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French Quarter Music Festival

Program Number: 10918RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/10/2013 - 4/15/2013; 4/6/2016 - 4/11/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Price starting at: $1,475.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Music Festivals
Meals: 11; 3 Breakfasts, 2 Brunches, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

You can’t get more New Orleans than this showcase for hundreds of local musicians on 14 stages throughout the historic Vieux Carré. There’s jazz, from Dixieland to contemporary, brass bands, classical, Cajun and Zydeco, rhythm and blues, gospel and everything in between. During private morning sessions, local musicians reveal the history and meaning behind their music as they perform just for you. Sample classic New Orleans cuisine from nearly 60 food and drink booths, visit private patios, enjoy fireworks over the Mississippi River, join in a “second line” parade and attend art exhibits and music workshops.


• Revel in three days of authentic New Orleans music at the French Quarter Festival.
• Sample the Crescent City’s famous cuisine at renowned restaurants like Commander’s Palace, Muriel’s, Palace Café and the Court of Two Sisters.
• Experience special performances by top New Orleans musicians.

Activity Particulars

Walking 6-8 city blocks per day.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

New Orleans

The Crescent City is among the United States' most unique and colorful cities, owing in part to the various heritages and cultures that influenced its growth over the past 300 years, including Cajun, Creole and French, a rich blend apparent in everything from the city’s architecture and cuisine, to its dialects and corner cafés.

Elegant Bourbon Street hotel located in the heart of the French Quarter, steps from all the music. Outdoor pool and fitness center.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Michael White-band leader

Dr. Michael White is a leading figure in New Orleans jazz and one of only a few to creatively carry on the rich clarinet sound of that city. He has played with many noted musicians, including Wynton Marsalis, and has 12 recordings under his own name. Michael has performed in over two dozen countries, and has been profiled in numerous publications, including the New York Times. In 2013, he was selected as Clarinetist of the Year at the Offbeat Magazine Best of the Beat Awards.
Doreen Ketchens--clarinetist

Doreen Ketchens is a musician whose primary interest lies in spreading the culture and traditional music of New Orleans all over the world, through performances and education. As the leader of the jazz band Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans, she has been called "Queen Clarinet", "The female Louis Armstrong", and “Lady Louie” by critics who have heard her perform. Her husband, Lawrence, plays the tuba, valve trombone and piano with the group. Doreen's Jazz New Orleans has represented New Orleans around the world, performing in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, South America, Russia and the U.S. They have played for four U.S. presidents, including Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr., Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. It is almost impossible to sit through a performance of Doreen's Jazz New Orleans without moving in your seat, shouting, clapping, or tapping your feet — we think you’ll agree!
Meals and Lodgings
   Royal Sonesta
  New Orleans, Louisiana 5 nights
 Royal Sonesta
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Royal Sonesta has a beautiful outdoor pool with garden. The hotel has one of the most beautiful patios in the city and flowers and fountains abound. In the heart of the French Quarter, the Royal sonesta is one of the most beautiful and desirable hotels in New Orleans.
  Contact info: 300 Bourbon Street
New Orleans, LA 70140 USA
phone: 504-586-0300
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $179 + Pre / Post stays usually available at a rate of $179 + depending on availability.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $179 + Pre / Post stays usually available at a rate of $179 + depending on availability.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check in: Wednesday 4:00 pm. If you arrive earlier you can check in if your room is available.Registration is 4:30pm Central. Followed by Orientation at 4:45pm. Dinner is 6:30pm. You will be staying at Royal Sonesta that night.
  End of Program:
Brunch: Walk to Court of Two Sisters 8:50-11:00 am. Hotel checkout: Noon. Bellmen will store luggage if you are leaving later. You will be staying at Royal Sonesta the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking available for $18 per day. This is a special Road Scholar rate.
To Start of Program
  Location:  New Orleans, Louisiana
  Nearest highway: Interstate 10
  Nearest airport:  New Orleans, Louis Armstrong
  From End of Program
  Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Louis Armstrong Airport (Moisant Field-MSY)


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
New Orleans Airport Shuttle
phone: 866-596-2699 xTollFree


Per Person/One Way:


$20 per person one way
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 




15 miles


Shuttle will be outside of the baggage pickup area. Shuttle may make stops at several hotels before arriving at your hotel.


