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In his award-winning documentary “Jazz,” filmmaker Ken Burnsinvoked the image of gumbo – the signature dish of New Orleans – tohighlight the combination of elements that led to the birth ofjazz. Besides being a great metaphor, Burns’ comparison highlightsthe inseparable link between jazz and New Orleans. For jazz fans, aNew Orleans vacation offers the ultimate travel experience. Forcasual listeners to hard-core aficionados, there is much to do andenjoy during a jazz-themed New Orleans vacation:

Listen to live music

Some of the city’s best live jazz can often be heard in theclubs and bars on and around Frenchmen Street in the FaubourgMarigny section of town. Within one three-block area, more than adozen different venues typically offer live performances.

Visit Congo Square

Located inside Louis Armstrong Park near the French Quarter,Congo Square was a place where slaves were allowed to gather onSundays in antebellum New Orleans. The gatherings, featuring danceand music, helped preserve African musical traditions that latercontributed heavily to the birth of jazz.

Attend a performance at Preservation Hall

Built as a private home in 1750, Preservation Hall was opened in1961 to protect and promote traditional New Orleans jazz. No NewOrleans vacation is complete without attending one of the Hall’snightly jazz performances.

Enjoy a jazz brunch

New Orleans is also famous for its incredible cuisine, and ajazz brunch is the perfect way to satisfy an appetite for both foodand live music. Two of the city’s very best jazz brunches can befound at local institutions: Arnaud’s (Rue Bienville) and The Courtof Two Sisters (Royal Street).

Take a walking tour

The National Park Service offers two free jazz walking tours,each pairing an illustrated map with audio commentary that can bedownloaded to your iPod. An 11-stop tour highlights Congo Squareand other important sites in New Orleans, and a Jazz Walk of Fametour in Algiers Point (a ferry ride across the Mississippi) honorsmore than a dozen influential jazz figures. The Park Service alsooffers a number of other programs locally. (

Visit the Old U.S. Mint

A former U.S. and Confederate Mint, the Old U.S. Mint onEsplanade Street is today part of the Louisiana State Museum. Themuseum’s “New Orleans Jazz” exhibit features instruments (manyplayed by significant jazz musicians) and other items chroniclingthe history of jazz in New Orleans.

Meet Ken Burns and enjoy a five-day VIP experience

Perhaps the ultimate New Orleans vacation is being offered byTauck, ( the leader in premium-quality tours andcruises, in partnership with the filmmaker Ken Burns, whose 10-partseries “Jazz” received five Emmy nominations. Those attending thefive-day VIP jazz event (Oct. 5 to 9, 2011) will personally meetBurns and enjoy experiences including private performances by EllisMarsalis and other musicians, a private concert at PreservationHall, exclusive lectures from Burns and other experts, a jazzbrunch at The Court of Two Sisters, a jazz dinner cruise aboard thesteamboat Natchez and much more. Virtually everything is includedin the price, from airport transfers to accommodations at theluxury Ritz-Carlton.

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