In New Orleans, There’s A Piece Of Music History Around Every Corner : NPR

It may look nondescript now, but New Orleans’ Congo Square is where the musical foundations of jazz were laid down.

Kevin McCaffrey/Courtesy of “A Closer Walk”


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Kevin McCaffrey/Courtesy of “A Closer Walk”

It may look nondescript now, but New Orleans’ Congo Square is where the musical foundations of jazz were laid down.

Kevin McCaffrey/Courtesy of “A Closer Walk”

It’s well known that New Orleans has a rich and extraordinary music history, but it’s more difficult to know where to start. To help with that is the new website “A Closer Walk,” an interactive map that provides information about dozens of spots that are part of New Orleans’ music history, including bars, clubs, recording studios and the homes of famous musicians.

“A Closer Walk” is a partnership between a number of different organizations and individuals, one of whom is writer and philanthropist Randy Fertel. He joined NPR’s Scott Simon to introduce three historical locations marked on the virtual map.

Congo Square

“There are several places that are considered the birthplace for jazz,” Fertel says. “But the real roots are at Congo Square, where the enslaved peoples under the French code were allowed to gather on Sundays. They had Sundays off, and they were allowed to have a market there and sell their wares. They were allowed to use their native instruments. So there were these drum-and-dance things that happened under the oaks in Congo…

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