Where the mighty Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico, the French established a colony in what is now the state of Louisiana. Following the Louisiana Purchase, the port town of New Orleans experienced waves of immigration from Haiti, Cuba and Europe. New Orleans would become one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in the United States. That range of diversity is still on full display today, appearing in the city’s architecture, cuisine and music.
School music groups visiting New Orleans can learn about how it came to be the birthplace of Jazz. Every year, the city hosts the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, more commonly known as “Jazz Fest.” The festival, which features a variety native Louisiana and international artists, is one of the nation’s largest music festivals. Of course, New Orleans is also famous for Mardi Gras, which offers numerous parades that feature marching bands from across the country.