Survival Guide to Living Near Jazz Fest – Mid-City Messenger

A crowd enjoys an Indian Mardi Gras performance at the Jazz & Heritage Stage. (photo Paul Broussard)

After a few years of pent-up demand among festival fans, crowds are pouring in for the long-awaited New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The Fest typically draws around 500,000 people – more than the entire population of New Orleans – to the fairgrounds over the two long weekends.

Throughout the seven days of Jazz Fest, surrounding neighborhoods can expect road closures, traffic delays and heavy foot traffic. The New Orleans Police Department will limit vehicular traffic around the festival, and additional intermittent street closures may be required if crowd sizes warrant.

Below are some phone numbers and other information Jazz Fest neighbors need to survive the next two weekends.

But above all, enjoy the Fest. Take some music. Invite your neighbors over if you’re boiling crawfish or just drinking a beer on your porch while watching the crowds go by.

On Locals Thursday (May 5), residents can purchase one or two tickets for that day for $50 each. They are only available at the door and with state identification.

Restricted

As music lovers invade the Fair Grounds Racecourse, a restricted area will be in place from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on festival days. Vehicles without a residence permit will not be permitted within the limits of Mystery Street, Fortin Street, Gentilly Boulevard, Esplanade Avenue and Grand Route St. John.

Jazz Fest staff members handed out passes for homes in restricted-traffic areas. If you live in the restricted area and have not received a resident pass, email the Faubourg Saint-Jean Neighborhood Association at [email protected] or call Andy at 504-232- 1159.

Remember, these are not parking passes; they simply allow access through the barricades on holidays to get to your place. Parking is always a challenge – and parking patrols are in effect on holidays.

If you live on a street where there are residential parking signs in any part of the neighborhood, that’s different. You will need to obtain a residential parking permit (required year-round).

Calling the NAT line

The Neighborhood Action Hotline (NAT) provided by the Jazz Fest organization is available to report any Fest-related issues in the neighborhood.

Any resident affected by the Jazz Fest crowds should put this number on their contact list: 504-942-7799. The NAT line is for all Jazz Fest nuisance issues. Residents can also email [email protected], though officials can’t often check their emails on event days.

A 2018 survey of Bayou St. John neighbors found that in addition to traffic, excessive noise and litter are top neighbor concerns. Many have also complained about the pushy vendors near the fairgrounds.

Intrusion can be processed quickly; do not hesitate to call the NAT line to report it.

Street groups are part of the Jazz Fest experience. However, groups that are in the same place all day will be asked to move it around a bit, so that a neighbor can have peace while they can entertain festival-goers and earn some money.

The only department that can answer Illegal sellers is the revenue department, which deals with the inside of the festival grounds. The NOPD cannot do anything about illegal sellers unless they are trespassing, disorderly or displaying threatening behavior.

If there are illegal vendors with neighborhood access passes, NOPD and Jazz Fest folks can work to get their vehicle removed. The FSJNA has discovered that some neighbors are selling their passes.

When calling the NAT line, please provide clear and accurate information, especially if you need to leave a message. Tell the NAT operator:

• Where the incident or situation is occurring (street address if available)

• Who is involved (number of individuals, description of clothing, description of vehicle, etc.)

• What happens (vendors, intrusions, illegal parking, disturbance, etc.)

Also provide a callback number (you don’t have to leave your name) so that the NAT operator can call you if additional information is needed. Attempts will be made to notify callers of the status of their complaint. If you do not receive a callback, call back the NAT line and request the status.

An NOPD officer on traffic duty may report an incident, but he must remain where he is. NAT line operators can send information to agents who can respond.

The Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association documents the response of the NAT line. If you need to use the service, let FSJNA know if you have a good response, no action or a bad experience by e-mailing FSJNA.
A post-festival crowd gathers outside Liuzza’s by The Track. (photo via Facebook/Liuzza by The Track).

Non-NAT issues

If a car is blocking your driveway and needs to be towed, you can call the city’s parking enforcement office directly at 504-658-8100. Parking problems can also be reported to the NAT line.

For emergency and crime reports, dial 911.

Post-festival issues, especially noise, should be resolved by the First District NOPD. Do not hesitate to report call 911 or the non-emergency line at 504-821-2222. You can also call the First District directly at 504-658-6010.

First District captain Terry St. Germain told the FSJNA that his team will respond quickly and effectively to any one-time or recurring issues after Fest. Email Captain St. Germain ahead of time if you anticipate any problems.

Transportation

Car park: Parking enforcement personnel will be patrolling the streets during Jazz Fest, so be careful to follow municipal regulations, such as parking in the direction of traffic. If you park on the street, remember that cars cannot block sidewalks, driveways, fire hydrants, and cannot park within 20 feet of a crosswalk, intersection or a stop sign.

Lyft and Uber: The Lyft and Uber “Geofence” will be in effect from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Jazz Fest days. The boundaries of the Geofence are approximately Bayou St John, Orleans Avenue, North Broad Street, Gentilly Boulevard and DeSaix Street. Lyft and Uber pickups and drop-offs are scheduled in Gentilly and Paris, St. Bernard and Broad, and Ursulines and Broad.

Taxi: During the Fest, taxis are only permitted to drop off and pick up at designated taxi ranks at Parc Fortier on Avenue de l’Esplanade and Stallings Playground on Boulevard Gentilly.

Bikes: Bicycle parking areas are located next to the entrances to the Piéton Gentilly and Rue Sauvage Piéton festival. Blue Bikes will also have drop zones at these entrances.

RTA: RTA routes may experience delays or detours during the festival. All RTA service alerts, updates and deviations can be accessed by downloading the RTA’s GoMobile app. For more information, visit www.norta.com or call Ride Line at 504-248-3900.

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