7 Types of Musicians You May Find in New Orleans
7 Types of Musicians You May Find
in New Orleans
a photo of a posting board on Frenchman Street
by Amy Trail
New Orleans has the greatest music and musicians in the world and that's not an understatement. When a city boasts the birth of two of the most influential music genres in the world (Jazz and Rock & Roll) you can't escape the influence that music has over the city. Where there are gigs, musicians will flock. Here are some of the more notable caricatures you may run into in the New Orleans music scene.
This white boy from California can tell you all about all about the revolutionary black musicians that have peppered jazz history but is covertly racist and only finds Asian girls attractive. He can play "Giant Steps" in all 12 keys but has a hard time playing any sort of groove with less that four chords. His hair is amazingly unkempt and dashingly cool but he never washes his balls. Whatever you do, don't let him move in!
Jam Band Burnout:
This hairy, drug addled hippy came to Jazzfest '98 and never left. He started a jam band that plays Tips every six months. Never expect to make plans with this dude, you will be disappointed. However, you never need to make plans to hang anyway, because he's always at every gig. Usually smells like light BO and Dr. Bronner's soap. You're surprised to learn, after 15 years of knowing this guy, that he has a Master's in philosophy.
This musician comes from a Legendary New Orleans Musical Family™ and knows all the great-uncles of Jon Batiste. You can always pee at his house in the Treme during Mardi Gras, just don't stick around unless you have four hours to smoke weed. He plays 14 gigs a week for $40 per gig. They may or may not "know a guy" who can get you Ketamine or an illegal city inspection approved.
Bourbon Street Burnout:
This musician once had dreams of 'making it big' and most likely has the chops to do that, but they developed a raging coke addiction in their twenties. Now they're just biding their time, playing in Bourbon Street bars trying to pay their house off in Marrero. They may or may not have child support payments or lost custody of one or more of their children. Don't give them drugs unless you want to get your band fired from the club.
This gorgeous lady has the waist of a wasp, the vintage hairstylings of Betty Grable and the voice of.....well, the voice of Billie Holiday? Billie Holiday if she had been born a white girl in Colorado in the 90s and her dad worked in insurance. All the musicians in her band want to date her but she only goes out with guys who drive vintage cars and have STDs. Don't hold her hair back when she's drunk or she will force you to listen to all of her Borderline Personality Disorder rants, ad nauseam.
Virtue Signaling Singer/Songwriter:
This young singer/songwriter moved to the 'New Marigny' post-Katrina to help "rebuild New Orleans". She complains about the new people moving in and destroying the fabric of the neighborhood. She does this while at the same time ignoring the fact that her half shotgun used to be occupied by a black family that had to leave when the rent got raised because all of the new people moving in. Her music is less exciting than Cox Communications hold music. She'll live here for four years then move because, "I just felt like it was the Universe calling me somewhere else." Don't become a close friend, she'll sleep with all the guys you show a remote interest in.
I stole this pic from Anthropologie
Why Aren't You Famous?
This musician was born in New Orleans or moved here like 20-40 years ago. Every time you hear them play you think to yourself, "Why the hell isn't this person famous?". They play ten instruments and spend all their money repairing them. Every time you text them they ask "Who is this, lost my phone". May or may not know if they are married and/or when their actual birthdate is. 98% of the time they are incredibly chill except that one time they almost murdered the dude in the front row.