You know that fall is near when the buzz on the West Bank is all about the Gretna Heritage Festival and you block out your Friday nights for the Back to the River concerts. In years past, the levee was covered in blankets for the free concerts, but this year the City of Gretna has stepped it up more than just a notch with the official opening of the amphitheater on the river batture next to the ferry landing at Huey P. Long and the Mississippi River.
We got there early on Friday night, before the stands filled up and all of the good spots were taken. The seating is so impressive and can seat hundreds without the need for them to drag their folding chairs down to the site (as a matter of fact, chairs are not even allowed in the seating area). Then there is the grassy area for additional seating and a sandy section in front of the stage…plenty of room for everyone who wants to enjoy a Friday night by the river with the breeze blowing.
No sooner were our chairs set up, the fire boat began cruising up and down the river behind the stage, spraying huge plumes of water up towards the sky against the backdrop of the city of New Orleans skyline and the Crescent City Connection bridge. What a spectacular view!
Before the Bucktown Allstars took the stage all of the Gretna officials were on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony. Mayor Ronnie Harris gave a wonderful speech, welcoming everyone to the concert series and encouraging people to support Gretna businesses. It was also announced that the change in route for the Gretna Ferry has been approved (thanks to much work from city council member Belinda Constant) and the ferry will begin traveling between Gretna and Canal Street permanently.
The concerts started early this year (they don’t usually begin until after Gretna Fest), so we have a couple of extra weeks to enjoy music, food, drinks and friends – all right here on the West Bank. Here’s the schedule of performers for the rest of the series. They didn’t forget about the first Friday in October…that’s the kick off day of the Heritage Festival and we’ll be out there for the entire weekend!
I have to say how impressed I am with the quality of events and entertainment put on by the City of Gretna. My hat is off to them for putting the residents tax dollars to work in such a positive way and making it a great place to live and play. See you next week at the river!