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Conventions make a return to New Orleans

Published: Jul. 10, 2021 at 9:55 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Weekends are starting to get back to normal in New Orleans as festivals slowly return and conventions come to town. Some say it’s the light at the end of the tunnel they’ve been waiting for.

The Faubourg St. John Bastille Day Celebration returned to the neighborhood after being postponed in 2019 due to Hurricane Barry, and canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“Everyone is just being able to connect, get out, meet new people or see people you haven’t seen in a long time,” said vendor Beth Altenbernd. She said she’s happy to be back on the market route, like at the Bastille Day event.

“It is fun to be out here,” said Jean Holland, who was having fun with friends in the street for the event. “It’s really like getting back to normal.”

One of the event organizers, Jacques Soulas, said this event was something they’ve been waiting for.

“Folks were here before we even started, so everybody’s excited,” he said. “Enjoy a little party on the street, some music, a little bit of food and drink, yes of course! It’s New Orleans! We all want this! We deserve it! We need it.”

As the crowds come out to support local vendors, restaurants, and musicians-- Conventions are coming back to downtown and people are excited to support the city as well.

“It was the first time we were able to gather and I’m so excited to have everyone here,” said Lanette Dumas, Exec. Director for the National Association of Family Childcare. She said the group was able to meet in New Orleans for the first time since the pandemic began.

“We had people on the waiting list like just dying to come and be here with us and so very very happy that we were able to you know take advantage of the city relaxing some of the restrictions,” said Dumas.

Nearly 500 guests attended this year’s convention from all over the country-- places like New York, California, Florida, Michigan.

Dumas said it felt good to give back to the city after what has been a tough year.

“Next year, we’re gonna have a thousand right? Everyone’s coming!” she said.

Back in Bayou St. John, sure it may be Bastille Day, but it’s a day to celebrate spending it together.

“It’s not big but it’s fun, and we do it for our neighbors,” said Soulas. “And we’re back! It’s even better.”

And looking forward to coming back even bigger.

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