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New Orleans. The Big Easy. Birthplace of Jazz. It almost needs no introduction.
After dropping our RV off in Livingston, TX, we drove down to New Orleans, LA to rendezvous with my parents who were flying in from England to explore the city.
We were there in mid-October 2019, as the city was beginning to ramp up its preparations for Halloween. The city has so much to offer anyway - music, food and entertainment - but they go all out for Halloween!
It was our first time in the city and we were keen to learn more, starting with its musical history. So where better to start than at New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, our 37th stop on our journey to visit all 419 National Park Units in the US.
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is located right in the center of the New Orleans French Quarter.
See what we did while exploring New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park in our YouTube video about our visit!
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is the only unit in the National Park system to celebrate not a place, person or event, but a single musical art form: jazz.
In fact, the staff here aren't your typical Park Rangers - they're also incredibly talented musicians, who play in the aptly-named National Park Service Arrowhead Jazz Band!
The Visitor Center can be found at 916 North Peters Street, and an associated concert venue is nearby.
The National Historical Park also includes Perseverance Hall No. 4. This was originally a Masonic lodge built around 1820, making it the oldest Masonic temple in Louisiana.
National Park Designation
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park was official designated on October 31, 1994 by the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park Act of 1994.
We walked from our hotel near Canal St, down to the Mississippi River. We followed the river, with no particular destination in mind, simply wandering to explore the city.
Somewhat unexpectedly, we found ourselves by the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park Visitor Center. Inside, we spoke with the Ranger and learned about the schedule of events.
It looked like Saturday was the day to return, so that's what we did!
On Saturday, we returned and as always our first action was to stamp our National Park Passport.
Our plan was simple - Diana and my mom were going to do the jazz yoga, while my dad and I would go and watch the live music outside as part of the Boo Carré Festival.
The whole area was buzzing - so much energy! Live music and performers were all around, creating a really cool atmosphere!
Diana and my mom enjoyed the jazz yoga - a pretty unique experience for sure!
Afterwards, we spent time walking around the area, enjoying the Boo Carré festival.
Check out our YouTube video to learn more about our time exploring the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park.
Unlike many other National Park Units that commemorate a place, person or event, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is unique in that it celebrates a single art form: jazz.
The park has a way of blending into the city - it's almost impossible to unpick it from the surrounding area and culture.
But I think that's the point. It's not trying to stand out. It's not trying to be something different. It's just a starting point - somewhere for visitors like us to kick start their exploration of this vibrant city and the music that defines it.