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New Orleans Music: Spirit of a Community

The musical traditions of New Orleans are among the most joyous, passionate, and influential sounds to be found in America. Whether classic jazz, gospel, rhythm & blues, or brass band street music, the distinctive sounds of the Crescent City have flowed continuously and freely from the soul of a community with a unique history and way of life. Several factors contributed to New Orleans's unusual development: its founding in 1718 as an outpost of French colonization; its relatively isolated location along the Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico; its close proximity to the Caribbean and Latin America; and its unusual blend of cultures. Over the years, hardships resulting from a brutally hot and humid climate, several plagues, and countless hurricanes, floods, and other disasters led to a special appreciation for life. Numerous holidays and feast days of the predominantly Catholic city also contributed to an attitude among many New ...

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