GREAT MUSEUMS: NEW ORLEANS: A LIVING MUSEUM OF MUSIC, narrated by actor Wendell Pierce (from HBO’s “The Wire”), is an intimate look at the traditions associated with New Orleans’ music and the preservation of those traditions through the work of local musicians and educators who mentor young talent; museum curators who care for musical treasures; historians and archivists who research and document the stories; activists working to protect, heal and inspire the many musicians whose livelihoods were taken away by Katrina. All are committed to the preservation of the rich musical heritage of New Orleans, as well as the future of New Orleans music. “The living museum is a manifestation of participation,” proclaims Ellis Marsalis—revered jazz pianist, music educator, and patriarch of the Marsalis family jazz dynasty—who is featured in the program.
Grammy-winner Irvin Mayfield at Snug Harbor
"If you wanna get an authentic American experience, that living museum, just walk around the streets of New Orleans, talk to people. It’s there." –– Irvin Mayfield, Director, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra; Cultural Ambassador for New Orleans and the state of Louisiana
An Intangible American Treasure
Music for All Ages program sponsored by the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, established by Congress in 1994 to preserve “jazz” as an American cultural treasure. This National Park is not a “place,” it’s a “state of mind.”
Drummers and dancers celebrate in Congo Square, the only place in the antebellum south where enslaved people of African descent could legally drum, dance, sing and practice their culture. Thus the rhythms of Africa survived in New Orleans.
Ellis Marsalis - revered jazz pianist, music educator and patriarch of New Orleans’ First Family of Jazz performs at the annual Spring French Quarter Festival.
In the Clubs
Trombone Shorty - on stage at New Orleans’ legendary Tipitina’s - grew up in the Treme´neighborhood.
On the Streets
One of the most celebrated high school marching bands in New Orleans is the St. Augustine Marching 100.
It's a Family Thing
Members of the Baby Boyz Brass Band – a group of high school students - on a stoop in Treme´neighborhood discussing the Band’s dream: They want to stay together “forever.”
The Holy Grail
Director of Collections Greg Lambousy in the storage room of the Louisiana State Museum displays the “holy grail” of musical instruments: Louis Armstrong’s first cornet, which he learned to play at the Municipal Boys Home in New Orleans.
Jazz trumpeter Lionel Ferbos, born in 1911, on stage at the Palm Court on Decatur Street.
Mardi Gras Indians
Big Chief Monk Boudreaux prepares to parade. The Mardi Gras Indians have been part of New Orleans’ carnival tradition for 150 years.
The Strength of Our Culture
Dr. Charles Chamberlain, historian with the Louisiana State Museum with Fats Domino’s ruined Steinway piano, removed from Domino’s flooded home after Katrina.