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‘Built by the community’ is theme of 6th Annual Gentilly Fest

30th September 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Kelly Parker
Contributing Writer

It’s always festival season and the Big Easy, and one of our most renowned areas will once again commemorate music, culture, and progress.

The public is invited to celebrate the 6th annual Gentilly Fest- “Built by the Community,” presented by Wal-Mart; which takes place October 4-6 at the Pontchartrain Park playground; located at the corner of Press and Prentiss Dr.

Free and open to the public, and celebrating all things Gentilly; the event will feature live music on four main stages, delicacies for a variety of local restaurants and caterers, along with fine arts and crafts for sale.

The weekend kicks off with a concert, sponsored by Capital One Friday night at 5:30 p.m. Acts include Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Brass-A-Holics, Markois and will close with Bag of Donuts.

Saturday’s festival events take place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

“Gentilly Fest is very important to the community, over the past six years we have made an impact by bringing awareness to the economic needs of the Gentilly community as well donating funds to our first responders who were in need.” says Gretchen Bradford, festival executive committee chairperson.

The festival will include a presentation of proceeds from last year’s festival to the NOPD, three local Fire House’s and local youth playgrounds and music camps for kids. This year’s event proceeds will benefit sports programs of the Milne and Pontchartrain Park playgrounds, as well as Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp for Kids.

Much of the historic neighborhood lost its residents as a result of hurricane Katrina eight years ago. However, many have returned to the area to restore and rebuild; thanks to neighborhood associations like the Gentilly Civic Improvement Association, the Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association and the Gentilly Terrace Neighborhood Assoc­iation.

This year’s event comes on the heels of the start of construction on the much anticipated Wal Mart Supercenter, which plans to open next summer, along Chef Hwy. and Press Drive; the staple of the community that once was the popular Gentilly Woods shopping center.

On Saturday, October 5, the day begins with a with a Kick-off Parade at 10 a.m.; beginning at Chef Menteur Hwy and Press Drive and ending at Pontchartrain Park. New Orleans Native and American Idol season 12 contestant Burnell Taylor will serve as Grand Marshal.

At 12 noon, Bike Easy will partner with Gentilly Fest to sponsor a police escorted bike ride. The eight-mile bicycle second line starts at Pontchartrain Park, and concludes with an after party at the festival.

Saturday’s musical performances include the Erica Falls, Wes Raymond and the Soul Factory, Boogie Men, Alia Fleury, Blue Orleans, TUCKA, U4RIA and Vince Vance and the Valiants.

On both days the very popular Gospel Tent will feature performances by local choirs from throughout the city, including Holy Cross, Gospel Creators, St. Raymond/St. Leo the Great, Zulu Ensemble, Pentecost Baptist Church, Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church Choir, and Zion Harmonizers, and more. The always-popular Brass Band stage feature local brass band performances and host its school competition again this year.

There will be much for the kids to enjoy at Gentilly fest, thanks to Sponsors such as Entergy and the Urban League. Young fest goers can enjoy a kids village with pony rides, face painting as well as book signings. The New Orleans Kids stage will feature local dance groups, cheer squads, karate, musicians and singers.

Daughters of Charity will also take part in this year’s Gentilly Fest, providing free medical screenings.

On hand for the Sunday concerts are Ka-Nation, Real Love, the Soul Heirs, Wise Guys, and Mia Borders. Gentilly Fest will conclude with a performance from Chrisette Michele.

“We are so pleased to have Grammy Award-winning R&B singer-songwriter, Chrisette Michele as our closing act on Sunday,” Gretchen Bradford told The Louisiana Weekly. “Her participation in the festival will take us to a new level.”

For more information, visit the Gentilly Festival, Inc., web site: www.gentillyfest.com.

This article originally published in the September 30, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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