New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park 

Thursday 23rd July 2020 
by Matt 
 
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park

It stands apart as the only National Park Unit that celebrates a single art form: jazz. Join us as we visit The Big Easy, learn about jazz and even try some jazz yoga!

Introduction

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.

Location

New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park is located right in the center of the New Orleans French Quarter.

Video

See what we did while exploring New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park in our YouTube video about our visit!

YouTube Video Player
First time doing Jazz Yoga at New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park (37 of 419)

Background

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!

Sites

The Visitor Center can be found at 916 North Peters Street, and an associated concert venue is nearby.

916 North Peters Street
The Visitor Center at 916 North Peters Street is right in the heart of the French Quarter.

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.

Itinerary

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.

New Orleans Jazz Event Calendar
Not your normal National Park calendar - Ranger Talks interspersed with jazz yoga and live music!

It looked like Saturday was the day to return, so that's what we did!

New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
Back for the second time - ready to jazz!

On Saturday, we returned and as always our first action was to stamp our National Park Passport.

New Orleans Jazz NHP Stamp
The park even has a concert venue to help support jazz music in the community.

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.

Jazz Yoga
We weren't quite sure what Jazz Yoga entails, but Diana and my mom signed anyway!

The whole area was buzzing - so much energy! Live music and performers were all around, creating a really cool atmosphere!

Park Ranger Jazz Musician
Not often you see a uniformed Park Ranger playing jazz music live on stage!

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.

Boo Carré Festival 2019
We time our visit well as the Boo Carré festival was in full swing!

Check out our YouTube video to learn more about our time exploring the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park.

Conclusion

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.

Learn More

If you enjoyed this blog post and still want to learn more, visit our dedicated New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park page with a map and links to lots more useful resources!

Finally, make sure to check out these videos on YouTube, and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel to be notified when we publish new videos!

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National Park Road Trip || SEASON 1 RECAP || Southern New Mexico & Arizona
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Visiting Tumacácori National Historical Park and attempting to walk to Tubac
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