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Jun 28, 2009 10:55 AM

French Quarter Festival question..

OK, so I'm planning my husband's 40th {39th} birthday party in New Orleans April 2011 {yes, I know I'm early!} and I just saw that the date that I picked is during FQF. How far in advance do restaurants and hotels book up for FQF? Is it as packed with tourists as JF is? I'm going to do his party at an event venue {Latrobe's on Royal}, not a restaurant, so I'm not worried about that. I'm just curious how far in advance I'll need to have people book their rooms and make any other reservations they might want to make for meals.

Also, is FQF fun? It sounds like a great time and something our friends will really enjoy. Is it a madhouse?

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  1. It draws around 400k. Quarter is packed, stages are packed. I'd reserve rest. about 1 month in advance. Check with your chosen hotel as to advance booking. Good fest but if I could only choose one, JF, hands down.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JazzyB

      I love JF, but since we'd be down for my husband's bday, I figure we might catch a show or two, but the main reason for going is the party.

      The venue is on we'll be walking right into the middle of it, but we're fun, we can handle it! Might ruin my plans for a second line though, I guess.

    2. During FQF, things were absolutely packed. Personally, I would book at least six weeks out. I did notice that some hotels did raise their prices substantially during this time, so you may want to consider another date in April if possible. We had a good time and enjoyed a lot of the music, but manuvering through the crowds did prove difficult at times. I usually stay out of the Quarter most of the time, but we did go to Jackson Square with the kids and were in tight quarters. As far as the bars in the Quarter, I am not certain because throughout the fest we were not there at night. I prefer Jazz Fest as well.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ScarlettNola

        I wish more people preferred JF, so that my husband's birthday weekend wouldn't be so packed! I really want to do the party on the weekend of his birthday, but maybe I should do it the weekend before. I think our friends would enjoy being there during FQF with enough planning though. Hmm...

        1. re: KateMW

          personally, I wouldn't cancel for FQF weekend...I didn't do one day of JF this year but I spent the entire weekend in the quarter for's a better fit for I'll be the first to say that I prefer the food at FQF (gasp!!)

          how many days are you staying? if it was my trip I would book a day or two before or after the fest so you can enjoy the restaurants without crowd worries and still take full advantage of the free music

          plus you have plenty of time to find that perfect spot to stay...

          1. re: KateMW

            One really cool thing about FQF is that you hear mostly local bands. JF tends to be more national acts, and a little less jazz to be honest. Either way, you have plenty of time to plan and to book dinner reservations prior to the influx of people. If you have not done so before, try as you get closer. There are about 80 restaurants that will take reservations via the website.

            1. re: ScarlettNola

              Oh we've got tons of time! :) I think the festival solves one of my issues I was having actually. I didn't want to host two parties {big party is Saturday night and I was thinking of doing some sort of welcome happy hour on Friday}, but was feeling guilty about not doing some sort of dinner. Now people can get a little buzz, then go to the festival and eat yummy food and listen to free music. Perfect!

        2. I think you could have a lot of fun with an event like this during FQF. Just remember to reserve early, and reserve everything. I think the key to this idea is whether the guests are the kind of people who can endure crowds. If so, the music, the weather and the food booths should make up for the lack of elbow space. If they can't deal with crowds, choose another weekend.

          4 Replies
          1. re: midcity

            I enjoyed FQF, but a bit of it was hampered by the fact that I was pushing a stroller and keeping my eye on my four other children. I would not think that a group of adults would have too much of a problem with the crowds and midcity is correct-the food was excellent.

            1. re: midcity

              I think our group would enjoy the hell out of it actually. We're a fun loving wild group of middle aged people. :) We won't have kids with us {except maybe our daughter, but I'm planning on bringing a babysitter with us to watch after her during the party and take her home when she gets tired, etc.} and we all like to let loose at least a couple of times a year. I've got plans to go down this year for FQF and check it out. I'll see then I guess. I'm leaning towards keeping it during that weekend because it's his actual birthday.

              1. re: KateMW

                Good resolve! FQF is entirely enjoyable, food's excellent, you can be in/out at your choosing. Prices'll surely be surprise. Its size and scope are manageable and MUCH more locally focused. C'mon, y'all

                1. re: brucec

                  I cannot wait to get a sitter and head back next year without the kids in tow. Strollers and large crowds do not mix, although we listened to quite a few sets and they danced, sang and had a fabulous time!