The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is a seven-day music, food and crafts extravaganza that is one of the biggest draws in a city known for big events — but outdoor festivals can be difficult for anyone to navigate, let alone for people with disabilities.
It’s why the Jazz Fest takes pains to help serve older patrons and the mobility-impaired. It’s called the Jazz Fest Access Program, and we’ve compiled a rundown of these services. Head over to the program’s page on the Jazz Fest website for more information.
The Jazz Fest Express shuttle bus offers lift-equipped buses for wheelchair transport, between the Fair Grounds and the Canal Street Sheraton, the Steamboat Natchez dock, and City Park near Marconi Meadows.
Shuttle service from downtown in $18 round-trip (not including parking), and $14 from City Park (with parking).
Call (504) 569-1401 or (800) 233-2628 to schedule a wheelchair-accessible bus.
The RTA also offers a Paratransit service — (504) 827-7433.
The Jazz Fest provides an accessible parking lot on Gentilly Blvd. for $50 a day. Space is first-come, first-served, and you must have a handicapped license plate or placard to use the lot.
Entry Gates and Access Center
All Jazz Fest entry gates are accessible, and designated ticket booth lanes have been set aside to facilitate entry. Volunteers are available to help.
The Access Center is located inside the Gentilly Pedestrian Gate, right in front of the Grandstand. Here you can find:
- Print and Braille copies of the Jazz Fest Information Guide
- Recorded program information
- Assistive Listening Devices (ID required as deposit)
- Schedule of ASL-interpreted performances
- Map of accessible toilets
- A TTY telephone
The Access Center is staffed with an ASL interpreter for emergencies. Also, the Paralyzed Veterans of America operate an adjacent booth to lend out wheelchairs.
A wristband is necessary to access reserved seating areas, and staff at the Access Center have maps to show patrons where the accessible seating/viewing areas are. The areas are reserved for people with mobility impairments and one companion.
Reserved seating is available at the following stages:
- The Acura and Samsung Galaxy stages have reserved viewing platforms located next to the Big Chief areas.
- The Congo Square stage has reserved seating located on the right side of the stage.
- The Jazz, Blues and Gospel tents have accessible seats marked with yellow signs.
There are accessible restrooms in close proximity to each accessible viewing area.
Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
The Access Center has wristbands and a map of the Festival indicating areas reserved for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and a schedule of ASL-Interpreted performances. Additionally, the Access Center provides Assisted Listening Devices for the Acura and Samsung Galaxy Stages.
Services for the Blind and Low-Vision
Braille and large-print programming information is available at all information booths and at the Access Center, as well as a recorded copy of program information.
Wheelchair-accessible portable toilets are located throughout the festival grounds. Locations can be found on the Jazz Fest website, and on maps distributed at the Festival.
Accessible toilets require keys, which can be obtained by checking out a key at the Access Center, or locating a staff member close by with the key.