The French Quarter Festival is a huge deal. Last year, the free, four-day celebration of Louisiana food, music, and culture attracted over 500,000 people. This year, the 36th Annual French Quarter Festival brings more than 250 acts to 23 stages scattered throughout the Vieux Carre—which means festival-goers should prepare to party, and neighborhood residents should prepare for some pretty heavy traffic. Here’s what to know before you head downtown this weekend.
If you don’t live, work, or have a hotel reservation in the French Quarter, you won’t be able to drive in the Quarter from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, April 11 through Sunday, April 14.
You also won’t be able to park on Bourbon Street from Canal to Dumaine Street, and in the 700 and 800 blocks of St. Ann, Orleans, St. Peter, Toulouse, St. Louis, Conti, Bienville, and Iberville between 4:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. from Thursday, April 11 to Sunday, April 14.
Getting to the fest
Definitely avoid driving at all costs. Walking, biking, ride-sharing, and public transportation are often the quickest, least frustrating ways to get around. RTA routes, including the #5-Marigny-Bywater, #55-Elysian Fields, and the Canal Streetcar, may be delayed or detoured. Check norta.com or download the RTA’s GoMobile app for detour info.
In addition to price surging, many ride-share apps enforce “no-request zones” during French Quarter Fest. Uber published some pick-up tips and released this map, which delineates the areas with the heaviest foot traffic as no-request zones.
If you drive, be sure not to block hydrants, driveways, and sidewalks, and avoid parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk, intersection or stop sign. It’s often possible to park in the nearby Marigny neighborhood and walk to the Quarter (or hop on the Rampart-St. Claude streetcar line).