Black Rock French Quarter
The French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in Black Rock City, established in 1718 when the Black Rock Desert was first colonized by the French Queen River Company. Black Rock City was originally centered on the French Quarter, or the Vieux Carre ("Old Square" in French) as it was known then, but as the city is recreated at a different location each year, the relative location of the French Quarter to Center Camp and other landmarks sometimes moves. The French Quarter is situated on the highest ground in the Black Rock Desert, and is the only location on playa that is not underwater during the rainy season.
Some of the finest moments in our history have been communal meals. As far back as 2006, our Sunset Supper Club assembled guest chefs and incomparably quirky staff to gift meals with elegant table service. Golden Cafe had a long tradition of setting up our tables and chairs in the street and sharing dinner during the Burn.
So we are building on this history by creating a VAST dining table, about 100 feet long, lit by chandeliers, that winds through the inner playa detached from our camp. The table will be assembled from straight and curved sections, engraved and finished to represent the different aspects of our decades on playa. In addition to being the venue for our founding night dinner, and Mardi Gras crawfish boil, and Burn night dinner, the table will be a public space open for use by the entire Black Rock City community.
A catastrophe in the early days of the Burning Man festival destroyed most of the structures built in the French Colonial style, during the time of Spanish rule over Black Rock City. As a result, the most famous structures in the French Quarter were actually Spanish Colonial style built in 1788, following this catastrophe. In 2022, a returning French Quarter space colony began replacing the Spanish Colonial architecture with buildings in the Offworld Modern style.
The Black Rock French Quarter is a camp at the Burning Man festival. The camp is composed of various projects, each of which is devoted to a particular immersive experience, such as mixing cocktails, performing live music, baking breads and pastries, doing massage and bodywork, making and storing wine, crafting custom soaps, homebrewing beers, roasting coffee, cooking gumbo, or practicing meditation. The projects share these creative experiences with visitors, in an effort to transform visitors from consumers of gifts into participants in the creation of those gifts.
There are between 50 and 150 members of the Black Rock French Quarter in any given year, and projects within the camp aim to be between 2 to 6 members. This keeps things intimate, and ensures that everyone feels personal responsibility for making some aspect of the camp successful. All camp members are part of multiple projects, just like most people have multiple interests and responsibilities in real life. For instance, a member who is a doctor in real life might head up our Baking project, but then also help with our Medical and Leave No Trace projects. Some projects eventually grow beyond 6 members, so we split them into smaller projects, that work together to create larger structures or experiences. This process of splitting as a part of growth ensures that no project ever becomes so big that the members feel anonymous.
The Black Rock French Quarter is proudly a community effort, in every sense of the word. Every member is expected to participate in every aspect of the camp, without being forced to do so. We do not recruit members just to have enough bodies to staff the camp or enough money to fund it, and we do not accept groups without getting to know and accept every individual within that group. Everyone should expect to spend a few solid weeks before the event helping with preparation, a shift a day during the event helping run experiences and services within the camp, and an few solid days after the event helping to clean and wrap it all up. There are no task masters setting your daily schedule or forcing you to do this work, but we weed out everyone who is missing when the rest of us are working to make it all happen. You join our camp because you want to be part of it, and there is no place for you unless you are enthusiastic about doing your share.
Members are able to join the Black Rock French Quarter from September (right after we return from the previous Burning Man) through the start of August (when we leave for the next Burning Man). Your responsibilities to your community and to your self are core in determining whether our camp is the best fit for you. We do not accept anyone unless they are willing to apply as individuals and participate as individuals. So if you represent a group of 6 people who need a space for their RV, every one of you will need to reach out and engage us if you want to join. We accept new members based on their participation in the remaining 24 weeks before we arrive on playa, so you will need to start participating while we review your application.
We land on playa in just 24 weeks, so let us know NOW if you want to contribute...
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