New Orleans Jazz Fest: jazz everywhere you look in Nola

by Mar 29, 2017Louisiana

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.

New Orleans is well known for jazz music everywhere you look! Often called Dixieland jazz, the unique sound that started in New Orleans can be heard on street corners, in parks, on balconies and, of course, in clubs. Little wonder then that the city plays host to one of the best jazz festivals in the world, the 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 his Kermit’s Mother in Law Lounge along with other gigs) and, gosh, 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 outdoors, 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 a while. The lesson: Don’t necessarily race to a concert, but be open to music that will pop from many venues.

Artist’s tools: Prior to becoming a Sony Pro photographer, my Nikon D90 served me well for many an adventure, as did 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 liked about this telephoto 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 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.

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About The Author

Therese Iknoian

Passionate traveler, wordsmith, photographer, and observer of people and place, Therese lives a life full of all the above. Trained as a newspaper journalist and a member of a Pulitzer Prize-winning news team, she now applies those skills to feed her globe-trotting curiosity – and hopes her storytelling in photos and words encourages others to do the same. Winner of multiple awards for photos and stories, Therese loves to get outdoors, be personally immersed in adventurous experiences, and have a front-row spot with her camera and notebook to document stories that offer authentic insights about a place or its people. And she’s never met a cheesecake she doesn’t have to taste, a ghost town that doesn't demand exploration, or a trail that doesn't beckon.