The show would not go on without the secret stars of Jazz Fest


Posted on May 4, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Email: | Twitter: @WWLTV

NEW ORLEANS - Jazz Fest draws hundreds of thousands of people from around the world each year.

As can be imagined, it takes a huge staff to do this, and many of these people are not paid.

The fest wouldn't happen without a virtual army of volunteers who donate their time and effort to make sure everyone has a good time.

Everyday is a good day to be at the Jazz and Heritage Festival for Kathy Hannigan.

2012 is her 35th year volunteering at Jazz Fest.

"It's a lot of fun. And, being a native New Orleanian and making sure that everyone has a good time and likes New Orleans as much as I do is one of the things that's made me come back for so many years," Hannigan said.

Hannigan helps out in the contemporary crafts section of the fest, seeing to the needs of the vendors and visitors.

"It's just been extremely rewarding," Hannigan said.

"It's hard work coming out here, but we do it cause we love it," Joan Hessidence, a 32-year volunteer, said.

Hessidence said volunteers get a view of the festival most people don't see.

"We get here at seven in the morning, so it's pretty...It's great. We love it," she said.

While they may not take center stage, volunteers are the secret stars of Jazz Fest.

"Volunteers first of all is a big, big group. There's over 1,000 of them...They're institutions themselves," Jazz Fest producer Quint Davis said.

"I can't see an end in sight. I'm a lifer," Hannigan said.

For more information about how to apply to be a Jazz Fest volunteer, go to