10 Music Spots to Add to Your NOLA Bucket List
You could write a whole book on this and it still wouldn’t be complete.
If New Orleans is known for anything besides Mardi Gras and drinking, it’s music. The city itself is difficult to describe; there are a million little pieces that make New Orleans what it is, and even if one teeny tiny piece is missing, it all falls apart. One could say the same thing about the very music the city gave us: Jazz. The infinite number of elements at play has to fall just right to create that smooth, warm feeling that rushes over you when you hear it. If you’re heading to New Orleans, take some time to appreciate the music culture that has permeated all kinds of music and all number of artists since it’s inception. These are just the highlights…
It would be silly to not list THE Preservation Hall first. (History…) (Description of band…) Don’t expect much in the name of décor when you walk in. Mostly bare wood walls and floors, it’s floor seating only, except for two benches against the wall. Here, it’s about the history and the music.
If you talk to anyone from New Orleans about music and Tipitina’s doesn’t come up, there’s something wrong. A music club that has been around since 1977, they are dedicated to music and to New Orleans through their Tipitina’s Foundation and community projects. See a local favorite like The Revivalists here.
Tuesdays at Maple Leaf Bar (21+)
Any other day is still a good day, but Tuesdays are a steal. The Rebirth Brass Band, a local group known far outside New Orleans, plays every Tuesday, and it’s only $25 to get in- a steal for seeing this band, especially given how close you’ll be.
Thursdays at Le Bon Temps Roule
After you’ve spent your Tuesday at the Maple Leaf Bar, spend your Thursday at Le Bon Temps Roule to see the Soul Rebels. Another local brass brand with more than just local fame, you are guaranteed to have the time of your life.
Blue Nile (21+)
A popular night spot on Frenchman St., it has live music every night. Usually funk, blues, soul and brass music, the dance floor is outrageous and the drinks are strong, so head there for some 21 and up fun.
Spotted Cat Music Club
A hub for local bands and local patrons alike, this is a perfect place to see live jazz while you’re out on the town. Located in the Fauborg Marigny, it looks like a dive from the outside, but everyone who has ever been knows you’re not missing anything if you don’t leave all night.
Louis Armstrong Park and Congo Square
Fun Fact: before Jazz Fast was a huge, two-weekend, full to the brim with headliners festival, Louis Armstrong Park was it’s home. Even further back in history we find Congo Square. Now a part of the park, it was a central area where enslaved African Americans would meet (and at one point, the only place slaves were allowed to meet by law) on Sundays to trade, socialize, and you guessed it, play music. It was here that a multitude of cultures blended and traditional African music survived, and later contributed to a new style of music: jazz. Now, you can walk around this area and hear street performers of all kinds.
One Eyed Jack’s
A personal favorite, it hosts touring bands as well as local ones, it’s a bar with live music and a concert venue. It’s an intimate place to see some of your favorite nationally known bands, and no matter where you’re standing, you’ll feel like you can reach out and touch the stage. Plus, it’s in the French quarter and a super quick walk to Café du Monde post-show.
Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors at One Eyed Jack’s
Another bar and concert venue located downtown near the Warehouse District, you’ll be able to hear some of your favorite bands in this cozy venue. Check who is playing that night, because it’s definitely worth a stop.
Walk through the streets
Lastly, it’s important to note that the music culture New Orleans is famous for is not from the professionals, it’s that it bubbles up from people of all kinds. The city is so steeped in rhythm and music that you’ll hear amazing music just walking through the streets, so take some time to do just that.