Down by the Riverside
Downriver Fest packs New Orleans into one day
No one has ever accused me of being too focused in my interests. I can find something compelling about tree bark. So, when there is a festival about the history and impact of the Mississippi River that has the theme of “Daiquiris and Gumbo,” my heart practically implodes with happiness.
The 6th annual Downriver Festival is a free one-day festival Saturday, Sept. 8 from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. with events located primarily at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Mint and the French Market. It mixes live music, food, lectures and even a walking tour to celebrate the Mississippi River.
Downriver Fest dynamically combines facets of the Mississippi that explore the river’s environmental, cultural and economic impacts.
“Downriver Festival, celebrating its sixth year, was created to revel in the cultural exchange centered in New Orleans, a culmination of existing traditions and new influences of the Mississippi River’s connecting currents,” said Greg Lambousy, director of the New Orleans Jazz Museum, in a press release. “This year, as the city celebrates the Tricentennial, Downriver Festival is a time for these cultures to come together once again, enjoying New Orleans' diverse influences with gumbo, live music and panel discussions on the river’s rich resources throughout the day.”
Grab an order of beignets and café au lait and meet for the walking tour at 9 a.m. at the New Orleans Jazz Museum gates on Esplanade Avenue. The tour will be led by Nathan Lott, director of Water Collaborative, and will give participants a chance to learn from Lott as well as landscape architects and urban designers who have shaped the riverfront from the Bywater to Canal St. Special guests include Amanda Rivera, Eskew Dumez + Ripple (Crescent Park), K.C. Guidry, Audubon Nature Institute (Gov. Nichols Wharf), Kerri Maggio and Johanna Leibe, and Perez Architects (Moonwalk).
The walk finishes at 10:30 a.m. at Jackson Square, where the Kinfolk Brass Band will start a second line to the New Orleans Jazz Museum to kick off the festival. The free live music will continue outside at the Mint for the day with five additional performances that include brass band, blues, Cajun & Zydeco and Latin genres.
The lectures inside the New Orleans Jazz Museum begin at 11 a.m. and encompass the purpose and theme of the festival. Fish policy, chefs’ stories about gumbo, the history of the daiquiri and more will provide audiences with expert knowledge of things intrinsic to the New Orleans experience. There will also be a screening of the one hour documentary “No One Ever Went Hungry: Acadian Food Traditions Then & Now,” by Kevin McCaffrey, a 2009 James Beard Award finalist.
Celebrating gumbo and the food of our region, the French Market will host a cooking demonstration stage in its Farmer’s Market from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Scheduled festival food vendors include Casa Borrega, Café Carmo, Grannie’s Cooking Pot, Miss Linda’s YakaMein, Queenie’s Daiquiris and Van’s Snoballs.
Downriver Fest will also have a children’s tent open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. where families can participate in free educational and artistic crafts with a focus on the river and sustainability.
Details on the musical performances can be found here.
The lineup is as follows:
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Kinfolk Brass Band Second Line (Jackson Square to New Orleans Jazz Museum)
11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. – Arrowhead Brass Band
1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. – Bluesy Pink Magnolias
2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. – Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots
4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Treme-Lafitte Brass Band
5:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. – Javier Olondo & AsheSon