One of the great New Orleans success stories is the transformation of Freret Street from a sleepy, under-occupied commercial strip to a real shopping, dining and entertainment hub in the heart of Uptown New Orleans. The Freret Street Festival happens this year on Saturday, April 5 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and features a diverse musical lineup, this year growing to five music stages of free, live music in a variety of styles including jazz, funk, brass band, roots, rock, Mardi Gras Indians and then some.
With over 200 New Orleans vendors selling hand-made art, fashions, food and gifts, it’s a high octane version of the monthly Freret Market that this year has grown to extend the full length of Freret from Napoleon Avenue to Jefferson Avenue.
Regular Freret Market vendors like Preservation Tile will be on hand with recreations of New Orleans street tiles, Lionheart Designs will have tees and other collectibles, there’s oyster shell stoneware from Loftin Oysters, art from CMK Pottery, apparel and gifts with upcycled vintage fabrics from Bonga Chop Shop, and beautiful soaps from Cake Face Soaping.
It goes without saying that there will be an expanse of delicious New Orleans food – but I’ll say it anyway. In addition to all the restaurants with open doors on Freret Street like Ancora and High Hat Cafe, Origami Sushi, Company Burger and Midway Pizza, there are additional food vendors throughout the festival, like fried seafood poboys from Direct Select Seafood, Miss Linda’s Yakamein, fare from Boucherie restaurant, snoballs, and more.
Freret Street Festival has added a fifth stage of live music this year. See plenty of Mardi Gras Indians like The Wild Magnolias, The Golden Eagles, and a peformance from Cha Wa. Other performers on the lineup include cellist Helen Gillet, Margie Perez Band, The Lagniappe Brass Band, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, Charmaine Neville and Flowtribe, to name a few.
It’s incredible to watch the revitalization of this street first-hand, as New Orleans has reinvigorating this once sleepy, mostly forgotten street into a world-class corridor. Cure opened its doors five years ago — creating not only a bright spot in the craft cocktail scene in New Orleans, but quickly ushering in other businesses like Company Burger and Dat Dog, all the way to the most recent openings of Liberty Cheesesteaks, music club Gasa Gasa and the Other Bar as well as another Mojo Coffeehouse location.
Come discover (or rediscover) all there is to love about shopping and living local in New Orleans on Freret Street!
Freret Street Festival
April 5, 2014
11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Photos by Susan Whelan