Tropical Storm Karen Threatens Gretna Fest

Tropical Storm Karen is threatening plans for the annual Gretna Heritage Festival.

WGNO News Darian Trotter reports, organizers are watching the system and developing an emergency play.

The stage is being set, on the West Bank for the Gretna Heritage Festival’s 19th year; despite threats from Tropical Storm Karen…  The threat of wind and rain.

Crews are hard at work, placing protective covering on electrical equipment.

There are multiple tents and multiple layers of tarp.

“So right now we’re just buttoned up and covered and waiting to see what the weather does next,” audio engineer Brent Healy said.

Music fans are waiting too.

Weather permitting; the three-day festival will feature six-stages of classic rock, soul, and the sounds of local bands.

Mix in food, spirits, and carnival rides and it’s a weekend of family fun in downtown Gretna.

Trotter asked, “What would stop the show?” “It would have to be a significant wind event, more so than water,” Healy replied. “Rain, we can live with wind is when it starts to get dangerous.”

“Our stages, main stages can handle up to 40 mph winds, but we don’t want to push it to that level we’re going to put safety first,” festival chairman Ricky Templet said.

Templet says he’s been in constant contact with the National Weather Service; and he’s developing a contingency plan for crews working the tents, stages, and sound systems.

Trotter asked, “Not pulling the plug yet?” “We haven’t pulled the plug yet; we’re just keeping a close eye on what’s taking place,” Templet said. “Hopefully it jogs more to the east overnight and we’re going to reevaluate the situation,”

Templet has planned a conference call in the morning to reassess the situation.

He says if the show is not cancelled due to rain, refunds will not be issued to ticket holders who elect not to show up.