This blog post was updated on October 3, 2018.
The state of Louisiana is home to a rich musical tradition. Blues, funk, jazz, zydeco, rock ‘n’ roll, country – it’s all-American music and every style has its roots in this corner of the world. Headed down to Dixie for a taste of live music but in a jam as to where you should go? Here’s a quick list of great venues across the state to help you play it by ear like a pro.
609 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
To be sure, New Orleans features prominently on not only Lousiana’s or America’s music scene but that of the whole world. And chief among the New Orleans epicenters for excellent live music is Frenchman Street. Indeed, you’ll see a couple more Frenchman mentions on this list alone. Among the many bars and venues featuring performances is the Apple Barrel, where live jazz and blues is on every night of the week. Expect a friendly local crowd, cheap drinks, and amazing acoustics. Upstairs and under the same ownership is Adolpho’s, an Italian restaurant with a touch of Creole and Cajun to the mix. Visit the Apple Barrel’s Facebook page for listings and more.
Blue Moon Salon and Guesthouse
215 East Convent Street, Lafayette, Louisiana 70501
One of the premier venues for roots music in the country, this little honk tonk in downtown Lafayette hosts a range of live shows from its open air stage – from regional legends to major and up-and-coming national and international acts. Visit the Blue Moon online at bluemoonpresents.com.
20 6th Street, Mamou, Louisiana 70554
Open Saturday mornings only except during Mardi Gras, Fred’s is home to live Cajun music and dancing. From 8 a.m. until 1:30 in the afternoon, “Tante Sue, the matriarch and widow of the club’s founder Fred Tate, presides “with her unique blend of charm and rules” such as no kissing and no four-letter words except love and beer. Despite the early start and the strict guidelines on behaviour most Saturdays find Fred’s with standing room only and usually a line out the door. Find out more here.
Maple Leaf Bar
8316 Oak Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118
Back to NOLA for one of the city’s best and funkiest places for amazing music. This uptown bar is popular with the university students and famous for its line up of funk, jazz, blues and rock. More at mapleleafbar.com.
726 St Peters Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
If you could only visit one music venue in Louisiana, this historic music hall set in the French Quarter should be at the top of your list. The music here is classic Dixieland played by some of the best musicians in town. It doesn’t get more authentic than this! Details at preservationhall.com.
Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro
626 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
With NOLA musical royalty such as the Neville and Marsalis families having been known to perform here, this institution still packs ’em in and wows ’em too with a delectable menu and roster of exceptional performances. Go to snugjazz.com for more info.
The Spotted Cat
623 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
Another Frenchmen Street favorite and one of the most fun bars in New Orleans, the Spotted Cat is a friendly place where locals of all sorts and out-of-towners from all over join together to have a good time listening to great music. Drinks are cheap – just be sure to save some money for when the hat’s passed round for the band! Check it out online at spottedcatmusicclub.com.