Crescent City Gumbo: Race and Jazz in New Orleans

What gives New Orleans its special character? Its flavor? Its texture? Its sound? Is it the beignets and chicory coffee at Cafe Du Monde on Decatur Street in the French Quarter, or the mansions in the Garden District? Is it the Shotgun homes or the creole cottages? Is it New Orleans' racial and ethnic diversity? Is it the sound of jazz coming from the open doors and windows of the clubs on Basin Street? Or is it a combination of these influences? Henry Louis Gates, Jr., examines the contributions of this unique city to its rich jazz legacy.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Coordinate the lesson with the school's music department and jazz band
Classroom Considerations

  • Use as part of a unit on jazz and jazz history, a unit study of the 1920s, or with ELA units using Invisible Man or The Great Gatsby as core texts
  • Computers with Internet access are needed for each group
  • Requires considerable prep time
Pros

  • The six-page packet includes a carefully scaffolded, step-by-step plan, links to "The Birthplace of Jazz" webpage, and culminating activity
Cons

  • None
Common Core

Included Materials - Join to Access

  • Growing Up in New Orleans
  • A Willing Association
  • Become More Negroidal
  • The Birthplace of Jazz
  • The Birthplace of Jazz