What is the city of jazz

New Orleans - Blues is in the air

Founded by the French: La Nouvelle-Orléans

Where New Orleans is today, the Mississippi flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The indigenous people who once lived here appreciated the geographic location. Long before the first settlers came from Europe: Archaeological traces go back to the fourth century BC.

In 1690, fur hunters and traders from France moved to the area and built huts along the bay. The loose settlement turned into a fortified city. The French christened the city "La Nouvelle-Orléans" and made it the capital of the French colonial area Louisiana.

Surrendered to the United States by Napoleon

An area that included the present-day US state of Louisiana and extended to the Canadian border. After the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763, which was waged in both old Europe and the new colonies, the French lost the area to the British. Louisiana handed them over to the Spaniards in exchange for Florida.

In La Nouvelle-Orléans, however, people continued to speak French. At the beginning of the 19th century the number of citizens rose sharply: immigrants who spoke French came from Cuba, South America or Haiti.

Thousands of slaves were brought here from Africa. In 1803, Napoleon Bonaparte sold the Louisiana colony to the United States for $ 15 million. A bargain for an area that now makes up a quarter of the United States' territory.

Kitchen, Carnival and Katrina

New Orleans has retained French to this day. The houses in an entire district are reminiscent of the time when the French were in charge here.

But the many immigrants have also had a lasting impact on life in New Orleans. On the one hand, the cuisine is French, on the other hand it contains exotic ingredients, for example from Central and South America.

The immigrants also shaped Mardi Gras. "Fat Tuesday" is the highlight of the New Orleans Carnival. A festival that puts the city in a state of emergency.

The custom comes from Catholic settlers from France. With Mardi Gras, they celebrated the end of the fat days - and with it the beginning of Lent. Until Ash Wednesday there will be an extensive celebration for two weeks. It's a boisterous street carnival with parades and lots of colorful and flashy people dressed up.

Every year the spectacle draws tourists to New Orleans. After the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Mardi Gras celebrations were especially important to the residents of New Orleans: They wanted to show their perseverance.

Cajun, Zydeco and Jazz

Cajun and Zydeco are two styles of music that originated in New Orleans. In the middle of the 18th century, many settlers from the Québec region - from the French colony of Acadia - fled south. Many of them ended up in what is now Louisiana and New Orleans. The refugees brought their folklore melodies, songs and instruments with them.

The musicians play Cajun music with the violin and the accordion. The texts are mostly in French. Later, Cajun music mixed with country, rock and blues - a new music emerged, the Zydeco, which is very popular not only in the USA. Two of the most successful representatives of Zydeco are Zachary Richard and Clifton Chenier.

But New Orleans is also an important city for jazz. At the beginning of the 20th century, Dixieland jazz was created here, whose origins lie in French dance music and marching music with their typical brass instruments. Dixieland is an old name for the southern United States, where Dixieland jazz was born.

The city of the blues

New Orleans is full of clubs and bars that play live music. A blues scene has developed in the city that has produced its own style. This is based on the southern blues, but it is not uncommon to hear Caribbean rhythms in the New Orleans blues sound.

This style element goes back to the many immigrants who came from the Caribbean in the 19th century and found a new home in New Orleans. The singing of the New Orleans blues is heavily based on the gospel. The saxophone is often used as a solo instrument.

A major New Orleans pianist was Henry Roeland Byrd (1918-1980), better known as Professor Longhair. The autodidact began his career at the age of 30. Fats Domino and James Booker were also among the leading blues pianists from New Orleans.

The blues metropolis in the south of the USA also has a well-known blues guitarist to offer: Eddie Jones, who died at the age of 32. As Guitar Slim he wrote the blues hit "The Things That I Used To Do" in 1953, which not only became a million-dollar success, but also a blues classic.

Many great musicians have recorded the piece, including Muddy Waters, Albert Collins and R'n'B guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan.