New Orleans Jazz Fest boys on the balcony.New Orleans isn’t just a Mardi Gras party town. Think jazz music everywhere you look! On street corners, in parks, on balconies and, of course, in clubs. Then there is the jazz highlight of the year, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest in late April, a.k.a. just New Orleans Jazz Fest, founded in 1970 and an annual event that sells out the town.

As an example of the star power, in 2017, you have Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Dave Matthews, Harry Connick Jr., Trombone Shorty, and local fave Kermit Ruffins (who also plays most of the year at Bullet’s Sports Bar and boy is that a must-go, must-see, must-enjoy!) Note that the city is actually a national park too – for jazz! Take a look at our story, “A jazz national historical park” to find out more about the park, what to visit and, of course, the “jazz rangers.”)

The subject: We love wandering the streets in New Orleans, with a particular liking for the Faubourg Marigny area where clubs and jazz abound. Night or day, there are jazz notes busting out doors, swirling around street corners, or even swinging the streets from up on balconies. Like in this photo.

The inspiration: After enjoying a late and lazy breakfast one morning just before the New Orleans Jazz Fest in Faubourg Marigny, we started sauntering down the street, just enjoying the vibe, the people and the historic buildings. We looked up and found three guys jamming on the balcony. Three trumpets, no planned music, just jamming. And, dare we say, jamming good! We stopped and listened for awhile. The lesson: Don’t necessarily race to a concert, but be open to music that will pop from many venues.

Artist’s tools: My Nikon D90 has served me well for many an adventure, as has the 18-105mm lens f/3.5-5.6, both of which I got when I returned to photography after about 25 years! What I like about this focal length on a lens is its ability to capture almost everything for me without fiddling with changing lens or being draped with several cameras with different lenses. For this shot, I was set at 1/125th of a second at f/5.6 with a moderate focal length of just 48mm. I also try to avoid over-processing so I cropped this back a bit, but wanted to keep the ambiance of broken window slats and casual balcony jamming. This has only the simplest of touches to offset the bright, less-flattering mid-day light. This was taken in before the New Orleans Jazz Fest in March 2014.

Heads up! This information on New Orleans Jazz Fest was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). Please be sure to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, request for perfect weather during your entire visit, and any other important details before your adventure.