French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI) announces preliminary outcomes from the 2023 French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron.
The large-scale event was a major success, organizers estimate nearly 875,000 enthusiasts attended the event over four days, an increase from 2022.
“This 40th-anniversary celebration proved to be a beautiful celebration of our favorite traditions,” said Emily Madero, President and CEO of FQFI.
“We successfully produced an event with more than 270 performances from local musicians and dined with more than 60 of the best culinary experiences along with nearly 875,000 French Quarter Festival fans over four magnificent days. Our small team worked diligently over the last few months to bring back elements that our fans enjoy each year while also enhancing fan engagement with our PhotoBooth and Anniversary Hub and further persifying our entertainment and culinary lineup. We’re also proud share that our fans have joined our efforts to reduce our overall waste through our Geauxing Green initiative.”
Walter J. Leger III, President & CEO of New Orleans & Company said, “The 40thanniversary French Quarter Fest was a resounding success with large joyous crowds, hotel occupancy far above 2022 levels, and an economic boost for our musicians and culture bearers. French Quarter Fest proved why New Orleans is Built to Host special events better than any other city, thanks to our walkability, 26,000 hotel rooms within one mile of the French Quarter and authentic food, music and culture. New Orleans & Company was pleased to partner with Emily Madero and her team at FQFI on marketing efforts and provide a special fireworks display for the enjoyment of residents and visitors.”
Mightier than the Mississippi River, the beat of the bass and the velvet sounds of musicians serenaded fans into a trance for four days in the historic French Quarter. More than 60 debut acts hit the stage. On opening night, Ani DiFranco held the crowd captive for over an hour before turning the stage over to Irma Thomas, who in true Soul Queen fashion closed her show with Anniversary Fireworks on the River. Friday, amid a sea of thousands, Water Seed, Javier Olondo & Asheson and James Andrews closed out the day. Revelers also flocked to the Riverfront under golden-hued skies to move to a ground-shaking set by The Soul Rebels featuring debut artist, Big Freedia. The exciting energy of the festival continued, even with storm activity on Saturday. Fest-goers returned to the stages only minutes after operations resumed and the evening closed with strong performances from legends like Charmaine Neville, Rebirth Brass Band and Lisa Amos who took their audience down memory lane with their infamous tunes. Sunday was jam-packed with Fest favorites such as Rockin Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters, Jeremy Davenport and Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monsters, who continued to play for fans eager for more at the close of the night. It was standing room only at the Abita Beer Stage for Tank and the Bangas who electrified the night and surprised fans with special guest Big Freedia for last year’s hit collaboration, “Big”.
With over 60 culinary and beverage vendors, this year’s culinary lineup, sponsored by Broussard’s Restaurant & Courtyard, holds enough weight to be its very own Fest. FQF welcomed 10 culinary debuts including Baroness, 9 Roses, Bao Mi, Boulevard American Bistro, Acropolis on Freret, Monday, Heard Dat Kitchen, Creole Country Cafe, Paco’s Tacos and Louisiana Fish Fry.
“We are so grateful that we had the opportunity to be a part of the 40th anniversary of French Quarter Fest.” says Jimmy Tran, Manager of Bao Mi. “Blessed for the overwhelming support and looking forward for the years to come”. Other returning favorites included Patton’s, Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant, Jack Dempsey’s, Dickie Brennan’s & Co. and Walker’s Southern Style BBQ. Culinary and Beverage vendors partnered with organizers for the 2nd year serving all customers with compostable and recyclable materials as a part of the Festival’s Geauxing Green Initiative and goal to reduce overall waste by 80%.
Nearly 3,000 young visitors experienced the Chevron STEM “Olympics” on Saturday and Sunday, doubling numbers from 2022, even with operations shuttering Saturday after inclement weather. Partners showcased interactive hands-on learning activities in an environment designed to foster a passion for learning by showing how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are the foundation for future success. Community partners included Audubon Nature Institute, NASA Astro Camp, Naval Information Warfare Center, Ochsner Health Education Outreach, Project Lead the Way, The Water Institute, NAMI St. Tammany, STEM NOLA, Greater New Orleans STEM Initiative, Central Creativity & LA STEM, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, and Northshore Technical Community College.
“Chevron is proud to have once again served as the presenting sponsor of French Quarter Festival, especially during their 40th anniversary,” said Chevron Gulf of Mexico Public Affairs Manager Leah Brown.
“Over the last four decades, the festival has made countless positive contributions to the community as it showcases Louisiana’s unique music, culture, and cuisine. We thank the French Quarter Festival team for our long-standing partnership and congratulate them on a great event!”
This year’s hallmark event went beyond the music and food to show that #FQFisforEveryone. The 2023 Festival was marked by numerous magical moments like the Opening Day Parade. Hundreds of Fans strolled the streets led by the sounds of the Black Magic Drumline, Mahogany Brass Band, New Wave Brass Band, TBC Brass Band, New Birth Brass Band and Homer Plessy Community School. As the parade ended, the crowd in Jackson Square swelled for the official Opening Day Ceremony. FQFI serves a dual mission to showcase New Orleans’ culture and heritage and contribute to the economic well-being of the community. Organizers were excited to share the news of a $5,000 donation to neighbor, Homer Plessy Community School, and even more thrilled with the impromptu announcement of a matching gift from presenting sponsor, Chevron.
And then there were three. JAMNOLA, the cultural funhouse and experiential museum in the Marigny, returned with the Garden of Legends by Brennan Steele, a series of larger-than-life sculptures featuring local musicians of the past, present and future. Big Chief Monk Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles joins sculptures of Irma Thomas and Tarriona “Tank” Ball at Fest. The Gateway to #FQFest, created by artist Farris Armand, made its debut in the 40th Anniversary Hub located in Oscar Dunn Park. The 12ft. arch customized with lights and hand-painted art pieces featuring FQF elements became a well known spot for attendees to grab a group photo with iconic New Orleans landmarks as the backdrop. Oscar Dunn Park was also home to the #FQFestFaves Photobooth powered by Kingfish Kitchen & Cocktails and Curio Bistro, a walk-in airstream by The Happy Photobooth.
The NOLA.com Fest Family Experience continues to be a critical fundraiser for the non-profit that aids in keeping the event admission free for the general public. The organization also relied heavily on more than 1,700 volunteers and numerous generous sponsors and businesses from all over the country that sponsor musical acts.
French Quarter Festival 2024 will take place April 11-14, 2024.