Music; Ethnography & Anthropology; Communications, Media and Information studies
Following Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has witnessed significant demographic change, with an estimated 100,000 African Americans yet to return to the city. However, movement has not been unidirectional. The city has attracted many “transplants”: city residents who were not born or living in the city before Katrina. There is significant scholarship on the consequences of displacement and in-migration for the local community and culture. However, little attention has been paid to musicians and, in particular, the apparent resurgence of “traditional” jazz in the city.
Based on my own experience as a musician, this project will look at contemporary traditional jazz bands in the contested cultural spaces of New Orleans. Research will consist of two interconnected parts. First, an ethnographic study of active musicians/audiences will focus on the influx of new musicians following Hurricane Katrina, urban displacement, gentrification, race, and tourism. Second, a digital ethnography will question the use of digital media by these musicians and their audiences, and the consequent impact on musicking in local and global communities. In doing so, the project aims to locate contemporary traditional jazz in the context of the digital age.