Four day music fest kicks off in French Quarter - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Four day music fest kicks off in French Quarter

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NEW ORLEANS (KNOE 8 News/AP) - When the first French Quarter Festival launched in 1984, traditional jazz clarinetist Tim Laughlin recalls there was little interest and most of the streets in the 16-block area were largely empty.

That's not likely to be the case this weekend for what Laughlin calls the world's greatest block party.

The free festival was conceived to draw local residents back to the historic district after the underwhelming world's fair of 1984.

It now attracts hundreds of thousands annually to hear musicians representing genres from traditional and contemporary jazz to R&B, New Orleans funk, brass bands, Latin and zydeco.

This year's four-day opened Thursday for a run through Sunday. One highlight is Friday's scheduled performance by Grammy Award-winning pianist Dr. John, who last played a French Quarter Fest stage in 1987.

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