Preservation Hall

Preservation Hall

Preservation Hall is a noted jazz performance hall located at 726 St. Peter Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. It hosts nightly concerts featuring a rotating roster of bands. The bands of Preservation Hall typically perform jazz in the New Orleans style. Despite the fame of the institution, admittance is affordable ($10 as of May 2008). Because of limited seating, crowds typically begin lining up well in advance of a performance (no reservations are accepted), and the line is typically quite long, although sometimes musicians will play for those waiting in line. Inside, a large portion of the audience stands in back, behind a limited number of benches, chairs, and floor cushions. The hall is not forcibly cleared between sets, and an audience member can expect to stand in the dark, with little or no view of the musicians for one set, stand with a good view for the next set, and find a seat for a third set. There is no dance floor, and neither food nor drink is served. Smoking is not permitted, but outside beverages may be permitted, with decisions apparently based on safety and cleanliness.


The origins of musical performances at Preservation Hall go back to the start of the 1960s and an art gallery run by local entrepreneur Larry Borenstein. Many older jazz musicians were then minimally employed, and Borenstein arranged for some of them to play for tips in the gallery to help draw in potential customers. More people started coming for the music than the art. Allan Jaffe took over running of the Hall, and made it into a famous institution in part by ignoring the then prevalent ideas of what was needed for a successful music business-- there was no dance floor, and no food or drinks were served, the focus being just on the music.

In addition to the French Quarter Hall, bands of New Orleans musicians tour the world under the Preservation Hall Jazz Band name.

In August 2005, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina forced Preservation Hall to close for several months, although the building remained intact. The first post-Katrina performance at Preservation Hall took place on April 27-28, 2006, commemorating its 45th Anniversary.

History of the building

The building housing Preservation Hall, which survived the Great New Orleans Fire (1788) and also 1794, is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the Quarter. The building was built just five years after the oldest building in the Quarter (the Old Ursuline Convent at 112 Chartres Street, built in 1745). It was built in 1750 as a private residence. During the War of 1812, the building housed a tavern.

Further reading and references

* "Preservation Hall" by William Carter
* "Song for My Fathers" by Tom Sancton
* [ Historic Architecture of Preservation Hall]
* [ Historic Architecture of Preservation Hall TV Interview]

ee also

*List of jazz clubs

External links

* [ Preservation Hall . com]
* [ ART+ Interview with Ben Jaffe about Preservation Hall's new CD, Made in New Orleans (July, 2007)]

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