They Will Make Music Wherever They Go

Texture. New Orleans is texture upon texture upon texture. The French Quarter is rough, colorful texture full of character and life. It combines old texture with new texture where the rough rubs against the smooth. There is neon-blasting Bourbon Street with its party animals and just a street down is classy Royal Street with a shop for everyone. And everywhere you go, there is music. From the lone trumpet player blasting out “Sesame Street” for the kids to groups combining their instruments in order to jazz it up for the adults.

I don’t know much about jazz so I can’t name any of the pieces played, but to weave through music floating in the air charmed me as I strolled through the Quarter. I watched the musicians but even more, I watched the people who stopped to take pleasure in each performance. I saw smiles. I saw wonder. I saw pleasure. The street musicians know their instruments and delight in delighting their audience and in turn the audience gives back to the musician, not just in tips (tips are appreciated) but in admiration and joy, also.

Royal Street. I loved Royal Street. It is here on Royal Street where I found my favorite musicians.

Looking Down Royal Street

Street Musicians on Royal Street

Under a hot and sultry sun and without an umbrella to shelter them, this group had a lot of fun and included a tap dancer! But the heat also wore them out.

Street Musicians

Street Musicians No. 1-A

I really, really, really wanted to move the water bottles, but I knew I had limited time to make the photo. I had been observing him and noticed he danced in spurts. Did I mention it was a really hot and sultry day?

Tap Dancing

Street Musicians No. 1-B

The next set of musicians played just a little bit further down Royal Street and had an umbrella for protection.

Street Musicians

Street Musicians No. 2-A

Trombone Player

Street Musicians No. 2-B

Oboe Player

Street Musicians No. 2-C

And finally, my favorite group on Royal. I don’t know if it’s because of the singer’s personality or because of the tourists dancing in the street or because of the excellence in music. All three, really.

Street Musicians

Street Musicians No. 3-A

Trumpet Player

Street Musicians No. 3-B


Street Musicians No. 3-C

Street Musician Smile

Street Musicians No. 3-D. (I love this photo. I had been observing her and knew when she would glance over at her fellow musicians. I timed my shot and she gave me the smile I wanted without knowing I had waited for it.)

This young couple really took to the dancing. They started out very proper until an older couple joined in. The older couple did lifts and dips and suddenly the young couple freed up and moved into dips (no lifts). I wanted a partner. I wanted to dance.

Couple Dancing

Street Musicians No. 3-E

Couples Dancing

Street Musicians No. 3-F

Tips are not required, however, no matter where I’ve gone in the world, proper etiquette suggests that if you take something from the performer—and that includes enjoyment—then you give back. I learned to keep dollar bills on me.

Tip Box

Street Musicians No. 3-G

New Orleans is texture—from balconies to street musicians thus far. Later on will be tumblers and food and cemeteries and shops and…oh how I wish I could share the smells.


About Dezra Despain

Life is full of stories waiting to be revealed.

Posted on April 23, 2012, in A New Orleans Experience and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Good images, Dezra: colourful, energetic, full of life and they tell a story. 🙂

  2. Very entertaining, Dezra. My fav is musician 2-C and 3-B.

    • Street Musician No. 2-C was a delight to watch. She really got into her music. I tried getting photos of her from various angles as she played her oboe directly up towards the sky but because she was in shadows, most of them didn’t work out. But this one is just as cool. I really loved watching and listening to the street musicians. Thanks, Sheila.

  3. That sure looks like my kind of place,m Dezra! My favorite is the young woman playing the Django Reinhardt-style jazz acoustic guitar (probably no surprise, as that’s my favorite instrument). You have really caught her–and the others–at what appears to be their very best. Beautiful street work!

    • Thanks, Gary! Although I have no idea what a Django Reinhardt-style jazz guitar is, I do know what an acoustic guitar is. 🙂 I think you would love New Orleans. If you love music, you definitely will. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

  4. Love your post Dezra 🙂 Great work! We also recently did a road trip to NOLA. I wrote an article yesterday…could go on and on and on…there is so much to write about it! te he! The city is just so full of life!! They call it “the BIG easy”
    Drop by sometime – would be good to get your thoughts 🙂

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