|St. Louis Cathedral is the backdrop for the music at Jackson Square.|
French Quarter Fest, the largest free music festival in the South, is four, packed days of more than 800 local musicians playing on 22 stages throughout the Quarter's historic streets and waterfront. Now in its 29th year, the event has ballooned into a massive festival rivaling that of the famous Jazz Fest occurring just a few weeks later.
|An iconic horse and carriage tour|
This year, we had to be strategic in our festival-going. We arrived early, strolling the nearly empty streets for more than an hour before the music started up and thousands of people seemed to materialize out of nowhere.The horse and carriage tours sauntering along the roads kept the kids' attention, while we mapped out our route.
|Palmetto Bug Stompers|
A slow song set our strollers in motion again, and as attention spans lasted through two, maybe three songs at a time, we hopped from stage to stage throughout the day. Luckily, there seemed to be music on nearly every corner, and we didn't have to walk far to find the next group of toe-tapping musicians and the fans surrounding them.
|Festival-goers dancing in the streets.|
Our path took us from Dutch Alley to Jackson Square, Preservation Hall to the Hermann-Grima House. We grabbed several dishes of food along the way and mostly ate on the run. Despite the lack of time to "savor" the flavors, we still appreciated the tasty delights served up by some of the city's best restaurants, and our youngest took a particular liking to some grillades and cheese grits produced by K-Paul's.
|Local artists took advantage of the huge crowds.|