I can not think of a city with a greater connection between its people and its musical heritage than New Orleans, Louisiana. Now this may seem odd coming from a New York musician. It's true that every New Yorker is required by the city charter to believe this city is above all others, and I often subscribe to that megalomanic foundation. Sure our city can lay claim to a long list of musical milestones, however music is not an integral part of every New Yorker's life. You can go about your day as a dry cleaner, a chef, or a Wall Street weasel, and not be touched by music. This musical ignorance is impossible in New Orleans, it's everywhere. The love of music seems to be a New Orleanian birthright that's embraced by every generation. I wish we had such a phenomenon in NYC. Frankly I'm jealous. This, among many other qualities, make New Orleans my favorite city in America. I could try and paint you a detailed portrait of what this unconditional relationship with music looks like, but someone has already done a more masterful job than I ever could. That man is David Simon, and the instructional vehicle is Treme.
David Simon is best known for creating what many believe to be the greatest television series ever, The Wire. In 2010 David's New Orleans centric drama Treme premiered to critical acclaim. Although the focus of this series is to highlight the incredible challenges faced by the people of New Orleans after Katrina, it shines as equally an intense light on the city's rich musical culture. You will be introduced to much of the city's great talent from the present and the past, plus many great neighborhoods not listed in your Fodor's guide. So if you think of New Orleans as nothing more than the bare breasts and regurgitating frat boys on Bourbon Street, you are about to have your eyes opened very wide.
Sadly, the show will end its run with a 4th and final season this Fall. I highly recommend finding a good recipe for red beans and rice, grab some Abita beer, and lose an entire weekend with some serious binge viewing. Until then, here is an amuse-busche of the musical buffet that's in store for you.