What is the history of the Festival?

In 1986, Louisiana was in the middle of an extended economic slump. Concerned by the low morale and failing sense of community pride wrought by years of financial hardship, a group of New Orleanians pooled their varied skills to produce an event that would celebrate and share the enormous wealth of cultural traditions that enrich this unique region. The Festival was named to honor the special bond between New Orleans and Tennessee Williams, whose creative genius came to full flower in our city. Williams thereby exemplifies the long history of fertile relationships between artists (especially writers) and Louisiana. From a modest beginning (about 500 audience members enjoyed two days of entertainment), attendance has increased to over 12,000 audience seats filled and programming has expanded to five days and nights of activities, as well as a host of special events. Having celebrated our 35th anniversary in 2021, the Festival is looking forward to more exciting years ahead!