The French Quarter Festival is a free four-day party in the French Quarter in April
. It's the biggest free music festival in the South and there's always great music and great food in a historic setting. There's music in the streets, on the banks of the Mississippi River, an area for kids on the Riverfront next to the Aquarium of the Americas, and the largest jazz brunch in the world with several venues for food. It was the local's best kept secret, but the word is out and many people from all over the world come to enjoy the festival with us.
There are several areas for food. Jackson Square is lined with food booths from everything from crawfish pasta to alligator sausage. There's also a line of food booths in Woldenberg Park. At the other end of the French Quarter near the Old U.S. Mint there's even more food. Here are my favorite food and drink options.
There are a total of 21 stages set up in Woldenberg Park, on Royal and Bourbon Street and at the old mint at the edge of the French Quarter. One of the stages is indoors. It's a Cabaret Stage at the beautifully renovated Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. Music ranges from country to Zydeco to classic to jazz. Here's this year's lineup.
For the Kids:
At the Aquarium of the Americas Plaza there's an area just for kids with face painting, hat making and a chance to play in a Jazz band.
There's a special area for kids set up at the Audubon Aquarium Riverfront Plaza. Anchoring the riverfront Children’s Headquarters is a Kids’ Performance Tent with live music. Hands on projects like hat making and playing in a Jazz Band entertain kids and families. There are also other fun events for the whole family. One of the best is a visit to the Hermann-Grima House
located at 820 St. Louis Street on Saturday and Sunday. Major local museums will offer fascinating and fun hands-on activities. In addition, young visitors will learn how to churn butter, tend a garden, and more.
There is a wonderful fireworks display over the Mississippi River on the Saturday night of the Festival at 9 pm.
How To Get There:
The Second Line Shuttle will run Friday through Sunday from the Central Business District
(park and ride from O'Keefe, between Poydras and Canal). Park in a $10 all-day parking area garages and lots. The round-trip shuttle is on air-conditioned Hotard busses. Since the Second Line Shuttle is sponsored by Capital One Bank, before the festival you can stop by any Capital One Bank to pick up your free Q-Pass for priority shuttle boarding and discounts on official festival merchandise.
Other options are the Streetcar or local RTA busses visit this website for routes and schedules. Ride your bike (bicycle parking is available at the Bienville Street entrance to the Riverfront)
Where to Stay:
Besides all the music and food, the French Quarter Festival has many special events
for the whole family. From artist on the streets to courtyard tours to special instructions for kids on how to play Jazz, the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans is a great event.
For the full schedule of events and more information go to the French Quarter Official Website.