4th Annual Downriver Festival To Focus On Oysters, Coastal Restoration

NEW ORLEANS – On Saturday, September 10, 2016, the Mississippi River, its historical influences and current impact on all things Gulf Coast will be explored and appreciated in music, food, lectures and walking tours during the 4th Annual Downriver Festival to take place at the Old U.S. Mint, French Market and Crescent Park from 11:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

         The free and open to the public festival will be presented by a coalition of institutions that includes the Louisiana State Museum, The Friends of the Cabildo, The French Market Corporation, The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and the Louisiana Museum Foundation, this year’s festival partners include The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, Crescent Park, Slow Food New Orleans and the Port of New Orleans, with additional stage funding provided by  New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation and the Consulate General of Mexico in New Orleans.

         Attendees can enjoy oyster shucking and cooking demonstrations in the French Market, talks about the oyster industry coordinated by Restore The Mississippi River Delta Coalition indoors at the Old U.S. Mint, and enjoy a selection of freshly prepared food including Oyster & Shrimp “SlowBoys,” oyster dishes provided by MoPho, Sac-A-Lait and Angeline and more, coordinated by and with special programming provided by Slow Food New Orleans.

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         Live music outside at the Old U.S. Mint will include performances by Pepe Coloma, Fredy Omar con su Banda, National Park Service Centennial Band, Bruce Barnes & The Louisiana Sunspots and Honey Island Swamp Band. “We are so excited to have such a dynamic group of musicians playing Latin, Blues, Rock & Zydeco,” said Jason Strada, Executive Director, Friends of the Cabildo. “The music of New Orleans is so heavily influenced from so many genres of music and we feel that we needed to reflect that on the stage at Downriver Festival.”

         The French Market will also host informational tables near the cooking demonstration stage, located in the Open Air Market. “Oysters are an indelible part of the food culture in New Orleans and the French Market’s history and we are happy to highlight this tasty bivalve and its culinary contributions for Downriver Festival,” Elisa Munoz-Miller, Director of Public Market Development at French Market Corporation, said. “We hope to educate people on the importance of the oyster to our waterways and coastal restoration while enjoying its briny and delightful flavor with some of our favorite New Orleans and French Market chefs and shuckers. As the saying goes: ‘Eat it to save it!’”

         Indoor lectures on the 3rd floor of the Old U.S. Mint from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. feature experts from around the state discussing everything from “What Makes a Tasty Oyster” to “The Port of New Orleans and Gulf Restoration”. 

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         “Louisiana is…unique in that it’s the only State whose lower half was formed by a river and is now washing away because that river has been prevented from continuing that task,” Andy Wilson, with Simon, Peragine, Smith and Redfearn, LLP, said. “And through it all Louisiana remains the leader out of all the States in oyster production.” Wilson will be in discussion with Maura Wood, Senior Program Manager, Coastal Louisiana Restoration, about oyster lease lawsuits at 4:00 p.m. inside the Old U.S. Mint at the Downriver Festival 2016.

         “Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is thrilled to be participating in Downriver Fest,” Helen Rose Patterson, Greater New Orleans Outreach Coordinator for Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition, said. “This is a unique opportunity for us to share information about oysters and restoration from a diverse group of folks who know a great deal about the topic. These symposium panels are going to be engaging for a wide variety of audiences and we’re looking forward to being a part of a busy, entertaining day.”

         View a full schedule here

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