I really like July 4 weekend in the Quarter. Not only do we have relaxed summer people walking around (as opposed to those intense visitors who think they're supposed to drink to excess, throw up to excess and scream in excess since they are in the Quarter) we also get the older, more professional visitors for Essence Festival. I like the idea of this festival and know many people who go and spend the day at the exhibits, seminars and networking before even going to the music event in the evening. You see many different groups of friends just walking around on Thursday and lots of couples who are carrying lots of shopping bags and look very glad to be in our city. I am pleased to see that most businesses in the Quarter have stopped their ridiculous behavior from the first few years of this event (closing for the weekend), and instead seem to be welcoming these visitors, just as they have always welcomed JazzFest visitors. You can thank Marc Morial for putting his foot down on that subject long ago... the diversity on this weekend is pretty wonderful, much like it is on Bayou Classic weekend, Southern Decadence or Mardi Gras.
I spent the day packing my car for a cocktail party I am throwing in the Lower Garden District, but after this is over tonight, I will stay in the Quarter hanging out for the rest of the weekend. Come get a muffaletta and a Barq's and watch the river go by, or for the fireworks tomorrow night, so go sit at the new restaurant at the French Market (Galvez) and have a cool drink while you see the show. Best of all, just mingle with your fellow citizens in the public square that is your French Quarter.