by Jeanne Brei
From the sounds of a brass band busking on Royal Street to the dueling piano bar at Pat O’Brien’s in the French Quarter, from zydeco to Cajun, from blues to gospel, from rock-n-roll to traditional jazz at Preservation Hall, there is music in the air everywhere in N’awlins. It’s hard to find moments that aren’t entertaining in the Big Easy—people watching could be a full time occupation in a city that sees approximately 10 million tourists annually—many of who come for music festivals—after all, there are approximately 130 festivals in New Orleans each year, which equates to roughly one festival every three days. From Mardi Gras to JazzFest to French Quarter Festival to Satchmo Summer Fest and many, many more—music lovers love to visit the Crescent City.
One of the best things about New Orleans is that sometimes, seemingly out of nowhere, a second line parade just starts rolling down the street. When that happens, just drop everything and roll with them. If a brass band is your style, you can catch the Soul Rebels at Le Bon Temps Roule or the Rebirth Brass Band on a Tuesday night at the Maple Leaf.
While the tourists head to Preservation Hall for trad jazz, if you’d like to visit a local musician’s hang-out, may I recommend New Orleans oldest operating jazz club: Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub at 733 Bourbon Street. Nestled in an historic 1831 building, the jazz club was founded in 1969 and has been a mecca for traditional jazz lovers and musicians alike. And they welcome sit-ins by professional musicians from around the world!
And then, of course, there’s Lulu White’s Mahogany Hall, where you can get an authentic New Orleans “experience” of great live jazz, cocktails (a little presentation about the history of Absinthe and then the Green Fairy will prepare your Absinthe in their signature preparation method) and burlesque from the Green Fairy just steps from Canal and Bourbon Street. They bill it as “the Absinthe Experience!” It’s a one of a kind show that embodies the spirit of New Orleans with a unique experience you can only get at Mahogany Jazz Hall.
If you’ve spent a week reveling in all the French Quarter has to offer, you may just want to hear the church choir at the St. Louis Cathedral on Sunday morning or the amazing Jazz Fest Shabbat at Touro Synagogue, the Trinity Church organ series, or the Soulful Voices Choir at St. Augustine Church.
Your musical cup will runneth over as you enjoy live musicians playing on street corners, at jazz brunches, coffee shops, nightclubs, festival venues, churches—may you carry some of the music back home with you so that you can keep on jazzin’ even after you leave the Big Easy!
Pat O’Brien’s, 718 St. Peter; Preservation Hall, 726 St. Peter; Le Bon Temps Roule, 4801 Magazine St.; Maple Leaf, 8316 Oak St.; Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub at 733 Bourbon St.; Lulu White’s Mahogany Hall, 237 Basin Street; St. Louis Cathedral, 615 Pere Antoine Alley; Touro Synagogue, 4238 St. Charles Ave.; Trinity Church, 1329 Jackson Ave.; and St. Augustine Church, 1210 Governor Nicholls Street.
This story originally appeared in the November/December issue of Exhibit City News, p. 77. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_flipbook_novdec2018