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The Urbanist’s New Orleans: What to Do


All That’s Not Jazz
Swamp-tech auteur and Upper Ninth Ward resident Quintron surveys the musical landscape.

D.J. Pasta at Mimi’s
2601 Royal St.
“He does a biweekly night called Alligator Chomp! Chomp! at Mimi’s in the Marigny, playing mostly old New Orleans swamp pop.”

Katey Red
“The godfather of sissy bounce: dirty, nasty, fast, block-party music. This is pop in New Orleans: a cross-dressing rapper making beats with not much hook and a lot of crazy ass-shaking.”

Domino Sound Record Shack
2557 Bayou Rd.
“Domino is great for world music or weirdo genres like avant classical. They also have cheap, used everything: zydeco, punk, R&B, whatever. Just let them guide you.”

Nuthin’ But Fire
1840 N. Claiborne Ave.
“If you want to find out about bounce or hip-hop events, underground or otherwise, go to this insane record store.”

2227 St. Claude Ave.
“The new club that’s completely changed the game—with punk and metal seven nights a week. It looks like a shitty dive bar but sounds awesome, and the beer is cheap.”

Guitar Lightnin' Lee
“He’s an old-school blues guitar player backed by this young, white punk band, Die Rötzz. He’s really on fire right now.”

Hi-Ho Lounge
2239 St. Claude Ave.
“The Stooges Brass Band has a Thursday-night residency here, and a friend of the band makes killer barbecue out front. That’s a good combo.”

“My favorite radio stations are WTUL, the free-format college station at Tulane, and WWOZ, which is heavy on the jazz-blues tip but completely devoted to local music. Tune into this when you first drive into the city.”

Where It’s Always Fat Tuesday
Under-the-radar alternatives to the tourist-stampeded Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World.

The Germaine Wells Mardi Gras Museum  

The House of Dance and Feathers
1317 Tupelo St.; 504-957-2678; by appointment
In what’s otherwise known as the shed in Ronald W. Lewis’s backyard sits a trove of artifacts from the city’s longstanding social-aid and pleasure clubs. Lewis lost most of his original collection in Hurricane Katrina but, with the help of his neighbors in the Lower Ninth Ward, rebuilt the archive, one hand-beaded costume at a time.

Germaine Wells Mardi Gras Museum
813 Rue Bienville, second fl.; 504-523-5433
Located within Arnaud’s Restaurant (named after the daughter of Count Arnaud), this overlooked museum houses a bevy of costumes worn by Wells during her 22 or so turns as queen of the various Mardi Gras balls—more than any other woman in the history of Carnival. Photos, masks, and “crown jewels” round out the collection.

Backstreet Cultural Museum
1116 Henriette Delille St.; 504-522-4806
Sylvester Francis began shooting still images and Super 8 films of jazz funerals, second-line parades, Skull and Bone gangs, and Mardi Gras Indians more than 30 years ago; in 1999, he went public with his collection. Today, Backstreet’s Mardi Gras inventory is considered among the city’s most thorough.


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