Explore the world’s richest musical city, starting with Louis Armstrong Park and Congo Square, the historic site of African slave gatherings, the only place in North American where pure West African religious rituals and musical traditions were performed. Congo Square is considered the wellspring of all New Orleans music and, consequently, so much of worldwide popular song.
It is also the site of the first New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (1970) and the Municipal Auditorium. Visit the building which housed Cosimo Matassa’s groundbreaking J&M Studios and created the “New Orleans Sound.” This is the true birthplace of rock ’n roll. See the New Orleans Musicians Tomb.
Its use was donated by the musical dynasty Barbarin Family for free burial to musicians. The first burial to take place was for Lloyd Washington of the Ink Spots on October 23, 2004. The Musicians Tomb was restored and is administered by Robert Florence of NOLA Historic Tours. Learn about the Second Line and Stroll down Basin Street where you’ll see the remains of Storyville (including Frank Early’s “My Place” Saloon where “Pretty Baby” was written), a fabled turn-of-the-century red light district whose parlors presented the likes of King Oliver, Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet and many more during the early days of jazz.
Then stroll through the Tango Belt to Norma Wallace’s and May Bailey’s and the site of the Old French Opera House, ending with the legendary Preservation Hall, a place which represents the past, present, and future of New Orleans music. Learn the origins of New Orleans Bounce Music and check out the world’s greatest street musicians who are carrying the flame to this very day, and learn where the hottest acts are playing.