It’s no secret that the quality of musicians New Orleans produces is unparalleled across North America. It is, after all, the birthplace of jazz, and we’ve never been to a city that plays it better. But it’s not only jazz you’ll hear as you stroll through the French Quarter and in and out of the renowned bars on Frenchmen street. You’ll hear everything from blues to modern rock. And you’ll be as surprised as we were when you realize there’s no one at the front door of these venues collecting cover. Some of the best live music being performed in the U.S. is being played by musicians who carry around a tip jar between songs.
But the music isn’t only being played indoors. The quality of music that accompanies you as you walk the downtown core is almost as awe-inspiring. Jackson Square is jam-packed with street performers, the majority of them musicians, and some of these talented people are performing on anything that will make a sound.
The video below depicts just a few of the musicians we encountered on the streets of New Orleans. A man in a colourful bunny suit outside the gates of Jackson Square; a duo singing from the soul on Magazine street in the Garden District; a drummer troupe hammering on the bottoms of plastic buckets on Bourbon street; a woman howling over an accordion from a stage set up in her truck; and two and a half violinists serenading a crowd at the foot of the Louisiana State Museum.
When you’re in New Orleans, take some time on your walking tours to stop, listen and pay your respect to the many people who eke out a living entertaining tourists every day. And if you have some spare change, drop it in their buckets and tip jars. We should all be grateful we have such easy access to the musicians of New Orleans.