The Harlem of New Orleans: South Rampart Street Tour
This tour looks beyond the high-rises and parking lots of the Central Business District to the mostly black neighborhood that filled these blocks from the late nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth. Its centerpiece is the 400 block of South Rampart, which features the Eagle Saloon, the Iroquois Theater, the Karnofsky Shop and Residence, and the Little Gem Saloon. According to John Hasse, curator of American Music at the Smithsonian Institution, “There is probably no other block in America with buildings bearing so much significance to the history of our country’s great art form, jazz.”
The other locations on this tour have since been demolished, but their legacy is still vital. They show how, in the 1940s and 50s, South Rampart Street nurtured the city’s next great musical export, rhythm and blues. These sites tell stories of black artists, business owners, and teachers, along with Jewish and Italian merchants, who influenced the course of popular music from the “back o’ town” in New Orleans.
Places in this Tour
From the 2017 Ponderosa Stomp Music History Conference, Richard Campanella, Bruce Raeburn, and "Deacon" John Moore discuss the music and geography of South Rampart Street.