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  • Megann Horstead

New Orleans North brings southern vibes to downtown Joliet

Southern vibes returned to Joliet June 9 at the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s sixth annual New Orleans North.

The downtown area transformed into a street festival, as people who donned beaded necklaces came together to celebrate.

“It’s the kickoff to summer festival,” said Mary Jaworski, president of Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We have the Taste of Joliet coming up. [New Orleans North] is the first one.”

Live entertainment, food, street performers and a raffle drawing were some of the highlights captured throughout the evening.

“We have a little bit of everything,” Jaworski said.

Typically, the event brings in between 5,000 and 6,000 people.

The event’s popularity rings true for many, Jaworski said.

“It’s an ages 21 and older event,” she said, noting the City of Joliet doesn’t have another community event like it. “It’s proved to be a lot of fun.”

Taylor Quain, of Lockport, said she was enjoying the evening.

“It’s really nice,” she said. “I think that when the sun’s going down, it’s obviously much cooler, but there’s a lot of drinks and there’s food,” she said. “The music is really good, so that’s exciting.”

This year was Quain’s first time attending New Orleans North.

Quain said she never imagined what they would find when the three decided to go.

“It’s [a] pretty good [turnout,] and I heard it’s going to get more packed as the night goes on, so that’s going to be exciting to see,” she said.

Roberta Cronholm, of Lockport, went on to agree, and said it’s still early.

“It gets so packed a little bit later,” she said.

This year was Cronholm’s third time attending the event.

Cronholm said she had been looking forward to returning to New Orleans North.

“You enjoy the music, have some drinks and get to catch up with old friends,” she said. “It’s been fun.”

Juana Hollenbeck, of Joliet, was enjoying the festival’s signature Hurricane drink.

“We already ate,” she said. “The food was good.”

Hollenbeck came to this year’s festival with her husband, Paul.

“We just got back from New Orleans actually last week,” she said. “We’ve been there a few times, and this is our first time here. We said we wanted to compare to the real thing. It’s perfect. It’s awesome. It’s really festive.”


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