Louis Armstrong Airport (Moisant Field-MSY)


From Airport




multiple taxis


Per Person/One Way:


$30(approximately) for one or two people
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 minutes 




15 Miles


It is cheaper to take Taxi for 1-2 persons. $30 for 2 plus extra for 3rd and 4th person.


Union Passenger Terminal New Orleans


From Train Station




multiple taxis


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


5-10 minutes 




1 mile

Driving Directions
  Royal Sonesta Hotel From West 1. Follow I-10 East to New Orleans Business District (Do not take I-610). 2. Continue to follow I-10 East and follow the I-10 Slidell Exit. 3. Continue on I-10 to Orleans Ave/Vieux Carre(Orleans Avenue becomes Basin Street as it curves toward the French Quarter). The exit will be on your right. 4. Take Basin St to Conti Street and turn left. 5. Follow Conti Street for 2 blocks and immediately past Bourbon Street, turn right into the Royal Sonesta garage.
  Royal Sonesta from East 1. Follow I-10 West to the Orleans Ave/Vieux Carre (Orleans Avenue becomes Basin Street as it curves toward the French Quarter). The exit will be on your left. 2. Take Basin Street to Conti Street and turn left. 3. Follow Conti Street for 2 blocks and immediately past Bourbon Street and turn right into the Royal Sonesta garage.
  Royal Sonesta from North I-12 After crossing Lake Pontchartrain, you will be on Causeway Boulevard. 1. Continue over the interstate, veering to the right and take the I-10 East to New Orleans Business District. 2. Follow I-10 East to the New Orleans Business District (Do not take I-610) 3 .Continue to follow I-10 East and take the I-10 Slidell exit. 4. Continue on I-10 to Orleans Avenue/Vieux Carre (Orleans Avenue becomes Basin Street as it curves toward the French Quarter). The exit will be on your right. 5. Take Basin Street to Conti Street and turn left. 6. Follow Conti Street for 2 blocks and immediately past Bourbon Street, turn right into the Royal Sonesta garage.
  Royal Sonesta from North I-55 1. Follow I-55 heading South. 2. I-55 and I-10 East will intersect, stay to the left and follow I-10 East to New Orleans Business District. (Do not take I-610) 3. Continue on I-10 to Orleans Ave/Vieux Carre Exit(Orleans Avenue becomes Basin Street as it curves toward the French Quarter). 4. Take Basin Street to Conti Street and turn left. 5. Follow Conti Street for 2 blocks and immediately past Bourbon Street, turn right into the Royal Sonesta garage.
Elevation Note: Totally flat terrain

