Let’s Hear It: Best New Orleans Live Music Venues

Let’s Hear It: Best New Orleans Live Music Venues

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New Orleans may be a town that loves a good party, but more so, it's a town that loves a good jam session. Rhythm and music are a lifestyle in the Crescent City.

15 Places
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    Catch an afternoon or weeknight show for the less crowded version of a Frenchmen Street hot spot.
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    Sit at the bar or in the dining room and eat - the steaks and burgers are excellent -and you'll hear whoever is performing on live TV. Or pay the cover charge (it's always worth it) and head into the intimate little club called the "classiest jazz club in New Orleans" by The New York Times. Snug, which was frequently mentioned in reverential terms on the HBO series Treme, attracts a crowd of avid listeners, so if you ignore the band and chatter, expect to get shushed.
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    Just show up and expect to stand in line at this wonderful venue just off of Bourbon Street. But you can also order tickets online and go in at the front of the crowds, guaranteeing your party one of the hard bench seats in front of the band. Preservation Hall is a historic New Orleans tradition that spotlights talented local band leaders and sidemen that draw an international crowd of music fans. The decor is basic and consists of benches and cushions. 
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    This stalwart spot is where many New Orleans musicians including Harry Connick, Jr. served their apprenticeships. Maison upholds the city's famous jazz and Dixieland tradition, one of the few clubs on Bourbon Street that can stake that claim. The balcony is a fine spot top for an overview of the action, and in the rear of the club is a quaint courtyard with a wrought-iron gate accessing the chill Bar @ 635, a great place for a cocktail. 
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    offers local talent seven nights a week, no cover charge, in a swank, upscale setting. Mayfield is a Grammy-award winning jazz trumpet player and educator who has served as Cultural Ambassador of the City of New Orleans and State of Louisiana since 2003. He's often onstage, along with local luminaries like Germaine Bazzle, a soulful jazz singer and Gerald French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, a troupe that defines old school class and style.
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    Live bands play genres like Zydeco, rock, blues and funk showcasing the city's best talent. Unannounced sit-ins are not uncommon; Bruce Springsteen once dropped in to jam with The Iguanas and Jon Cleary's band was once joined by his frequent employer, Bonnie Raitt. Because the club is close to both Loyola and Tulane Universities, the Maple Leaf attracts a diverse crowd that includes college students, professors, tourists and hard-core music aficionados.
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    Renovating the divey Candlelight Lounge seems sacrilegious, but after a month of sprucing the iconic Treme restaurant on Robertson reopened early in 2016. Good thing, because this institution is home to the Treme Brass band every Wednesday night. As it's been going on for more than seven years, the group performs from 9 p.m.(ish) to midnight and red beans and rice is free.
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    Don't let the seedy environs deter you from this casual, comfortable Bywater hangout. Vaughan's is one of the best dive bars in town, brought to local infamy by Kermit Ruffins; regular Thursday night gigs. Kermit retired last year from late night shows, but Vaughan's is still home to funky live jazz every Thursday night.
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