New Orleans Music & Culture

Hey Cuties,

While hanging out in the bayou {New Orleans} one of the things that attracted me to the city the most was the culture. According to Merriam-Webster culture is defined as: cul·ture: the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time – : a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc. New Orleans is a place that has its own particular way and I dig it. There was an air of freedom of expression that I hadn’t experience anywhere else to date. The biggest draw for me was the local music and traditions. I was a lover of the show Treme which was based in New Orleans post Katrina. You already know that I love food but Babe has been talking about the Second Line since I met him. I had no idea what it was until I saw it on the show.

Part 1: Tramping Around New Orleans Part 2: Essence Festival Recap: Actors Edition
Part 3: New Orleans #FatSnacks Part 4: Essence Festival Recap: Musician Edition Part 5: New Orleans Music & Culture

According to Wikipedia the Second Line is a tradition in brass band parades in New Orleans, Louisiana. The “main line” or “first line” is the main section of the parade, or the members of the actual club with the parading permit as well as the brass band. Those who follow the band just to enjoy the music are called the “second line.” The second line’s style of traditional dance, in which participants walk and sometimes twirl a parasol or handkerchief in the air, is called “second lining.” It has been called “the quintessential New Orleans art form

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Brass Band

I didn’t get to experience a Second Line while in New Orleans but the next time I’m in New Orleans for sure. A second line is celebration of freedom; they can be done for funerals, weddings, Mardi Gras, opening of a business etc. I did get to experience a Brass Band and these young kids playing were nothing but natural talent. It was hot as he!! and the humidity was 400% but they were out there playing. The boxes are for tips, we made sure we did our part and so did a lot of others. It makes me so glad to think that these days we have access to apps like garageband so people like these of all ages and backgrounds can make music. Especially as much more people would know how to run garageband on windows rather than on their phones. Much more old-school! There is so much raw talent out there, I might have a new interest in brass band music now! Thank you New Orleans!

Take a listen…

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Artist: Victor Valenzuela

Babe and I met Victor on the street and he had a ton of pictures for sale. They were all done by hand and they were incredible. (He was working on the one in his hand.) He had so many he loved it was hard for us to decide which one to get. Victor cut me a deal and I ended up purchasing two. (Insert fail because I should have snapped a pic of them.) I promised to shout him out because I appreciated and respected his talent. His attention to detail is insane; he shared his experience and talked about his amazing mentors. Although Victor is now in New Orleans he went to Arthead High School in Miami. If you visit N.O and see Victor make sure you buy some of his art. I found a video of him drawing on YouTube.

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Photo Credit: Babe

Babe was killing the photography game while we were in New Orleans. This is another one of his shots while we were waiting for the Trolley. He does good work.

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Trolley Ride

We wanted to see and experience as much as we could in five days. The Trolley was fun, it is cheap and we had walked a million steps a day. I don’t own a fit bit but I’m certain I would have broken it with the insane amount of walking we did. The Trolley makes several stops and will take you from the Convention Center all the way down to the French Quarter. It was worth the $1.25, they only take cash and you need exact change.

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Photo Credit: Babe

You already know you must take a picture of it didn’t happen. The sun was starting to set and it gave excellent lighting in this picture.

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Bourbon Street

What is New Orleans without Bourbon Street?

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Street Entertainment

You see street entertainment in most major cities. We have them here in DC and I’ve seen them in Miami and New York. Well New Orleans is no different; I already told you it was a 1,000 degrees and 500% humidity and this man was committed to his craft. I don’t know how that gold paint didn’t just melt off of his face. We stood and just watched and he didn’t move. You can file this under things MimiCuteLips will never do; but I respect their hustle. I wonder if he was drinking 211.

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Mardi Gras Mask

I wanted to buy up the entire store. The masks were beautiful and they had a variety of styles, designs and colors. You know I had to go for that MimiCuteLips hot pink, I know you see the lips on my shirt. I wanted to be real Oprah like… “You get a mask, you get a mask, you get a mask.” but I know TSA has no respect for the New Orleans Culture and they would beat and bang up my luggage and I would be on fire if the mask were broken. So I didn’t purchase any, I played dress up in the store and left sulking. I will be carry on ready when I return, plus you know they charge you if your bag is over 50 pounds and I was on the edge y’all.

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Night Time Art Festival

I expect to see art all over New Orleans, but I didn’t expect to see so many late night art festivals. It was dark when we walked up on this Frenchmen Art situation. They were popping and so were we, so we checked them out.

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Bathtub Sofa

How can you not love this set up.

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Art Festival

This festival was hilarious, I love vulgarities, in particular I like vulgar old women. It is like a rite of passage once you hit like 65. I can’t wait; I’m going full on Betty White when I turn 65. This wall was painted with this funny illustration but the words on the door and inside the door that says “Do Not Enter” were freaking hilarious. They say things like “We suck at life but we do it right.”, “Need $ 4 Beer & Hookers”, “Alcohol Research money needed.”, “Lesbian needs money or di!do.”. They went on and filled up the inside wall. They were so bold and in your face we laughed for several minutes while reading them. I really loved that beaten up-looking “Do Not Enter” sign, definitely inspired me to look up antique signs when we got back home and see if there were any that would fit in with our decor.

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Side walk chalk

Who can resist sidewalk chalk? Clearly not me as I had to leave my mark in Nawlins.

