Roots of New Orleans music run deep (and wide).  The late Ernie K-Doe, self-proclaimed Emperor of the Universe, declared “all music comes from New Orleans”.  A slight exaggeration, however, K-Doe was a bit of an exaggeration himself.  Nonetheless, most scholars agree that jazz, the only true American art form, did indeed come from New Orleans.

There are plenty of books that tout the musical history of the Crescent City such as I Hear You Knockin’, Up from the Cradle of Jazz, In Search of Buddy Bolden, and the recently published biography of Ernie K-Doe, Ernie K-Doe: The R & B Emperor of New Orleans, by Ben Sandmel. These are all excellent reads and fun to immerse yourself into these various eras of New Orleans music.

However, the title of this blog is “Out and About in New Orleans.”  The exciting news is that in recent years, there has been a growing number of music history tours available for non-scholars of music.  The perfect way to immerse yourself in New Orleans music AND get out and about.

All the various tours agree on one thing…Jazz is America’s great original art form.  Each tour has a unique look at the city’s thriving music scene and rich musical history.

To learn about the roots of this great American art form.  Start with John McCusker’s “New Orleans Jazz History Tour”.  McCusker brings jazz to life.  He is a published author on New Orleans jazz history, “Creole Trombone: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz.” Plus he is a banjoist as well.  His tour takes you on a ride through the neighborhoods where jazz was created over a century ago.   You will see where many jazz legends lived and worked, such as Kid Ory, Buddy Bolden and Louis Armstrong.

Historic New Orleans Tours offers a similar tour, however, theirs is a walking tour and it starts at the preeminent tradition jazz club, Preservation Hall (note by reservation only).  You stroll through some of the historic jazz areas such as the Tango Belt, Storyville and the Treme.

Speaking of Treme, anyone familiar with the HBO series TREME will be familiar with the outrageous character of Davis, based on the real outrageous character Davis Rogan. Rogan is a New Orleans native and musician and an incredibly gifted orator.  The Real New Orleans offers a tour with Davis.  A cultural tour going through Davis’ Treme neighborhood, hitting some of his favorite historical sites and musical clubs as well as dining at one of his favorite eateries.  Note: Davis enjoys his food and is an excellent chef and has a refined palate, so no matter which haunt he chooses it is certain to be delicious.

Lastly, New Orleans Music Tours, offers several tours including Jazz on the Rocks, Music Gumbo, and Night on the Town.  Their stable of tour guides all live and work in the areas in which the tours travel.  Two of the three guides are professional musicians whom just enjoy the opportunity to share New Orleans rich musical and cultural heritage with other people.  They are engaged and passionate which just adds to the already exciting subject matter.

As the Satchmo SummerFest approaches, take the opportunity to learn a little bit more about our great natural resource.

See you out and about in New Orleans!

Every thing lovely,

Out and About is a weekly blog by Leslie Compton of Every Thing Lovely, a special event and creative consulting team, and is sponsored by Key to NOLA Properties, a full service real estate brokerage firm specializing in furnished rental properties in New Orleans. Key to NOLA Properties and Every Thing Lovely have joined forces to provide a full array of services for travelers’ (and locals’) personal and professional needs while in the Crescent City.