My experience in New Orleans

“In November, I had the opportunity of a lifetime and went with a group from Bloco to New Orleans; the home of jazz. I had the best time and learnt so much about the jazz culture in general as well as about influential musicians and New Orleans.

We had the chance to perform with well-known bands such as Hot 8 Brass Band (who we’d played with in London a few months before), did workshops with the Preservation Hall band and did so much more. The trip was truly inspiring and I have come away with lots of information and knowledge. We got to experience what it felt like to participate in a second line parade and to be part of the NOLA culture as well as learning about those who played major roles in the development of jazz.

Louis Armstrong and his inspirational turn around in life surprised me massively. From being sent to the Colored Waif’s Home for Boys as a punishment aged 11, Louis found a love for the cornet and started having lessons. After being released, he went out into the world and pursued music as his career. This story shocked me and taught me that music can help you to get through tough times.

The music in New Orleans was amazing and there were buskers playing on every street corner, a way of living and getting by in life. Our afternoon volunteering at the New Orleans Musicians Clinic was very humbling. We heard about the work that they do in the NOLA community; their mission to provide free or cheap healthcare is fascinating and life changing for both the musicians of the city and their families. As healthcare in America is not cheap(!), a lot of musicians struggle to afford it which can lead to life threatening conditions and issues not being treated. At the New Orleans Musician’s Clinic they ensure musicians get medical and mental health care, improving their life chances.

As well as organised trips around New Orleans, were the planning sessions for Bloco 2020, nights exploring the city, hanging out and late night games sessions – it was so much fun and really show what Bloco is all about; family. Going to New Orleans with Bloco was the best trip of my life and I had such an amazing time. The memories I have made are unforgettable and I am excited to see what comes next! 😊”

~ Hattie, Trumpeter