November 12, 2012


The "Bitter Pill & Silver Lining" of Katrina for New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band

When Fuse headed down to New Orleans for Voodoo Music Experience, we caught up with Ben Jaffe, director of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. As a cultural ambassador for the city—and the jazz band's director, tuba player and double bassist—Jaffe told us how New Orleans' musical heritage has managed to thrive in spite of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"Our whole thing post-Katrina was ensuring another generation of musicians knew about New Orleans' musical traditions and heritage," Jaffe says. He also notes the increased visibility of NOLA jazz was "something that may not have happened if not for the hurricane. It's one of those bitter pills we have to swallow," Jaffe says. "At the end of the day, what was the silver lining of this incredible disaster? When I see young kids playing New Orleans music and hanging out and dancing to a jazz orchestra, I think, 'Okay, we're doing our job.'"

Watch the clip above for the full interview and check out Jaffe's guide to the bars, breakfasts and restaurants of New Orleans right here.