Saturday, March 31, 2012

Preservation Hall

So, 2004, before hurricane katrina was a sparkle in anyone's eye, my parents and I visited New Orleans. Needless to say, the charm of the city was irresistible to me. I decided then that New Orleans was where I would live when I was older. As an 11 year old, I didn't really understand the ninth ward or know it existed. On our visit, we spent a lot of time in the french quarter, and I ate up the tourist spiel just like the beignets in the wonderful french-reminiscent cafes on every corner. The next year, when Hurricane Katrina hit, it was almost impossible to hold these two visions of New Orleans in my head at the same time.
Growing up on a strict musical diet of old-school jazz, my enchantment with New Orleans reached its peak when we visited Preservation Hall. Originally built in 1750, this hall has fluctuated in its established purposes from residence hall or jazz club, tavern, etc. However, it has always held a strong connection to Jazz music in New Orleans, and is now committed to keeping alive the musical roots of the city through performance and education. To give you a sense of the space, it is a tiny, tiny room, packed with people and noise. It is so overheated, and so full of good music and lovers of good music. Whether or not this is trick of marketing, I felt like I was living jazz history.
The first 30 seconds of this video is probably the best way I can demonstrate how it felt to be there, and the rest of the video is a montage of photographs of Preservation Hall/music recorded there.

If I had more time, I would really be interested in exploring how much of this 'history' Preservation Hall puts out there in this relatively privileged part of New Orleans (the french quarter) is constructed for tourism and to give visiters a palatable-feel good image of New Orleans, or whether it really is an act of cultural preservation... maybe its somewhere in the middle.

Regardless, I love it. If you're ever in the french quarter, I encourage you to check it out.

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