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It's Carnival Music Time!

     Unique Nola Tours offers French Quarter walking tours to help you navigate the spectacle of Mardi Gras! Carnival season is a lot like the Holiday season: we have special foods, special colors, special traditions and like the Yuletide, special music.

Mikko Macchione

Tour Guide with Unique NOLA Tours and Author of books about New Orleans.

New Orleans Rum: A Decadent History

   Playing on the radios and jukeboxes and Spotifys around town are funky Mardi Gras songs that, like Christmas music, only play around this time of year. In fact, like Christmas music, if you hear them out of season, it’s a little annoying.

     Every Mardi Gras playlist should include certain songs: Carnival Time, by Al “Carnival Time” Johnson, New Suit by The Wild Magnolias, Take Me to the Mardi Gras by Paul Simon and just about anything by our amazing brass bands.

     The king of all Mardi Gras songs is certainly Mardi Gras in New Orleans by the immortal Professor Longhair. Henry Roeland “Roy” Byrd taught himself piano in a junk yard on a piano missing some keys. Some say that’s how he developed his syncopated style.

In that song, there is a lyric that goes:

“You know you’ll see the Zulu king,

Down on St. Claude and Dumaine …”

Now here is an interesting tidbit: Dumaine Street and St. Claude Avenue do not cross. If they did cross it would be in the center of Louis Armstrong Park. Today at the approximate place where the two streets would cross is a statue of Satchmo himself.

That statue was erected in the early 1960s. So if you stand at the mythical “St Claude and Dumaine,” you will see the Zulu king. Here’s the thing: Professor Longhair wrote the song in 1949! Fate? Prophecy? Clairvoyance? “All on a Mardi Gras day.” (That’s another great Mardi Gras song)

So grab the wife, grab the kids and jump into the festive world at Mardi Gras, and sing along!