Saturday, May 5, 2012

Touring New Orleans' Preservation Hall

For a big part of my life, I've traveled in this "Disney Cocoon" of happiness, cleanliness, and security.  I know that it exists, and I am perfectly happy to maintain the fantasy.  When we went to new Orleans earlier in the year I knew that I would be stepping out of my comfort zone.  I knew that we were traveling to a gritty, urban city, but being that we were largely going to be in the French Quarter I knew that it would be one so completely steeped in history that I wouldn't care for a minute.

Hall Building

One of the places that I longed to see, Preservation Hall, I had actually heard about first in the song "My Sanctuary" by Marc Cohn. It was on his "Join the Parade" album that was largely inspired by Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath of the tragedy. I was completely entranced by that point in time of American History. I had always wanted to go New Orleans, feeling an otherworldly draw to this place I had never been, and when it was destroyed it broke my heart. I told my husband that it was our duty as human beings to put our tourist dollars there. It took us an awful long time, but when we finally got there this spring I could not have been happier. It's not a place that I'll wait that long to return to again. I was completely entranced by the French Quarter and it's wistful spirit.

There in the picture, the old, dirty greenish building shuttered in weathered wood. The Hall was was founded in 1961 and dedicated to the preservation of New Orleans Jazz. The building was "originally built as a private residence in 1750, the hall has evolved into a tavern, inn, photo studio and an art gallery. The inside of the hall contains portraits of the musicians who first filled it with the beautiful sounds of New Orleans Jazz."(Source) It's not something Disney made to look old and worn, it's the real thing. It's where you can find the soul of dixieland. The music pervades every crevice, the years and the struggles are palpable here, the music and the musicians. As a jazz lover and the mother of a trombone player, it swept me away.

Sign Weathered Doors
Concerts Nightly

And the music keeps right on playing
‘Cause of all the places water wouldn’t fall
It wasn’t the churches or the chapels
It was down at the Preservation Hall
“This is my sanctuary”, you could almost hear the ghost
Of some old trumpet player say
“Lay down the burdens you carry
In my Sanctuary”
lyrics by Marc Cohn

Requests Drum
Inside Preservation Hall
Base Drum Painting Bass Case
Please Mind the Cat Geordon Cat

Yes, we saw the sign, but the cat was oddly attracted to my husband and followed right next to him for the whole time that we were there.  She was super sweet to Geordon, I think she must have known that we appreciated every moment in her sanctuary.  

We missed the show the evening that we had in New Orleans, but that's okay because I will be back. Our next trip will be longer and catching a show here is number one on my to do list. If I'm lucky, I'll get to return with my son. He would love this place. It has magic. Preservation Hall opens at 8:00pm every day. Music begins at 8:15pm. Admission is $15 per person and all ages are welcome.

Maybe we'll even reserve seats in the VIP section. Who's in to join us?

Reserved Seating

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