Business creeping back into the French Quarter

On what would have been the first day of French Quarter Fest, artists and businesses say signs of life give them hope.

Businesses slowly returning to the French Quarter

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Normally we would be kicking off French Quarter Fest on Thursday, but the famed festival has been postponed to the Fall this year.

However, that delay hasn’t stopped business in Jackson Square from starting to bounce back.

While it’s not quite festival crowded, artists like Alexander Greatness are thrilled there’s some movement.

“Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, they’re looking almost like what it was two months ago on a Friday,” Alexander Greatness said.

He’s not the only one energized by the signs of life.

“Mostly on the weekends, seeing the lines at Cafe Du Monde and then people just come over for the horses,” Rose Artist said. “It’s picking up, it’s picking up.”

Rose Artist says she noticed an influx of tourists about two weeks ago and it’s been helping her out.

“I can’t complain, man, it could be worse,” she said. “I just keep a smile on my face under the mask.”

This was Rose Artist’s first year selling her creations in Jackson Square. Just around the corner, Lee Tucker has been at it for 49 years.

“During the week is slower, but it seems like I do a little bit of something every day, generally,” Tucker said. “I think, since I started working a week before Memorial Day, I don’t think I’ve had more than maybe 10 or 15 days when I didn’t make anything.”

Tucker only took the first few months off and says many of his fellow artists have yet to return despite the situation looking a bit brighter.

“What are we waiting for? You know, you cross the line at the Jefferson Parish and it’s better, more open,” Tucker said. “You know, I think that needs to have serious attention.”

Some of the shops along the border of the square told me all the people you see out on the street, aren’t necessarily translating into sales for them.

But, Sales Associate Shannon Foley says it’s been a little different for Jackie’s, where she works.

“People are willing to spend on the full-priced items again which is amazing to see and really unexpected,” Foley said.

Foley says it’s a much-needed boost, although not what the festivals usually bring and what carries them through the slow summer months.

She says they’ll take it day by day.

“Without the festivals and without Mardi Gras, that’s really taken a hit overall, especially for the entire year coming up,” Foley said. “We’re just hoping that when Fall comes and things come back together, it’s going to be a big boom that we’ve missed earlier in this season.”

French Quarter Fest is scheduled for September 30 through October 3. Jazz Fest is the weekend after that, and many more big-name festivals are lined up for the Fall.

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