POSTED Fri. Jul 18, 2014

A Visual History of New Orleans Jazz

Creative Culture

A Visual History of New Orleans Jazz
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

Satchmo Summerfest, that celebration of all things historical and musical in New Orleans, is almost upon us (July 31-Aug 3, in case you were wondering). And in preparation, the Louisiana State Museum and the Old U.S. Mint have released some stellar images of New Orleans musical days gone by. Keeping Time: Extraordinary Images from Louisiana’s Musical Past, opens on July 30 at 6pm at the Mint (400 Esplanade). Here’s a preview. All images courtesy of the Louisiana State Museum.

1 Blanche Thomas

R&B singer Blanche Thomas’s voice was like smoky honey, distilled. Her version of Am I Blue, available on YouTube, proves the point; I challenge you to listen to it without feeling a shiver run up your spine. Thomas as a fixture in Vieux Carre nightclubs, and has a brief cameo, performing in Preservation Hall, in King Creole (1958).

2 Antione 'Fats' Domino

Here’s ol’ Fats, flashing his ivories and stroking them too. The New Orleans icon turned 86 this year; long may he reign over our music and hearts.

3 Jack Laine's Greater Majestic Minstrels

This shot, from 1910, was taken at a time when ‘jazz’ was not even a word – during this period, the music was known as ragtime. According to A Trumpet Around the Corner: The Story of New Orleans Jazz, Jack Laine was one of the first, and certainly one of the most popular, white jazz musicians in the city. A New Orleans native, Laine (seated at front) was known for hiring light skinned creoles and immigrants into his band; the clarinet player standing behind Laine is Alcide ‘Yellow’ Nunez, whose parents were from the Canary Islands.

4 Edward 'Kid' Ory

The great Kid Ory, one of the city’s most legendary trombonists and band leaders, famously discovered by Buddy Bolden while playing on Jackson Ave. Ory is notable for bringing his talent, and the music of New Orleans, to a national, and later global audience, thanks to recording time spent in Chicago and Los Angeles; Ory’s Creole Trombone and Society Blues were the first jazz recordings made by an African-American jazz band from New Orleans on the West Coast.

5 Papa Celestin and Alphonse Picou

Band leader and trumpet player Celestin, a native of Napoleonville, appears here with clarinetist and New Orleans native Alphonse Picou at the Paddock Lounge, 209 Bourbon St (now the restaurant Remoulade). Both Celestin and Picou were descendants of mixed race Louisiana Creole families.

6 Tom Brown and the Five Rubes

Also known as ‘Red Brown’, Uptown New Orleans native Tom Brown (with the bass) looks like he’s having a grand time in this 1915 shot. An anecdote: Brown’s band was protested in Chicago by jealous local musicians, who asked Chicagoans not to patronize filthy ‘jass’ music shows. At the time, the word ‘jass’ likely had sexual connotations, but the protest only served to increase Brown’s popularity; as you might expect, when people were told that an act was too sexy, they immediately flocked to said show. Brown would later brag about being the first white band leader to take jazz north, which suggests he knew the Original Creole Orchestra had preceded him.

7 Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis at a Second Line thrown in his honor, in the Treme, 2006. Yeah you right.

POSTED Jul 18, 2019

Creative Culture

August in New Orleans

August in New Orleans

New Orleans may be known as a party town, but locals work as hard here as they do in any city. Take a break from the routine with…....

Written by CREE MCCREE
POSTED Dec 14, 2018


Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Hey, the weather outside is kind of frightful! About as frightful as it gets down here anyways (also, note that next week temperatures will be back in the…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED May 10, 2017

Creative Culture

Carnival Redux at the New Orleans Museum of Art

Carnival Redux at the New Orleans Museum of Art

On May 12 the New Orleans Museum of Art will fling open its doors for Masquerade: Late Night at NOMA, a costume party replete with float builders, mask-makers,…....

POSTED Dec 23, 2016


Some Holiday Music for the Weekend

Some Holiday Music for the Weekend

Happy holidays, y’all. We hope you find plenty to occupy you during this busy Christmas weekend, but if you find yourself having a small, quiet moment, or just…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN

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    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


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    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


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    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

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    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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