Tour New Orleans Music History with the Jazz Houses App

14 07 2015

This one looks much better on its GoNola.com, so check out the full text and photos over there. I’ll just post the intro below. Very cool that the Preservation Resource Center in New Orleans is working to raise awareness about some of these important historic sites. I’d also encourage you to read my friend and colleague Dave Kunian’s New Orleans Jazz Landmarks Languish in Disrepair. Or go old-school and contact a human — John McCusker — for the most informed and interesting jazz tour you’ll find in New Orleans. Anyway, intro and link to more below:

bolden-1 On a quiet corner in New Orleans’ Central City neighborhood, a modest, mostly  boarded-up double shotgun painted a muted shade of yellow holds a key to the  birth of what we now call jazz. From 1887 until 1905, the building at 2309 First  St. was the home of Charles “Buddy” Bolden, whose blues-oriented and  improvisation-heavy cornet playing is now widely recognized as the first  example of the genre.

For years, sites like the small, maroon stoop where Bolden helped engineer one  of America’s greatest cultural touchstones went largely unnoticed, falling victim to blight or demolition. But thanks to the newly updated and relaunched Jazz Houses: Where They Lived app from the Preservation Resource Center, the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and local tech firm Culture Connect, music lovers can now access interactive maps – along with music clips, photos, and short biographies – detailing the locations where titans of New Orleans music history once lived.

Researched by historian Dr. Jack Stewart, the free mobile app spans neighborhoods from Uptown to Algiers and beyond. Many of the homes featured in the app boast memorial plaques courtesy of the PRC and the New Orleans Jazz Commission, which are working together to commemorate these important landmarks. More than 60 plaques have already been installed, with hundreds more awaiting plaques of their own, according PRC education and outreach director Suzanne Blaum. (Two of the next plaques slated to be unveiled will mark “Uncle” Lionel Batiste’s former residences at 2733 Annette St. in the Seventh Ward and 5543 Press Drive in Pontchartrain Park).

“The reason we should preserve the physical representations of jazz residences in New Orleans,” says Stewart, “is because when you go into the neighborhoods and see what their residences looked like, it provides a context so that you feel much more connected to the past and the people who were there.”

The Jazz Houses sites are searchable by artist or neighborhood, with buildings that remain in need of structural support enumerated in a separate “Jazz Houses in Jeopardy” section.

“It’s important to save the places where our jazz musicians lived and made music because it’s our culture,” says PRC Executive Director Patty Gay. “It’s what makes New Orleans unique.” Read more

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