Advanced Search
Southern Spaces
A journal about real and imagined spaces and places of the US South and their global connections

Music of the Louisiana Gulf Coast

Emory University
Published February 26, 2004


US Geological Survey, Louisiana Gulf Coast Region, 2002.
US Geological Survey, Louisiana Gulf Coast Region, 2002.

Where the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico meet and mingle, South Louisiana is one of the richest regions of traditional and contemporary music. Its extraordinary cultural diversity finds expression through cajun fiddlers and accordion players. Black creole bands performing the dance music called zydeco, New Orleans jazz in its many permutations, brass band second-liners, piano professors, gospel singers, church choirs, rhythm and blues shouters, country-western honky tonkers, swamp rockers, Dirty South rappers—to list major examples. This page offers a passageway into this song-saturated region.

New Orleans Jazz

The Red Hot Jazz Archive is an extraordinary website for pre-1930s jazz and its New Orleans history. It contains RealAudio sound samples, essays, biographies, photos, references, and links.

Child musicians in New Orleans. Photo by Nick Spitzer, 2000.


Nick Spitzer interviews Jason Berry


Louis Armstrong retrospective


On the trail of Jelly Roll Morton.


Cajun Music

Visit with Steve Riley (accordion, vocals), David Greeley (fiddle) and the Mamou Playboys.

"Today's Cajun culture resulted from the blending of several groups, primarily the Acadians, the descendants of French Acadians who were expelled from Nova Scotia by the British in 1755 and who began arriving in Louisiana in 1765." (Source: "Louisiana's Traditional Cultures: An Overview" by Maida Owens.)



The Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band. Michael Savoy (fiddle), Marc Doucet (accordion, vocals), Ann Savoy (guitar, vocals), with special guest Richard Thompson. (1999). Source: Festival Tours International.



Interview with Mamou Playboys.

Interview with Marc and Ann Savoy.

Interview with Michael Doucet.


Claude Duffy and his fire band at the Friendly Club in Cecelia, St. Martin Parish. Photo by Nick Spitzer.

"The exuberant dance music of southwest Louisiana's black Creoles. Stylistically, it is a rich hybrid, with a core of Afro-Caribbean rhythms and folk roots, blues, and Cajun music (zydeco's white counterpart), along with a wealth of other elements. These vary widely from band to band and may include rock, country, R & B, reggae, rap and hip-hop. Traditionally, zydeco is sung in French, and its lyrics are often improvised. It is absolutely not intended for passive listening. Zydeco's dominant instrument is the accordion, while its signature percussive instrument is the frottoir or rub-board." (Source: Louisiana Voices)

Interview with Boozoo Chavis.


Interview with Queen Ida Guillory.

New Orleans Miscellany

A New Orleans jazz funeral


Interview with Harold Battiste


Henry Butler & Corey Harris


Mardi Gras parade


Wynton Marsalis on jazz education

*Media sources on this page are courtesy of American Routes, hosted by Nick Spitzer from New Orleans on Public Radio International. 

Similar Publications