NEW ORLEANS — Jazz and Heritage Festival officials haven't released any official attendance numbers yet, but many attendees said the crowds seemed massive even on days when it rained.
After two weekends of all-day fun, the clean up began Monday. Inside the gates at the Fairgrounds, crews were hard at work all day beginning to deconstruct what seems like its own city.
Meantime, residents in the neighborhoods around the Fairgrounds got a bit of a reality check.
The festival ended Sunday night with the first performance by Trombone Shorty to close it out on the Acura Stage. But for two weekends, festival-goers overflowed the Fairgrounds into the surrounding neighborhoods.
“I'm glad it's over,” said Mo Diener, sitting on his porch after completing his own clean-up sipping on a last afternoon beer. “I mean, I can park in front of my house again. It was … it's insane,”
Diener said Tuesday, his first day back at work post-fest was going to be rough.
The surrounding neighborhoods are transformed every year for the festival.
“I sit right there in my backyard and hear everything I want to hear,” said Nolan Bajoie a resident on Maurepas Street, just a block from one of the entrances.
Residents said this year was just as insane as every other, even with several rainy days and cooler weather. People streamed through the Bayou St. John neighborhood streets, having a blast the whole way.
If it was trashed, it's not anymore.
“They must do like they do for Mardi Gras,” Bajoie said.
“It was pretty trashy the other day. I guess they did a pretty good job of cleaning the streets,” said Donovan Thibodeaux, a UNO film student who also lives in a nearby duplex.
Along with the clean up comes sobering up.
“Do you think everybody has a hangover? Probably so. I would think so,” Thibodeaux said.
Jazz Fest organizers and contractors worked Monday to disassemble the town created for the festival at the Fairgrounds.
“It's a lot of beeping in my next two weeks when they’re taking it down,” said Chris Dunn, who was staying at a house across the street from the Fairgrounds fence.
What won't wash away quite so easily are memories of the mud and the boots now caked and coated sitting on porches near and far. Even those outside the fest said it was quite a sight.
“Like mud puppies,” Bajoie said. “They had mud all up to their knees, on their hands and stuff you know. They came to enjoy themselves, so they didn't let the rain bother them or nothing like that.”
“It was muddy. It was muddier than I've ever seen it. But after that, it was the best weather that I've ever seen it,” Dunn said.