Wednesday, Jul 13, 2011
New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park opened the doors on June 18th to its newest visitor site -- the Historic Perseverance Hall No. 4, located in Louis Armstrong Park, the gateway to the historic French Quarter "Vieux Carre" in New Orleans. This represents a signifcant milestone in the next chapter of development for the park created to tell the story of the peoples, places, and diverse cultural and societal influences that converged to manifest the birth and development of that uniquely American art form jazz music in the exotic environs New Orleans.
Assigned to the park under a lease and partnership with the City of New Orleans, Perseverance Hall No. 4 was originally a Masonic Lodge built between 1819 and 1820, making it the oldest Masonic temple in Louisiana. It is situated very close to Historic Congo Square where the African rhythms that became part of jazz were celebrated since Colonial times, and is contiguous to the most historic African American community and neighborhood in the nation, Fauborg Treme.
Historically, Perseverance Hall was used for dances, where African American and Creole jazz performers and bands reportedly played for African American, Creole, and white audiences. Various organizations of the day rented Perseverance Hall for dances, concerts, Monday night banquets, and recitals. Perseverance Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 2nd, 1973. The entire Louis Armstrong Park has been closed to the public since Hurricane Katrina. In May 2011 Mayor Mitch Landrieu reopened Louis Armstrong Park to public use and enjoyment much to the community's delight. The City of New Orleans and several community organizations were very pleased that the NPS joined the efforts in partnership to welcome the community back to its park.
JAZZ had begun renovations on Perseverance Hall just months before Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans. After the storm, the park immediately addressed the emergency repairs and stabilizations needed, and then proceeded to complete the renovations to the first floor visitor center of the facility. The park also completed interpretive exhibit design and fabrication through Harpers Ferry and Museum Design Associates that includes the exhibits Jazz Roots: West African, Caribbean, European, American. The exceptional interpretive exhibits after being in storage for years finally have a home and audience.
Perseverance Hall initially will be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the year and will be the new home for the park’s popular Music for All Ages program. Music for All Ages, held every Saturday morning from 11 a.m. to noon, teaches young people the music and etiquette required to perform in a traditional New Orleans brass band. Kids are invited to bring their own instruments and join a professional brass band for a hands on workshop and performance of traditional New Orleans songs.