun, and free music.
French Quarter Fest has added Thursday to their normal 3-day weekend. Dubbed "locals lagniappe Thursday", French Quarter Fest is now a 4-day event. From Woldenberg Park to Jackson Square to Bourbon and Royal Streets, French Quarter Fest has grown in each of its 38 years, and now there are rumors of a larger footprint in the future.
There's always been talk of expanding the Fest to Armstrong Park, and now there are rumors of the Fest heading east into the Marigny Triangle and Washington Square Park. Amazing.
The food at French Quarter Fest is as good as it gets at any festival, anywhere. Local-only restaurants cook a dish or two and charge you just a few bucks for it. Very nice portions too. From Tommy Wong and Trey Yuen's Louisiana crawfish in lobster sauce to Jack and Jacques-Imo's turkey legs and alligator sausage cheese cake.
The only complaint I've ever heard about French Quarter Fest, ironically comes from some of the local musicians. French Quarter Fest pays the union scale for musicians that perform. It's rival, Jazz Fest, negotiates different deals with their talent. I guess there is good and bad side to this. There's no doubt local musicians deserve to get paid more. But also, the public deserves the the "free" admission when Jazz Fest tickets have skyrocketed to $60 a day.
In the mean time, what a blessing. French Quarter Fest 2011. Now, the biggest New Orleans festival. And it all starts this Thursday.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times