As the birthplace of jazz music, New Orleans, Louisiana, has no shortage of music venues. Amid the eclectic street performers on Frenchmen Street and numerous jazz halls dotting the city, one institution stands out for its legacy of preserving, protecting and perpetuating traditional New Orleans Jazz, the aptly named “Preservation Hall.”
The origin of “Preservation Hall” is a recurring jam session held at an art gallery in the French Quarter in the 1950s. As rock n’ roll and bebop gained in popularity, jazz aficionados made conscious efforts to bring together the jazz greats and continue to uphold the tradition of New Orleans Jazz. “Preservation Hall” was officially established in 1961 and continues to host musical legends today.
The building may seem unremarkable at first glance. The exterior is worn and weathered. The all-wooden interior is small and dingy. The audience sits on cushions on the floor or bench. There is no bar. There are no toilets. These characteristics make for an intimate setting, however, one that is perfect for enjoying the distinctive beats and melodies of New Orleans Jazz.
In order to bring the traditional art form to broader audiences, the “Preservation Hall” Band has collaborated with gospel, hip-hop, bluegrass and rock bands over the years. Beyond musical performances, the “Preservation Hall” Foundation provides musical education, archives important historical documents and actively supports its community through social programming.
The Hall is located at 726 St. Peter St. in the French Quarter and has shows nightly at 5 pm, 6 pm, 8 pm, 9 pm, and 10 pm. Tickets range from $15 to $20 at the door to $35 to $50 for “Big Shot” Seating, which guarantees the best spot in the house and no waiting in line. All ages are welcome.
For anyone who wants a true taste of the music that made New Orleans famous, a show at “Preservation Hall” is a must.