Preservation Hall, housed in a former art gallery that dates to 1803, is one of the most storied live-music venues in New Orleans. The resident performers, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, are ludicrously talented, and regularly tour around the world. 'The Hall' dates to 1961, when Barbara Reid and Grayson ‘Ken’ Mills formed the Society for the Preservation of New Orleans Jazz.
With that all said, there are some caveats you should know before seeing a show here. First, the set is only about an hour long. Still, you’re paying to see musical history as much as music, so we’re OK with that. But hey, we also want to be able to see the band. The Hall is atmospheric, but it is also small and popular. Sets play on the hour, and you need to show up early – we say an hour before – to snag a seat. Otherwise you’ll be standing and, likely as not, your view will be blocked by people in front of you. Of course, you can reserve seats online, but you pay for the privilege. When it’s warm enough to leave the window shutters open, those not fortunate enough to get inside can join the crowd on the sidewalk to listen to the sets.
Also note that no booze or snacks are served in the club, and the bathroom is in next-door Pat O’Brien’s. We love the Hall, don’t get us wrong. Just be aware of what you might be up against before you visit.