Preservation Hall, housed in a former art gallery dating from 1803, is one of New Orleans' most storied live-music venues. The resident performers, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, are ludicrously talented, and regularly tour the world. 'The Hall' dates from 1961, when Barbara Reid and Grayson ‘Ken’ Mills formed the Society for the Preservation of New Orleans Jazz.
There are some caveats to 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, and you need to show up early – at least 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 alcohol or snacks are served, and the bathroom is in next-door Pat O’Brien’s bar.