Love music? You can thank Louisiana—there is no other state that can say it’s the birthplace of multiple musical genres. Jazz, Cajun and zydeco all started here and still thrive today. And when you add the state’s notable contributions to American blues, country and rock ’n’ roll, it’s no wonder thousands flock to Louisiana to hear these sweet sounds firsthand.
Jazz fans want to focus on New Orleans. No city in America is home to more jazz talent—one-of-a-kind composers, musicians and singers. In addition to notable venues such as Preservation Hall, Snug Harbor and Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, enthusiasts will appreciate historic sites such as Congo Square in Armstrong Park and the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park.
Cajun and zydeco is the music of Cajun Country—the region in and around the city of Lafayette, northward to Opelousas and Eunice and westward to Lake Charles, in addition to the bayous southwest of New Orleans. These genres have similar roots and are characterized by instruments such as the frottoir (a wearable washboard), accordion and fiddle. Cajun is closer to the folk music of 18th-century Acadian exiles who settled Louisiana’s swamps, prairies and bayous. Zydeco was created by Creole sharecroppers and farmers and is rooted in American blues. Whatever catches your ear in Louisiana, you’re sure to have an unforgettable musical experience.