2-day Satchmo Summerfest begins tomorrow as coronavirus cases increase

(Photo: Zack Smith | Courtesy of Satchmo Summerfest)
A two-day festival honoring the late Louis Armstrong starts tomorrow in the French Quarter even as officials warn against increased cases of a contagious COVID-19 variant.

The festival begins at noon at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, located at 400 Esplanade Ave. and will feature two stages with live music and a half dozen local restaurant vendors.

A festival launch party kicks off Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. aboard the Riverboat Louis Armstrong. Tickets for the event, which cost $50, are no longer for sale online.

The festival is named after Armstrong, a New Orleans influential jazz trumpeter, who was nicknamed “satchel mouth” due to his large mouth and coincides with his Aug. 4, 1901 birthday. Armstrong died in 1971 at 69 years old.

Last year’s Satchmo Summerfest was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers in June announced the return of the festival would return in July and as cases of the coronavirus continued to drop following vaccination efforts.

Daily new infections were as high as 581 in Orleans Parish in January, but steadily declined and remained relatively stable at about just over 100 cases or below from the end of February until the beginning of July, when they began creeping up, according to health data as recent as Friday.

New infections per day surged to 693 on July 26 and have slowly declined to 393 on July 30, data show.

Officials are attributing rise of infections to the emergence of the coronavirus’ delta variant, a mutated version of the disease which was first detected in India December 2020 and is more contagious, although vaccines have been shown to be effective against the variant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Organizers said the festival will operate under coronavirus guidelines provided by New Orleans officials and the CDC, including mask wearing.

Festival tickets at the door are $10. The festival ends at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1. More information on the festival’s events can be found on social media.

On July 21, New Orleans health officials issued an advisory asking residents to wear masks indoors to prevent the increase of daily infections, which they are attributing to unvaccinated people.