Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

OPINION: New Orleans music can reinvigorate anyone

OPINION%3A+New+Orleans+music+can+reinvigorate+anyone
Lizzy Hadley

New Orleans music is a culture. It’s an energy surrounding all aspects of New Orleanian life, from buskers at every street corner in the French Quarter, to the brass bands and traditional jazz groups on Mardi Gras floats, to some of the most famous hip-hop, and R&B artists that have their roots in the Crescent City. No matter where you are in the city, you’re a stone’s throw away from some of the greatest and most influential music in American history, and New Orleans music won’t ever die.

Some of my earliest memories of music in New Orleans are from my childhood Mardi Gras experiences. My family grew up in St. Bernard parish before Katrina, and would always take me back to the city for the carnival season. Even before I thought about becoming a musician myself, the music was my favorite part of the parades. I’d jump up on the guard rails as soon as I heard the bass drums shaking the street, staring down the road to catch a glimpse of the brass players, and begging the drum major to start the next tune. I’d hop down from my ladder when I heard the brass bands coming down the street, singing every word of “When the Saints Go Marching In” with them as they passed. Truly, hearing the music in New Orleans is what sparked my musical interest in the first place, so it’s only fitting I ended up back here for my musical journey.

Fast forward to the second semester of my sophomore year here at Loyola. I’d been pretty successful in my time here, making the top wind band and big band, as well as the orchestra. Regardless, I felt my love for music wavering. Over the winter break, I thought a lot, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and spent several hours in conversation with my music therapy friends to see about switching to their degree. It got bad enough by the third week of classes that I didn’t even know if I wanted to continue my path in music.

I had lost the musical spark that had occurred in those earliest Mardi Gras parades, and I was lost in my musical journey. So I went and talked to my professor about everything I had been thinking and feeling, and he told me to rediscover my passion. I needed to go back to what inspired my musical drive in the first place. So I spent more time just listening. I listened to every type of music I could, just trying to find the genre that would reignite the spark and get me back on track. Despite the wide net I cast in my music search, I always came back to what I knew best, the music of New Orleans.

I talked to my friend about marching in Proteus with his brass band. I had marched in smaller parades in Slidell my entire high school career, so I was familiar with the energy you experience on parade routes, but nothing compares to the energy of an uptown New Orleans parade. Tens of thousands of screaming people on all sides of the street, people jumping into the route to second line to their favorite Mardi Gras standard, and the smiles on every band member’s face as we all get to do what we love is enough to reinvigorate anyone’s passions. Marching in that parade saved my musical journey, and the music of New Orleans had once again started a spark of passion for music that I knew very well.

My advice to anyone in the city, musician or not, is to go out into the city and listen. Go into the French Quarter and meet Doreen Ketchens with her clarinet, take a walk down Frenchman St. and experience the joy of music pouring out of every window, and let yourself truly feel the music on the parade route this carnival season. New Orleans is one of the most artistically beautiful cities in the world, and the people that create this art are the most inspiring human beings this world has to offer. Let New Orleans’ music save your soul.

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About the Contributor
Lizzy Hadley, Op/Ed Editor
Lizzy Hadley currently serves as The Maroon’s Op/Ed Editor. Lizzy is a junior majoring in English with a concentration in film/digital media, and pursuing a minor in social media. In her free time, Lizzy is usually playing Animal Crossing New Horizons on her switch or casually reading some young adult fiction. Lizzy can be reached at [email protected].

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