The French Quarter is one of New Orleans’ most important cultural areas. People such as Amir Landsman, come from around the world to experience all that it has to offer. The best time to experience this New Orleans destination is during one of the French Quarter Festivals.
The French Quarter Festivals are designed to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of New Orleans. With music, art, food and more, these events gather locals and visitors alike. Here are four reasons why.
1. Three for one. The French Quarter puts on three festivals throughout the year. Although each event is distinct, they are all operated by the same board of directors. The largest event is the French Quarter Festival, which has taken place each spring since the 1980s. This long-running festival draws numerous performers and artisans, and it remains one of the largest free musical festivals in the country. Satchmo SummerFest is a hot option each summer. Though Satchmo is the newest addition to the festival lineup in the French Quarter, it has been very popular as a venue for cultural talent in the area. The last festival is Christmas New Orleans Style, which offers a New Orleans take on traditional holiday fun.
2. Community focus. The French Quarter is one of the most distinctive neighborhoods in the country, so it makes sense to celebrate all that it has to offer. Every year, countless businesses sponsor the events, and many local businesses are represented as food and beverage vendors onsite. More than 2,000 community volunteers help make these festivals successful. With so many people involved, the French Quarter Festivals are more than mere events. They are definitive cultural celebrations that bring the community together. This sense of community pride is one reason why so many people come back year after year.
3. Growing popularity. New Orleans has no shortage of festivals. However, the French Quarter Festivals have established themselves as some of the most popular events in the state. In 2014, the French Quarter Festival welcomed 732,000 people. That is over 100,000 more people than the previous year. Even Satchmo, which is much newer and less established, brought over 50,000 people into the French Quarter in recent years. There may be other festivals in the South, but none like those offered in the French Quarter. Visitors come from all over the U.S. and even other countries.
4. Economic impact. The French Quarter Festivals are important to the local economy, impacting the French Quarter and New Orleans at large. All the festivals are run by a nonprofit group, which gets most of its funding from sponsorships and vendor fees. In 2012, the French Quarter Festival produced more than $259.5 million in revenue for the local community. These numbers were even larger with secondary spending and sales tax factored in. Many local companies are used during the festival, which keeps much of the money in the French Quarter itself.