NEW ORLEANS -- Jackson Square was closed to the public Wednesday, but there was plenty of activity in the park as workers put up food tents and stages for the 29th annual French Quarter Festival.
The WWL-TV stage is one of 21 venues where music can be heard throughout the four day event.
The festival opens up Thursday with "Local's Lagniappe Day," along the river and in the square.
"We've loaded it with some New Orleans' most popular talent," said the fest's executive director Marci Schramm. "We've got Amanda Shaw, the Rebirth Brass Band, who just won their Grammy. Preservation Hall will open the WWL stage in Jackson Square."
Tourism leaders say French Quarter Fest kicks off the spring festival season in New Orleans in a back way.
"We know the festival drew about 533,000 people last year over the four days and had an economic impact of $245 million, so we're expecting great weather and large crowds for this year," said Kelly Schulz of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.
That is music to the ears of French Quarter businesses that depend on big events like this to pay the bills.
"I would have to say it's tremendous for the hotels, the restaurants, all of the small shops, because every year, it grows and grows," said Lisa Guillot from Tujagues Restaurant and Bar.
As French Quarter Fest gets bigger and better each year, it is also evolving with technology. This year, there are free apps for iPhone and Android that will tell you everything you need to know about this year's festival.
"It gives you the full music schedules, the complete menus with prices, a list of all the special events, a map of the event, the merchandise," said Schramm.
This year's poster is by local artist Brandon Delles.
"He did three paintings, capturing the Riverfront, Jackson Square and the Mint," said Schramm. "We took all three paintings and they're on one poster."
The fest kicks off Thursday morning at 11.
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