Top Hat Engage 2020 is just four weeks away. Get to know New Orleans with style and substance and unparalleled hospitality. The conference is located at the New Orleans Marriott on NOLA’s famed Canal Street, between the French Quarter and the Warehouse District, with views overlooking the Mississippi River and downtown New Orleans.

The fascinating music history of New Orleans is derived from a multicultural melting pot of unique rhythms and influences. No matter where you go in the city, you will hear melodies emanating from shops, bars, concert halls and street corners.

Since its establishment in 1718, New Orleans has been the birthplace of many of the world’s most influential genres.It’s responsible for creating—or contributing to the development of—groundbreaking music styles like jazz and zydeco. By including elements like European brass horns, African hand drums, and powerful lyrics, these genres enchant listeners from around the world.


The blues genre, popularized in the Mississippi delta, got its name from “blue devils,” which were feelings of melancholy and sadness. It has deep roots in African-American history, with elements and motifs that originate in West African musical traditions. Blues began on Southern plantations of the nineteenth century. This deep-south genre is characterized by call-and-response patterns, emotional lyrics, blues scales, bass lines, and complex instrumentation.

To hear some authentic New Orleans blues, visit the Spotted Cat Club on Frenchmen Street, or the Funky Pirate Blues Club on Bourbon Street.


R&B, or Rhythm and Blues, began in the 1940s during World War II. It blended the lively music of the “Jazz Age” with traditional blues and various African-American mainstream acts of the time to create an entirely new genre. It has since become a cultural phenomenon, giving rise to global hits by ground-breaking artists like Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis, Lloyd Price, Frankie Ford, Professor Longhair, and Irma Thomas. In the 1970s, the genre continued to evolve with artists like Dr. John and the Neville Brothers, and today, this style is pushing new boundaries with the likes of New Orleans rap legend Lil Wayne.

Try Cafe Negril or Funky 544 for some Orleansian rhythm and blues music.


New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz music—a groundbreaking genre that originated from local African-American communities. Jazz’s early days began with Papa Jack Laine’s musical formation, which was comprised of hundreds of city musicians from diverse ethnic groups and social statuses. Following this formation came the emergence of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, who were instrumental in making this genre world-famous. This musical form got its name from a slang term dating back to 1860 that meant “energy” or “vitality.” Even though the term “jazz” became common during the early 1900s, when musicians like Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory, and King Oliver exemplified the music style, its roots came from early influences like ragtime, rural blues and the free spirited improvisation of marching bands. While it has changed since its early years, Jazz is still alive and well. Singers like Harry Connick Jr., who has 10 number one U.S. jazz albums, represent this genre today by incorporating traditional jazz styles and techniques in modern music.

Try Fritzel’s European Jazz Club or the Jazz Playhouse, both conveniently located on Bourbon street, the birthplace of this iconic genre.


Bounce is defined by its upbeat tempo. It incorporates heavy brass band beats, and Mardi Gras Indian call-and-response routines. Bounce is a cornerstone of Louisiana’s hip-hop history. This relatively new genre of music originates from rappers and DJs working at block parties and dance clubs in the 1980s, who brought life to New Orleans’ original hip-hop style. It has since become one of New Orlean’s most innovative and exciting styles of music. Bounce was a major part of the 1990s groove scene with records like Juvenile’s “Do the Jubilee All,” and the legacy has continued into present day with rappers like Vockah Redu, Sissy Noby, and Big Freedia.

Visit Gasa Gasa or Tipitina’s for an authentic bounce music experience.

New Orleans is a hub for touring and local musicians, with more than 1,500 music venues throughout the city. Take time during Engage 2020 to get to know the city of New Orleans through its most prolific form of expression, the music.

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