The organization, French Quarter Fest Inc., started the event back in 1984 as a way to encourage people to move back to the French Quarter. Bounded from the Esplanade to Canal Street, Rampart to the river, there are over twenty stages and venues with hundreds of musicians, playing everything from jazz to gospel to country to hip hop to Zydeco to brass bands. Something for everyone. And did I mention it was free?
Well, there is a price of sorts. The food. You can’t bring your own cooler and brown bags — you gotta eat here.
Vendors from all over the city (everything from food trucks to chefs to restaurants) set up booths and just a smattering of their delectables. Patrons are asked not to bring their own food and drink because the entire event is paid for by the food vendors. So, you buy food, you get free music.
Thankfully, this is not a hardship. This year they had seventy (70!) vendors for you to choose from. And there are over 200 more on a wait list.
It’s a good thing the festival goes for four days; this gives you time to plan your eating frenzy. I mean, what do you choose?
Can I interest you in a Cajun Boudin on a Stick, or a Bugogli Poboy?
Or some BBQ Shrimp and Grits, or Crawfish Pie?
A vegetarian? Try the Veggie Lo Mein, or a Vegan Frank with Red Beans and Rice. Heck, you don’t need to be a vegetarian to enjoy that!
How about a little Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding for dessert or a Bacon & Nutella Crepe?
I confess, the reason you’re seeing menus instead of the food is because by the time I realized I needed to take a picture I ate it already. I saved you a bit of the Bulgolgi Poboy with Feta Fries, though.
Okay, you’re sold. Sadly you’ll have to wait until next year. I recommend putting it on your calendar now! April 9 - 12, 2015.
If you really want to be a part of it all they are always looking for booth volunteers. You can sign up for which booth (merchandise, beer, tickets) at which location for whichever time works for you. You get guaranteed shade, a free t-shirt, and some tickets for food. And did I mention free music? http://fqfi.org/frenchquarter
Like you needed another reason to come to New Orleans. See y’all next year!