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NEWORLEANS - The gates to the 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival open at the Fair Grounds at 11 a.m. Friday. The first acts, including John Mayer, The Charmaine Neville Band and Jeremy Davenport, will hit the stage 10 minutes after that.

Jazz Fest is the highlight of the year for many people in New Orleans, but each year the parking situation is more like a reoccurring nightmare.

City officials reminded businesses that if they want, they can turn their property into a parking lot, but they must have a permit.

The permit is about $260 for a commercial business and $30 for a non-profit organization.

Those looking for a place to park are encouraged to park in downtown long term lots. From there, fest-goers can take public transportation to Gentilly or use the shuttle system festival organizers have arranged.

The Jazz Fest Express is continuous round trip transportation operated by Gray Line Tours. It starts running at 10:30 a.m. each day of the festival from the Sheraton Hotel, Toulouse Street at the river (next to Jax Brewery) and City Park (next to Marconi Meadows.) It will run until all riders are transported from the Fair Grounds. For more information call 504-569-1401or visit

Those lucky enough to find a parking spot near the Fair Grounds should not forget the basics - no blocking fire hydrants, sidewalks or driveways.

Drivers can pay to park at Langston Hughes Academy or St. Augustine High School and benefit programs at the schools.

City officials issued a few reminders for those choosing to take a taxi.

Cab rates to or from the Fair Grounds will be $5 per passenger or metered fare, whichever is greater. The rate only applies to trips heading to and from the festival within the New Orleans area.

It is suggested to get the cab receipt in case items are left in the cab and passengers need to track it down. Also, receipts come in handy for follow up compliments and complaints.

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