Full disclosure: we landed in New Orleans with the Lonely Planet New Orleans Guidebook in hand, so a lot of these are what we considered the best of what LP suggested, with a few personal favorites.
New Orleans is fun. I mean real fun. Do nothing, do everything, eat, drink, laugh, listen. I can't suggest anything that will be better than what you'll read in a guidebook. Honest truth, if you like music, food and drinks, then please come here. If you dislike any of that, I think there is a documentary on TV right now about shoelaces. You should check it out.
Street musicians and buskers fill every block in the French Quarter during the day. This chap and his assistant were doing a magic show for about 2 people when I walked up. And when I left, about 50 people were watching as he entertained the crowd.
This lone trumpet player hanging out tooting his own horn in Jackson square.
Every block you find a new musical group playing for your attention.
If you stop at every one of them, it can be hard to get anywhere.
Please take a minute to appreciate this photo, as it cost me $5. Basically, these guys hang out right next to Cafe Du Monde and play music for tourists. They are also very photogenic and happy to have their picture taken... but it is going to cost you.
Both of these areas are great for live entertainment, and everyone probably has their own feelings, but I prefer Frenchmen Street. I think the Music is better and the people are there to listen and love it. I think, in my short time in New Orleans that people on Bourbon were out to get drunk. Both great in their own way, but I prefer Frenchmen.
Preservation hall is the iconic live music venue. Costs $12 to get in and you aren't guaranteed a seat. The band is really a group of old guys who play an older style of jazz. It's very much like revisiting what I think New Orleans used to be like.
Big "Al' Carson Sang blues at the Funky Pirate this night. You can expect to find live music never more than a stones throw away in either of these areas. I found more blues and rock was on bourbon street to please the masses.
Personally, I think Frenchmen Street area is a better scene. That is unless you're into public indecency and crowds of drunken people. The spotted cat music club for example had a great band. Actually all of the places on Frenchmen had great Jazz music.
And d.b.a is where I got the best piece of advice about New Orleans musicians. It was on the bathroom wall.
Snug Harbor, d.b.a., and the Apple Barrel Bar are must see places.
Bourbon Street is fun but Frenchmen is where the best fun is had because it's laid back and local.
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