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New Orleans is known for its lively music scene and the huge number of street musicians taking over the many streets, corners and alleys. The best thing about the city (apart from Jambalaya) is, that you don’t even have to go into one of the bars or clubs to enjoy some live music. In fact, all you have to do is be out and about and stumble through town at the right times of day. Likewise, I didn’t go bar hopping and didn’t get a ticket for a live show, but just wandered the streets, listening to the never ending flow of talented street musicians. I stopped for a few minutes here and there on funky and entertaining Royal Street, hung out to listen to a huge brass band playing at Jackson Square and sauntered down Frenchmen Street to the tunes of a solo sax player.
To be honest, I don’t know very much about the street musicians of New Orleans. I didn’t feel the need for conversation, didn’t want to interrupt the players to ask about the name of their group or their story, but simply wanted to wander and to listen to the incredible tunes drifting through the streets. From young performers drumming away on plastic buckets and guys rocking their mouth organs or washboards to intricate melodies bursting forth from brass instruments, violins and guitars – the mix of music on the streets was mind-blowing. It’s acapella on one corner, R&B on the next and traditional Jazz just down the street.
Just make sure to tip the players before you hover and take photos though- that’s only polite. And if you really enjoy their music, why not purchase a CD? If you’re looking for a good spot to do some blue hour photography later in the day, head to Bourbon Street. This is the infamous party street, which strongly reminded me of the red light district in Amsterdam. Bourbon Street hosts all kinds of bars, strip clubs and burlesque performances as well as a fair share of strange, crazy and shady people and just happens to look great with the old French houses, the typical neon glow of shady establishments and the skyscrapers of downtown in the background.