Apple Pie Picks
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz music. Jazz is a mixture of many musical styles, including blues, gospel and ragtime. In 1994, Congress approved a new National Park in New Orleans all about American Jazz music. The park is located in the center of The French Quarter area of New Orleans. The main visitor center offers lots of ways to learn about the history and culture of New Orleans jazz through Ranger-led demonstrations, talks, videos and even live music performances. Stop by Perseverance Hall in Louis Armstrong Park and listen to the weekly kid's music workshop. The Performance Hall at the Old U.S. Mint is where you can hear the “Music at the Mint” concerts of world class jazz. Don’t forget to go to The National Park website and become a Jazz Junior Ranger!
The Jazz Walk of Fame
Also located within the National Park is the Jazz Walk of Fame. The Jazz Walk of Fame is a musical adventure. Hop on a ferry at Canal Street, and take a short ride down the Mississippi River to the Jazz Walk of Fame at Historic Algiers Point. The Walk of Fame is made up of 16 lampposts, each assigned to an important jazz musician. Each lamppost gives the personal history of each musician. Take this self-guided walking tour through the 16 lampposts to learn about great jazz musicians such as: Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, the Boswell Sisters, Papa Jack Laine, Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Prima. The walk takes about one hour to complete if you are following the free audio tour, which you can download at the National Park website.
Life on the Mississippi River
Take a trip back to the 1800s on a ride down the Mississippi River aboard the Steamboat Natchez. This authentic steam powered stern wheeler is one of only five true remaining steamboats in the United States. Visit the beautiful engine room and enjoy the music from the Natchez’s 32-note steam calliope, a keyboard instrument like an organ, but with the notes produced by steam. The Natchez is also home to an authentic copper and steel steam whistle and a copper bell made from melting 250 silver dollars. On board, the captain and crew make you feel like you have gone back in time. The captain yells his orders to the crew through an old fashioned megaphone while the wheel turns in the waters of the Mississippi. The Natchez docks at the Toulouse Street Wharf where you can board her for narrated harbor cruises down the Mississippi River. Enjoy a ride through history!
Every year in New Orleans, the biggest carnival in The United States, Mardi Gras, is celebrated. People come from all over the world to gather and watch parades with floats, dance, listen to music and dress up for masked balls. It is a big party with a lot of history. Learn about and enjoy the carnival all year long at The Presbytere & Mardi Gras Museum. Once home to the local priests, The Presbytere is now part of the Louisiana State Museum with a Mardi Gras museum on the second floor. On your visit you can do everything Mardi Gras style! Try on Mardi Gras headdresses and masks, dance on top of a parade float and pretend to throw purple, yellow and green Mardi Gras beads to a crowd. The different exhibits highlight every part of Mardi Gras: the history, parades, souvenirs, and costumes. The most dazzling part of the museum is the Crown Jewels Vault, home to a huge collection of crowns, scepters, necklaces and other jewelry from past Mardi Gras festivals. The Making of Mardi Gras exhibit gives you a peek into the world of everyone who helps make Mardi Gras a great carnival from the bead makers to the float designers.