Posts tagged “Jazz Fest

New Orleans: The Paris of America

Posted on May 7, 2012

This early 1900s postcard, sketched by Z. A. Hendrick and published by the St. Charles Hotel, depicts a hypothetical tourist itinerary in New Orleans, “The Paris of America.” With three of thirteen pictures devoted to mild winter weather, the card reveals how actively New Orleans promoters courted northern winter tourists in the early 20th century. Of course, the thermometer’s 75° Fahrenheit reading is a bit optimistic even for New Orleans on a typical winter day. The card offers clues about how tourists reached and encountered American cities in the early years of the past century. Arriving by passenger train, tourists could opt for a “sight-seeing trip” on board a motorized touring car in a time before automobiles reached wide use. It also suggests much…

A Prehistory of New Orleans Jazz Fest

Posted on May 6, 2012

Today marks the final day of the 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Officially this is the 43rd annual Jazz Fest in the Crescent City, but a close look at history shows that the inaugural festival in in 1970 in Congo Square (across North Rampart Street from the French Quarter) followed years of earlier efforts to stage such an event The earliest jazz festivals in New Orleans grew out of the work of the New Orleans Jazz Club, founded in 1948 after its short-lived predecessor, the National Jazz Foundation, folded. The NOJC held a small jazz festival of sorts with several concerts in Congo Square in 1949 and 1950. After a promising start, a series of unfortunate events in the 1950s and 1960s…