About the Festival:

The second annual "Downriver Mighty Mississippi River Festival" (Downriver Fest) will be held Saturday, September 13th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Old U.S. Mint and French Market. The all-day event will feature indoor and outdoor free entertainment related to this year's theme of "Coffee & Bananas", from brass bands performing Caribbean music, to presentations from historians, authors, culinary experts, and a former Riverboat deckhand.
The mission of the festival is to highlight the traditions of New Orleans that have been so heavily influenced by the Mississippi River and its connections to the world.

"We have expanded our programming and we have a wonderful lineup of music, food and presentations about the river and its connections with the rest of the world," noted Greg Lambousy, Director of Collections for the Louisiana State Museum and one of the event organizers.

This year's Festival Ambassador is Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes who will kick off the music at Downriver Festival at 11:00 a.m. with an ensemble of artists presenting the New Orleans National Historical Jazz Park's presentation "Songs of the Mississippi River".

"The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is excited to be a sponsor of Downriver. The Mississippi River played a huge role in the development of jazz in New Orleans and enabled it to travel to other parts of the country. It is wonderful to have a festival that reminds us of our connection to the river," said New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park Program director Matt Hampsey."

This year's festival is presented by Louisiana State Museum, Friends of the Cabildo, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, and French Market Corporation. Festival partners include Southern Food and Beverage Museum and Slow Food New Orleans with support from the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and WWOZ 90.7FM.

Click here for a link to the schedule

Full Schedule of Events:

Walking Tours 10:00 a.m., 12noon & 1:00 p.m.
Join a National Park Service ranger for a 30 minute walk to the Mississippi River to learn about the River's role in the founding of New Orleans and its influence on the music and food of the city. Tours are approximately 30 minutes and lead visitors from the Old U.S. Mint through the French Market to the River, and back.

Tour times: 10:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. Limited to first 20 people, first come, first served. No registration required.

Tours are given by licensed tour guide and New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park ranger Karen Armagost. Meet Karen in front of the Old U.S. Mint at the gates on Barracks Street.

Live Music: Old U.S. Mint stage (Outside)

11:00 p.m. - 12:00 p.m. NPS Songs of the Mississippi River featuring Meghan Swartz, Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes, Richard Scott, Jen Maurer, Gina Forsyth and Joe Stolarick

12:15 p.m. - 1:10 p.m. Cek Franceschetti: Blues from Italy

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Panorama Jazz Band performs Caribbean style jazz

3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Charmaine Neville Band

4:30-5:15 p.m. Kinfolk Brass Band leads a second line from the Old U.S. Mint through French Market to the River

COOKING DEMONSTRATIONS: Farmers Market stage in the French Market
11:00 a.m. French Truck Coffee demonstrates how to roast green coffee and how to make a "pour over cup of coffee". They will have their coffee truck on site, offering coffee for sale.

11:30 a.m. Palace Café demonstrates bananas foster.

12 noon to 2:00 p.m. Slow Food New Orleans presents "New Orleans: Gateway to the Americas":

12:00 p.m. Cooking Demo: "A Taste of the Tropics" by Chef Dana Honn of Cafe Carmo

1:00 p.m. Cooking Demo: "Banana Foster: The Amazon meets the Mighty Mississippi" by Chef Ryan Hughes of Purloo

Brazilian musical interludes provided by Blake Amos

Slow Food New Orleans is also curating the pop-up art show "Lexicon of Sustainability" that will be set-up near the food demonstration stage.

2:00-3:00 p.m. "Making a Jazz Gumbo" presented by New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park featuring pianist Richard Scott and percussion by Matt Hampsey with a live cooking demonstration of chicken and sausage gumbo by Deborah Etienne of Lafayette. The demonstration uses live music and a cooking demo to show how gumbo is a perfect metaphor for jazz, and vice versa.

3:00-4:30 p.m. Author, artist, chef & storyteller Liliane Nérette Louis performs a cooking demonstration and tells stories related to Haiti's influence on New Orleans culture & cuisine.

Talks Indoors at the Old U.S. Mint, 3rd Floor
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Lorin Gaudin: Bananas, Coffee and the Crescent City
1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Louisiana State Museum and Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SOFAB) Panel: Coffee & Bananas: How they shaped New Orleans.
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Sally Asher, Loaded Down With Iniquity: The 1866 sinking of the Evening Star
3:45 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. Ben Sandmel, Life as Mississippi River Deckhand in the 1970s


Convenient Parking is located in three nearby parking lots: The French Market riverside lot (enter near Jax Brewery and drive down for 6 blocks of parking available along the River and one block from the Mint); The Farmers Market annex lot (directly across from the Mint on Esplanade) or the Elysian Fields Lot (enter at Elysian Fields one block off Frenchmen Street, two blocks from the Mint).


Click here for a link to the full schedule online.