Equipment Requirements: none required
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Orientation, Intros, Dinner and music
(Wednesday, April 10)
 Afternoon: REGISTRATION & ORIENTATION - 4:30 PM Chance to meet your fellow participants and your director for the week. Receive your packet of information and learn about the week's schedule, all the great adventures and dining venues we have planned for you. You won't want to miss this first episode of the French Quarter Festival program.
 Dinner: THE ROYAL SONESTA HOTEL - 6:30 PM Don't be fooled- this restaurant is no ordinary hotel eatery. You will be treated to a fabulous meal with impeccable surroundings and service. Special musical surprise.
 Evening: Listen to some Jazz after dinner--or just relax with your new Road Scholar friends.
Accommodations: Royal Sonesta
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Culture lecture, Field trip to City, Dinner on your own tonight
(Thursday, April 11)
 Morning: CLASS - "NEW ORLEANS CULTURE AND HISTORY-'IT'S A NEW ORLEANS THING' ". Hear about New Orleans traditions, celebrations, and its people. This entertaining class is taught by a true humorist who has participated in and lived here all her life. She oozes with "joie de vivre" that makes New Orleans locals so unique and memorable.
 Lunch: You will be dining at Commanders Palace either Thursday or Friday. Commanders is one of the best in the city and previous Participants rave on about the food and service-it is a true culinary experience worthy of all the praise. Dining in New Orleans is an event and you will be doing lots of it-so pace yourself.
 Afternoon: CLASS - "OUTSIDE THE FRENCH QUARTER"- OVERVIEW OF THE CITY WITH YOUR TEACHER ON BOARD MOTORCOACH. Places you will see today include: 25 mile wide Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou St. John) a waterway through the city), City Park and its magnificent oak trees, above ground cemeteries, St Charles Avenue, the "avenue of mansions" in the Garden District with its magnificent architecture and gardens. You will also get to see some of the devastation from Katrina.
 Dinner: Thursday-Sunday - 3 evenings and 1 Brunch-dine at some of New Orleans finest restaurants. 2 NIGHTS YOUR DINNER WILL BE ON YOUR OWN (RESTAURANT OF YOUR CHOICE) AT YOUR OWN EXPENSE. Yes, another meal - it's still early in the week-we promise not to weigh you on your exit from the program. NOTE: YOU WILL BE EATING AT Bourbon House, Palace Cafe and Muriels as well as Commanders Palace and Court of Two Sisters. All well known and respected restaurants in New Orleans. Please note that restaurants are subject to change.
 Evening: Use your free time after dinner to experience the night life in the French Quarter-hear some jazz at Preservation Hall, Maison Bourbon or just people watch. Use vouchers that we provide for special music venues.
Accommodations: Royal Sonesta
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Private Jazz performance, second line parade, music all over the French Quarter
(Friday, April 12)
 Morning: CLASS: New Orleans Music. You won't want to miss this fantastic class. New Orleans musicians share their knowledge of New Orleans Jazz and perform just for you!
 Lunch: See Day 2 for information. Another opportunity to sample the cuisine and enjoy the local food.
 Afternoon: All afternoon enjoy the sounds of music. Every corner has a different style of music just waiting for you!! Dixieland Jazz, Cajun, Rock and Roll, Brass Bands, Classical. The choices are endless. Something for everyone. And your hotel is in the midst of it all--one step away. Three days of MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC--that's what the French Quarter is all about (oh New Orleans Food is everywhere too--with a chance for you to sample all types of our food.
 Dinner: Dinner at one of New Orleans finest restaurants.
 Evening: Use free time, after dinner to explore more of the French Quarter. Suggestions: Preservation Hall, Maison Bourbon, Pat O'Brien's, Fritzel's, Palm Court and Cafe Beignet.
Accommodations: Royal Sonesta
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Private Jazz performance, music all over French Quarter, Cabildo, Presbytere vouchers
(Saturday, April 13)
 Morning: CLASS: One of New Orleans' top musicians and experts on Original New Orleans Jazz, along with his famous band, demonstrates as he speaks-- leaving you spellbound with his expertise.
 Lunch: See DAY 2 for information. We know that you must be famished-so get ready to experience another great meal.
 Afternoon: Another glorious afternoon of music! And you can puncuate it with a visit to Cafe du Monde, the Cabildo Museum, Mardi Gras Museum or private patio tours. Visit the Historic New Orleans Collection or Hermann-grima house. Attend any number of a large selection of classes about Jazz and New Orleans Music right near the hotel. Check out the website of French Quarter Festival ( for a sampling of what goes on. Vouchers included for several of above venues.
 Dinner: See DAY 2 for information. By now your shoes are getting tighter-it's not from the walking-it's from the eating!
 Evening: Free time, after dinner for more night life, music, and New Orleans culture. Either Friday or Saturday, listen to music in the charming Mystic Den at the Royal Sonesta or head back out for some New Orleans Jazz at a club.
Accommodations: Royal Sonesta
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Private musical performance, Brunch with private balcony, music all day again
(Sunday, April 14)
 Morning: A more leisurely morning to stroll the French Quarter --use your voucher for some Cafe au Lait and Beignets. Watch the river go by from the Moonwalk.
 Morning: Another up close and personal with New Orleans Musicians--some of our best play just for you in a private performance.
 Brunch: Brunch today at a famous New Orleans eatery--enjoy the French Quarter Festival scene from our own private balcony overlooking Jackson Square.
 Afternoon: More great music this afternoon!! More great food or free time to use VOUCHERS TO VISIT LOUISIANA MUSEUMS, buy that last souvenir-pralines, New Orleans tee shirt, or just one more beignet, Mardi Gras beads, a mask, or a Voodoo doll.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own tonight
 Evening: Free time, after dinner for more night life, music, and New Orleans culture! Use up those vouchers--more beignets or Jazz at Cafe Beignet or at the lounge in Royal Sonesta.
Accommodations: Royal Sonesta
Meals Included: Brunch

