With many people having left New Orleans
after Hurricane Katrina, there was a fear that the traditional
sound of this musical mecca might be lost forever. Fortunately,
there is at least one place where the city's oldest music
traditions not only live on but are being passed on to a new
On St. Peter Street
in the Crescent City's French Quarter is Preservation Hall, home of
the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, purveyors of what is billed as the
authentic sound of New Orleans.
true to its name, has maintained the same look and feel since it
was opened as a performance venue in 1961 by the late Allan Jaffe,
a tuba player in the jazz band.
Before that time,
the building, which dates back to 1750, had served as a private
residence, tavern/inn, photo studio and art gallery. Elements of
all of those incarnations still linger in Preservation
Other than the
nightly cover charge, which usually ranges from $8 to $15, very
little has changed at Preservation Hall since it was founded, from
the original low benches to the worn floorboards.
A legacy lives on
In order to ensure
that the spirit of this veritable institution is not lost, Ben
Jaffe, Allan's son, this summer released "Made in New Orleans: The
Hurricane Sessions," a limited-edition box set featuring a CD of he
Preservation Hall Jazz Band's music and a DVD of the group's
There are old and
new recordings, and a few tracks were reproduced to combine old and
new. Original, previously unreleased recordings
by Allan Jaffe were on tapes salvaged by his son from the flooded
each box set contains Preservation Hall memorabilia accumulated
over the years, such as reproductions of original photos that were
also rescued from Katrina debris.
"When we came back,
we decided we had to put it out to tell the world what Preservation
Hall is all about," said Laura Belinda Tennyson, president of Lura
Belle Productions. Tennyson has been assisting Preservation Hall's
public relations effort since Katrina.
In addition to
looking back, Jaffe, who serves as Preservation Hall's artistic
director, has been looking to the future, making efforts to attract
young people to the historical venue.
Recent efforts have
included a remix album of traditional New Orleans jazz that was put
together with the help of DJ King Britt; a recent series of
late-night shows called "Midnight Preserves," which featured
contemporary musicians such as Jon Cleary and Charlie Hunter; and
even a Preservation Hall Jazz Band music video.
"These projects are
an extension of what Preservation Hall does," Jaffe
As the group tours
extensively, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is not always in
Even so, the Hall
is usually open, serving as a home to the New Birth Brass Band and
Lyle Henderson, who is known as New Orleans' "Prince of
information on Preservation Hall and the Preservation Hall Jazz
Band, visit www.preservationhall.com or call (504)
contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].