From Thursday, April 7 through Sunday, April 10, 2016 French Quarter Festival will celebrate the culture, food, history, and people of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood. With more than 1,700 local Louisiana musicians on 23 different stages throughout the French Quarter and Woldenberg Park, French Quarter Fest is definitely a place for incredible free music.
While French Quarter Fest began in 1984 as a way to bring locals back to the French Quarter, it has since expanded into an internationally recognized event that draws hundreds of thousands of people to the historic neighborhood each year.
The event features so many musicians, food vendors and extra activities that it is impossible to see everything, but we have a few recommendations to make this year’s French Quarter Fest a memorable event:
What To Eat at French Quarter Festival 2016
Wherever there’s a festival in New Orleans, there’s food, and French Quarter Festival offers a bountiful assortment of Louisiana delicacies.
Sample traditional New Orleans cuisine like cochon de lait po-boys, barbecue shrimp, and crawfish as you walk through Jackson Square, Royal Street, Bourbon Street, and back down to the riverfront.
Classic French Quarter Fest favorites include the Crawfish Louise & Turtle Soup combo from Court of Two Sisters and the Crawfish & Goat Cheese Crepes from Muriel’s, which both have food booths in Jackson Square.
Head to the Old U.S. Mint to sample a few of the newest food vendors, including The Big Cheezy, serving up The Crawgator (Alligator Crawfish Sausage with Cheddar, Pepper Jack & Green Peppers), and The Blue Crab, offering BBQ Shrimp Stuffed Po-Boys and Crab Cakes.
If you can’t make it back in time for Jazz Fest, luckily French Quarter Festival has you covered. WWOZ’s famous Mango Freeze is available in the Riverfront – Canal Street vendor area. (Bonus: it’s gluten free!) Nearby, at the Aquarium Plaza area, Kingfish Kitchen & Cocktails is a new French Quarter Fest vendor this year, with delicious options of Blackened Shrimp and Grits with Piquant Chili Butter and Alligator Chili Frito Pie.
Click here for a full menu of the food options available at this year’s French Quarter Festival.
We’ve already mentioned the food, but French Quarter Fest also has plenty of beverages available for purchase, including Abita beer, wine, cocktails, and daiquiris. Purchases from the official festival beverage booths help keep the annual event free and open to the public, plus each beverage stand has a tip jar, proceeds of which are given directly to the musicians.
Tributes to Allen Toussaint
Multiple events this year will pay homage to legendary New Orleans songwriter and pianist, Allen Toussaint, who passed away last November. There will be a free screening of the 2013 PBS documentary film A Tribute to Toussaint at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 8. Later that day the House of Blues will host the official after-hours concert in honor of Toussaint, with proceeds benefiting New Orleans Artists Against Hunger and Homelessness, an organization which Toussaint co-founded.
On Sunday, April 10 at 2:30 p.m. the Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint will host a panel dicussion titled “From Southern Nights to Hall-of-Fame Heights: Remembering Allen Toussaint” featuring long-time Toussaint band member Roland Guerin, record producer Scott Billington, music journalist Ben Sandmel, and singer Irma Thomas.
How to Get There
With our location in the heart of the Vieux Carré, getting to French Quarter Festival is easy – simply walk!
The festival is known for gridlocked traffic, but when you stay at Hotel Monteleone, you’ll get there quickly and easily on foot. To get to Jackson Square, exit our hotel by making a left onto Iberville Street, then turn left on the next street, Chartres Street. Follow along Chartres Street until you see Jackson Square!
When you’re ready for a quiet respite from all of the festival crowds, head back for a nightcap at the Carousel Bar & Lounge. Our live entertainment and handcrafted cocktails offer the perfect way to end your day.