Sunday, March 6, 2016

Jazz in New Orleans

After the Wizard World convention, Doug and I stayed a few more days in New Orleans.  One afternoon we walked down to Jackson Square, located in the heart of the French Quarter, to check out the jazz street performers.

The one-block area - facing the St. Louis Cathedral, The Cabildo and The Presbytere - also supports an open-air artist colony, street performers and fortune tellers reading palms and tarot cards.

When the jazz band took a break, Doug and I walked further down St. Peter Street to get reserved seating that night at Preservation Hall (726 St. Peter Street), a no-frills music venue founded in 1961 to preserve and promote traditional New Orleans jazz.

When we saw the sign for Pat O'Briens (718 St. Peter Street), we knew we were only a few steps from Preservation Hall.

Once a speakeasy, in the 600 block of St. Peter Street until the repeal of Prohibition in March 1933, Pat O'Briens is now a popular New Orleans restaurant featuring live music and the famous Hurricane cocktail.

After getting tickets for Preservation Hall, we walked back down St. Peter Street to enjoy more "free" music.

We then decided to have an early dinner at Antoine's, operated by the same family since 1840.  The restaurant (713 St. Louis Street) has 14 dining rooms, serving "such New Orleans culinary treasures" as Louisiana Gulf shrimp, crayfish and oysters - notably Oysters Rockefeller, which was invented by Antoine's in 1889.

The 620-square foot Preservation Hall holds about 100 listeners who squeeze onto wood benches, which we reserved earlier in the afternoon for the first evening performance, or stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the back of the room.

(Southern Living in the February 2016 issue, p. 83, wrote:  "If Nashville's Ryman Auditorium is the Mother Church of Country Music, then Preservation Hall is the Mother Church of Jazz.")

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

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