10 New Orleans Anthems That Will Have You Dancing on Mardi Gras

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Mardi Gras celebrations will be in full swing this weekend, culminating in the full day of dancing, drinking, and parades on Fat Tuesday. New Orleans is famous for a unique variety of music created from the one-of-a-kind cultural gumbo the city has been steeped in since its foundation. Not only is New Orleans known as the birthplace of jazz, but it’s also home to zydeco, Cajun music, and a healthy blues scene. Marching bands, various street performers, and local hip-hop and punk scenes ensure that a visit to New Orleans at any time of the year has something for every music lover, while the Mardi Gras celebrations and parades emphasize traditional New Orleans jazz and brass bands. If you don’t have the fortune to make it to New Orleans for the debauchery-filled holiday, here’s playlist to bring the Big Easy to you.

“Goin’ Back to New Orleans,” Dr. John

Dr. John is a New Orleans native whose music is inspired by boogie woogie, zydeco, and jazz. He employs the New Orleans-related themes of voodoo, Mardi Gras, and medicine shows in his performances. John started as a guitarist, but was forced to switch to keyboards after a part of his finger was shot off during a barroom brawl. Dr. John has had a career making music associated New Orleans spanning five decades and has collaborated with the Rolling Stones and John Lennon.

“Tootie Ma Is a Big Fine Thing,” Preservation Hall Jazz Band & Tom Waits

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is the house band in the French Quarter’s famous Preservation Hall jazz club. The group is famous for playing traditional New Orleans-style jazz in the small venue on a nightly basis while tourists and locals alike line up for limited tickets hours in advance. Waits’ own music is heavily influenced by New Orleans styles including jazz, blues, and zydeco, and his signature growl is impossible to hear without thinking of a punk Louis Armstrong. Having the two team up makes for a song that oozes New Orleans.

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