Ralph Ellison once wrote that the rules of performance in American culture are jazz-shaped. This book explores the Afro-Creole core culture of New Orleans as the mainspring of this energizing music.
Much of the cultural capital of the city is buried in a complex, tripartite racial history, which threatens the binary logic of North American racism with all sorts of sensual transgressions. Its jazz-derived culture combines elements of African, French, Spanish, and Anglo-American cultural practices which, in their fusion, have created a unique propulsive energy: second line parades, jazz funerals, Mardi Gras Indians, Cajun and Creole foodways, minstrelsy, dance, ragtime, and jazz.
Photographs by Michael P. Smith, Historic New Orleans Collection are included in this work.