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New Orleans African-American Museum of Art, Culture and History

In my Tramping Around New Orleans post I talked about our love for Treme. We stumbled across this New Orleans African-American Museum of Art, Culture and History compound. The sign said they were renovating it, I hope they finish before we come back down for a visit.

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*Insert the theme song for the HBO Show Treme*

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Door Decor

We walked past this house while in Treme and we had to stop and snap a picture. The door was so cool and funky looking. It was made out of random colored pieces and shapes of wood. The butterfly chair was everything, I wanted to sit and take a picture in it but trespassing is a crime and orange isn’t my color so I didn’t. The house number was 1018, that happens to be the month and date I was born October 18.

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Voodoo isn’t my thing but it is a part of the New Orleans culture so I snapped this picture in one of the shops.

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Hot Sauce

Do you remember my comment on my love for vulgarities a few pictures up? Well this Hot sauce feeds that, modest much? NOPE! Now this is some “I got hot sauce in my bag swag.” – Beyonce

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Vulgar, Skeletal Hot Sauce

Yeah well…

I love to soak up other cultures and we totally did that while in New Orleans. I can’t wait to go back and soak up a bit more.

New Orleans Music & Culture_edited

What do you love about the New Orleans culture and music? Chat with me in the comment below or FB, IG or Twitter.


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  1. This looks like such a DOPE trip. You’ve really made me want to check out N’awlins! I love that pink mask and wish you could’ve brought some home with you (or sent me some of that hot sauce for my hubby).

    1. It was amazing, it was a good item to check off of my bucket list. I’m still salty about the mask, they were so cute. Hubby would love all the hot sauce options they had.

  2. Write up about New Orleans was very detailed which I appreciate. I love New Orleans and was there last year before I went on a cruise. I didn’t get a chance to ride the trolley so I need to go back and do that. I’ve never heard of the show called Treme, I’ll have to look into it!

    1. Thanks Tiffany, I try to capture the true essence of my travels. The trolley was good fun, they have several but we only rode that one.

      You might be able to find Treme episodes on OnDemand.

  3. I have always wanted to go to NOLA! It is high up on my travel bucket list.

  4. I still haven’t been to New Orleans. Everyone who visits there seems to have a blast. I love that it’s such a festive and musical atmosphere!

  5. It’s been years since I’ve been to New Orleans. I want to take my hubby there on a trip this year. It’s such a vibrant city!

  6. Looks so fun! We may be planning a trip there in December, but I’m not looking forward to a long flight with a squirmy toddler.

  7. Looks like you had a fantastic time. I Love New Orleans and I can’t wait to go back. There’s so much to do and eat. lol

  8. I’d love to visit New orleans. I’ve never been there but it sounds like the perfect place to visit for a fun weekend with the family. It sounds like there is plenty of things to see and do!

    1. Girl you would love it, a street party is always on the agenda when you are there. Girl you could totally enjoy all of the crazy hot sauce options they have.

  9. I have been trying to make it to NOLA for a while now. I either want to go for Mardi Gras or the Essence Music Festival. My parents use to always go to Essence Music Festival and bring me back shirts. Maybe one day. It looks like you had an amazing time!

  10. ahhh, i picked the perfect day to visit your blog! I LOOOOVE New orleans and I am ALWAYS ALWAYS looking for an excuse to get there. I haven’t been this year and it’s hurting my little heart LOL But the year isn’t over yet. Your husband was getting those shots!!! Hire him!

  11. Fun! I still haven’t seen this city and your pictures make me want to go even more. I would love to see the bands parading and the folks second lining. It would be fun to join in with them!

  12. New Orleans has so much to experience. Their culture is so one of a kind because of all the different cultural influences.

  13. Wow! It looks like you had an awesome experience. I have never been to Nola, but I am determined to get there one day, even if to just take a picture at bourbon street.

  14. New Orleans is a place I have always wanted to visit because of the culture and history. Hopefully we can get there some day. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. It looks like so much fun.

  15. I love your photos! It makes me feel like I was there. I especially love the photo of you on the trolly and the band! You should frame your photo! 🙂 My hubby would love to try the hot sauce. He always gets the hottest wings wherever we go. lol
    Thanks for sharing!

  16. Aaaahhhh, so jealous! New Orleans has been at the top of my must-visit travel list forEVER! And yeah, the minute you said “second line”, the Treme theme song started playing in my head. 😉 Thanks for sharing these awesome pics!

    1. Heather me too girl, and this trip fell in my lap. I didn’t have it on my radar for this year. I’m so glad I went though. Hahahaha I needed someone to know the theme song.

  17. My dad is from Louisiana so any time we can get there, we do. I love the culture there. This was a great recap.

  18. As soon as I pressed play on the video, my music loving 5 year old popped up to see what was going on. My parents rave about their visits there before Sandy and I hope my family and I get to visit soon. From the music, to food and just the all around vibe, I’m sure it was a culturally rich experience.

    1. Hahahaha Danielle, my kids do the same thing to me. I wish I had gone pre-Katrina so I could see the difference. It is culturally rich for sure.

  19. Looks like you had a fantastic time in NO!! I went once when I was way younger but don’t remember much about it! I would love to go again sometime!!

  20. My husband wants to go so badly. Mainly for football – I am into architecture and music and culture and such. Looks like we’ll both be happy with a trip! Great photos!

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