A hot time in the old town on tap

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NEW ORLEANS -- Two of New Orleans' most popular attractions -- music and food -- will be featured at the 20th Anniversary French Quarter Festival to be held in the Crescent City's most famous district April 10 to 13.

The festival will spread out over many city blocks in the Vieux Carre area between Bourbon Street and the Mississippi River, and from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue.

It will feature more than 150 bands performing at Woldenberg Riverfront Park, Jackson Square, the Louisiana State Museum's Old U.S. Mint, Bourbon Street and Royal Street.

The bill will include variations of jazz, from Dixieland to contemporary, as well as classical music, Cajun and zydeco bands, rhythm and blues and gospel.

Local restaurants will operate more than 60 food booths throughout Jackson Square, Woldenberg Park and the Old U.S. Mint, serving dishes such as alligator sausage on a stick, corn and crawfish bisque and crawfish and goat cheese crepes.

Other activities and events include an opening evening gala, private patio tours, fireworks over the Mississippi River, a parade, art exhibits and music workshops.

The festival begins April 10 with a "Funraising Party" at the new Bourbon House at Iberville. Advance tickets are $50 per person. Proceeds go to French Quarter Festivals, the nonprofit group that runs the festival.

Activities continue from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on April 11 and 12 and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on April 13.

Music panels and informational workshops will be held at the Old U.S. Mint.

For more information, call (800) 673-5725 or (504) 522-5730, or visit the Web at www.fqfi.org.

Also helpful is the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau at (504) 566-5011.

For information about tour packages for the festival, call Travel New Orleans at (800) 535-8747 or New Orleans Tours at (800) 543-6332.

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