Local resident cooks and sells barbecue in the neighborhood outside the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Credit: Nigell Moses/Verite

“Cold water! Cold water!” a man yells as pedestrians make their way to the Fair Grounds for this year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

For many New Orleans residents who live in the neighborhood near Jazz Fest, the excitement isn’t just what happens inside the festival grounds. 

With the festival right outside their front doors — and traffic flooding the neighborhood — those who live in the Marigny in the 7th Ward see Jazz Fest as an opportunity to make some extra cash and give tourists a true New Orleans experience.

As thousands park and walk through the neighborhood to get to the Fair Grounds, local residents become temporary entrepreneurs. They stand outside their homes and sell everything from barbecue burgers and alcoholic beverages to clothing and accessories. 

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Kerri Le and her family have been vendors outside Jazz Fest for 10 years.  They live in a corner house across the street from the entrance to the Fair Grounds. As Le cooks dishes from her catering business, L’e Nola Eats, her grandmother sells baked sweet treats and another family member sells cold bottled water. 

“We have everything, every year at Jazz Fest,” Le said. “Burgers, sausage, ribs, [and] chicken,” are just a few things she puts on the grill and she sells a few fried foods too. “We out here, every year.”

Trniece Poree sells jewelry from her Poree Line Accessories. The offerings include a variety of hats, sunglasses, finger rings and purses. Poree started her business five years ago and saw Jazz Fest as the perfect time to give her brand more exposure.

“It’s so much to love about New Orleans in general because we are our own culture,” said Poree, who was born and raised in the 7th Ward. “The people, the food, it’s just a lot to love once you come here.”

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New Orleans native Nigell Moses graduated summa cum laude from Xavier University of Louisiana with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication. She is a published contributing writer, with stories in The...