Day 6: Final brunch at Court of Two Sisters with band,farewells
(Monday, April 15)
 Brunch: Early BRUNCH AT THE FAMOUS COURT OF TWO SISTERS AT 9:00AM. This one is for the road - we send you off with a bang and surprises. Enjoy your last dining experience with new friends you have met as well as a realistic unclouded view of what New Orleans is really all about. Maybe you will also understand "what it means to miss New Orleans". You are now free to leave "the city with a soul"- but come back anytime. You can be back at the hotel for 10:30 am Check out is at noon. Transfer to airport on your own.
Meals Included: Brunch

Free Time Opportunities
  New Orleans, Louisiana ATTRACTIONS & EXCURSIONS
Aquarium of the Americas Audubon Zoo (Streetcar or boat) Cafe du Monde Free Ferry Flea Market French Market Glassworks School IMAX Theater Mardi Gras World - Free Ferry Ride Natchez Steamboat Riverwalk Marketplace St. Charles Streetcar
Beauregard-Keyes House Faulkner House Gallier House Hermann Grima Ursuline Convent
Louisiana State Museum - (closed on Monday) Confederate Museum (929 Camp St) New Orleans Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden - cab ride or street car Musee Conti (Wax Museum) St. Louis Cathedral Voodoo Museum Jean Lafite Visitor Center National D.Day Museum - (945 Magazine St-open 9:00 - 5:00) Ogden Museum of Southern Art - (925 Camp St.; Tues. - Sun. 9:30am - 5:30 pm Thursdays until 8:30pm. Closed on Mondays.
Gazebo (daily jazz outdoors) House of Blues Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Maison Bourbon Market Café (daily jazz outdoors) Mid City Lanes Rock n Bowl - Cab ride Mulate's Palm Court Jazz Café - cab ride Pat O' Briens' Preservation Hall Storyville District Tipitina's Snug Harbor - cab ride
Contemporary Arts Center Le Petit Theatre
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Creole Trombone

Author: John Mc Cusker

Description: John Mc Cusker is a noted journalist,musician, and photographer from New Orleans. Edward "Kid" Ory (1886-1973) was a trombonist, composer, recording artist, and early New Orleans jazz band leader. Creole Trombone tells his story from birth on a rural sugar cane plantation in a French-speaking, ethnically mixed family, to his emergence in New Orleans as the city's hottest band leader. The Ory band featured such future jazz stars as Louis Armstrong and King Oliver, and was widely considered New Orleans's top "hot" band. Ory's career took him from New Orleans to California, where he and his band created the first African American New Orleans jazz recordings ever made. In 1925 he moved to Chicago where he made records with Oliver, Armstrong, and Jelly Roll Morton and captured the spirit of the jazz age. His most famous composition from that period, "Muskrat Ramble," is a jazz standard. Retired from music during the Depression, he returned in the 1940s and enjoyed a reignited career.

Jelly's Blues: The Life, Music, and Redemption of Jelly Roll Morton

Author: Williams M. Gaines

Description: Jelly's Blues recounts the tumultuous life of Jelly Roll Morton (ca., 18851941). A virtuoso pianist with a larger-than-life personality, he composed such influential early jazz pieces as "King Porter Stomp" and "New Orleans Blues." However, by the late 1930s, he was nearly forgotten. In 1992, the death of an eccentric memorabilia collector led to the unearthing of a startling archive, revealing Morton to be a much more complex and passionate man than many realized. An especially immediate and visceral look into the jazz worlds of New Orleans and Chicago, Jelly's Blues is a definitive biography, a long overdue look at one of the twentieth century's most important composers.

Louis Armstrong: An American Genius

Author: James Lincoln Collier

Description: Louis Armstrong. "Satchmo." To millions of fans, he was just a great entertainer. But to jazz aficionados, he was one of the most important musicians of our times--not only a key figure in the history of jazz but a formative influence on all of 20th-century popular music. Set against the backdrop of New Orleans, Chicago, and New York during the "jazz age", Collier re-creates the saga of an old-fashioned black man making it in a white world. He chronicles Armstrong's rise as a musician, his scrapes with the law, his relationships with four wives, and his frequent feuds with fellow musicians Earl Hines and Zutty Singleton. He also sheds new light on Armstrong's endless need for approval, his streak of jealousy, and perhaps most important, what some consider his betrayal of his gift as he opted for commercial success and stardom. A unique biography, knowledgeable, insightful, and packed with information, it ends with Armstrong's death in 1971 as one of the best-known figures in American entertainment.

