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The 2009 French Quarter Festival is Poised to be a Record Breaker

30 March 2009

After reaching a milestone in 2008 with a celebration of the 25th anniversary and reaching attendance of 435,000 people (half locals and half tourists), French Quarter Festival is poised for growth!  This year there are plenty of new and exciting things scheduled for the 26th annual French Quarter Festival.
Exciting new programming for 2009 includes:  the ‘Louis-Louis Pavilion Stage’ on the riverfront, paying tribute to Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima with special performances and a tent where festivalgoers can learn more about New Orleans’ famous native sons.  Sunday morning Gospel music returns to the Riverfront, as the stages open with local gospel choirs.   Saturday evening, Music @ Madewood will produce the one-act opera ‘Cabildo’ in the courtyard of the Cabildo with free admission.

To better accommodate the growing audience and improve the festival’s flow, some stages and areas have been reconfigured.  In an exciting new partnership with Audubon Institute, the first major change is the expansion and relocation of the ever-popular Children’s Headquarters, which will move to the Audubon Aquarium Plaza on the riverfront, anchored by Kids’ Stage at the ferry landing.  This year, Children’s Headquarters will focus on educating families about ‘healthy kids’ programs in a fun and interactive way, including: Whole Foods healthy kids’ cooking demonstrations with audience participation; the ‘Got Milk?’ national tour with milk mustache photos and activities; Tulane Hospital for Children will host hula hoop and jump rope competitions as well as crafts and face painting; drumming circles; and much more. Other partners at Children’s Headquarters include: New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park, Radio Disney, Crimestoppers, King Lam’s Tai Chi and Tamashii Karate Center, Kamal’s Fi Ya Ya Mardi Gras Indians, Academy of the Sacred Heart, and Audubon Institute’s new dinosaur exhibit preview, complete with a giant robotic dinosaur on the plaza.
Louisiana State Museum’s Old U.S. Mint will also see new additions for 2009.  A new stage that will have a Frenchmen Street feel, called ‘Esplanade in the Shade’ will feature an exciting and eclectic mix of artists including Big Chief Bo Dollis, Jr. and the Wild Magnolias, Big Blue Marble, Ingrid Lucia, Astral Project, Tony Green and Gypsy Jazz, Posse with Kevin O’Day, and more. This year the World Championship Oyster Eating (and shucking) Contest moves to the Old U.S. Mint on Saturday afternoon, making it the new home for this official International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) event.
As the festival’s attendance has grown to over 435,000, other stages will move to new, more spacious locations, including: the International Stage and one of the traditional jazz stages, which will be hosted by the French Market.  The new and expanded home for the Classical Music Stage will be The Historic New Orleans Collection at the Williams Research Center, with live broadcast by WWNO 89.9 FM.

The 2009 French Quarter Festival is produced by French Quarter Festivals, Inc., (FQFI) the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, which also produces Satchmo SummerFest and Christmas New Orleans Style.  For more information on French Quarter Festival, call 504-522-5730 or visit online at www.fqfi.org.

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