Jazz Masters of New Orleans

Author: Martin Williams

Description: Presents a portrait of New Orleans and the history of jazz as revealed in the careers of such jazz musicians as Louis Armstrong and Sydney Bechet. Williams was director of the Jazz Program in the Smithsonian Institution, and "brings a refreshing wholeness of perspective to the music." 287 pages, covers very slightly scuffed.

New Orleans Jazz: A Family Album

Author: Al Rose and Edmond Souchon

Description: If you are a lover and historian of Jazz, especially Dixieland, this is a must have. Many famous artists are listed, but also many obscure and unknown ones as well that helped form and develop the Jazz scene in New Orleans. Additionally, rare photos of numerous individuals, bands and locations in New Orleans are featured.

A Streetcar Named Desire

Author: Tennessee Williams

Description: Widely considered a landmark play, A Streetcar Named Desire deals with a culture clash between two characters, Blanche DuBois, a relic of the Old South, and Stanley Kowalski, a rising member of the industrial, urban working class. American playwright Tennessee Williams received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948.

All the Kings Men

Author: Robert Penn Warren

Description: All the King's Men traces the rise and fall of demagogue Willie Stark, a fictional character loosely based on Governor Huey ""Kingfish"" Long of Louisiana. Stark begins his political career as an idealistic man of the people but soon becomes corrupted by success and caught between dreams of service and an insatiable lust for power.

Confederacy of Dunces

Author: John Kennedy Toole

Description: A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel written by American novelist John Kennedy Toole, published by Louisiana State University Press in 1980, eleven years after the author's suicide. The book, published through the efforts of writer Walker Percy (who also contributed a revealing foreword) and Toole's mother Thelma Toole, quickly became a cult classic, and later a mainstream success. Toole posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981. It is now considered a canonical work of modern Southern literature, in the USA. The title derives from the epigraph by Jonathan Swift: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." The story is set in New Orleans in the early 1960s. The central character is Ignatius J. Reilly, an educated but slothful 30-year-old man still living with his mother in the city's Uptown neighborhood, who, due to an incident early in the book, must set out to get a job. In his quest for employment he has various adventures with colorful French Quarter characters.

Creole New Orleans Race and Americanization

Author: Arthur Hirsch and John Logsdon

Description: This collection of six original essays explores the peculiar ethnic composition and history of New Orleans, which the authors persuasively argue is unique among American cities. The focus of Creole New Orleans is on the development of a colonial Franco-African culture in the city, the ways that culture was influenced by the arrival of later immigrants, and the processes that led to the eventual dominance of the Anglo-American community.

Life On The Mississippi

Author: Mark Twain

Description: An invaluable companion to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi is Mark Twain's inimitable portrait of 'the great Father of Waters'. Part memoir, part travelogue, it expresses the full range of Twain's literary personality, and remains the most vivid, boisterous and provocative account of the cultural and societal history of the Mississippi Valley, from 'the golden age' of steamboating to the violence wrought by the Civil War.

Rising Tide

Author: John Barry

Description: An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the greatest natural disaster this country has ever known -- the Mississippi flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of nearly one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of blacks north, and transformed American society and politics forever.

Why New Orleans Matters

Author: Tom Piazza

Description: In the aftermath of Katrina and the disaster that followed, promises were made, forgotten, and renewed. Now what will become of New Orleans in the years ahead? What do this proud, battered city and its people mean to America and the world? Award-winning author and longtime New Orleans resident Tom Piazza illuminates the storied culture and uncertain future of this great and neglected American metropolis by evoking the sensuous rapture of the city that gave us jazz music and Creole cooking; examining its deep undercurrents of corruption, racism, and injustice; and explaining how its people endure and transcend those conditions. And, perhaps most important, he asks us all to consider the spirit of this place and all the things it has shared with the world: its grace and beauty, resilience and soul.

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