Trombone Shorty said it best: “New Orleans is like a big musical gumbo.” The faded sound of jazz and blues becomes background music to anyone strolling through the Quarter. Everyone is familiar with some of New Orleans’s famous spots for live music, such as The Spotted Cat on Frenchman and Tipitina’s. However, hidden in the Bywater is a place that’s guaranteed to be unlike anywhere you’ve ever been.
The Music Box Village is an art installation and performance venue, which was created and built by New Orleans Airlift, a nonprofit whose mission is to highlight the artistic culture of New Orleans through art education, the creation of public artwork projects and community engagement. New Orleans Airlift was founded in 2008 as a way to inspire and collaborate local artists to foster the originality and creativity of the artistic culture of New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The Music Box Village is essentially a playground for artists and musicians of all ages, with original and interactive “musical houses.” The permanent site opened in 2016 and was inspired by the charm of New Orleans architecture as well as the countless artists and musicians who feed the spirit of the city.
Each season, The Music Box Village offers a variety of events, such as free art markets, concerts and theatrical productions. Don’t miss the free Goblin Market on the evening of the 25th to get you in the Halloween spirit, which will have live music and over 20 vendors offering original art, jewelry and more! The Music Box Village will also be putting on their second annual Halloween party, Dante’s Disco Inferno Fantastique, which goes from 7-10 p.m. on Halloween night. If you can’t make either of these events, check out their website (https://musicboxvillage.com/2016/05/26/ticketing/) for upcoming events and performances. They also offer public hours, which allows you to wander through this musical playground for a small fee to support the mission and goals of New Orleans Airlift.
The Music Box Village is a hub of all the artistic spirit that makes New Orleans the unique city that we’re all lucky to call home. I guarantee you’ll leave this whimsical playground feeling inspired by the people and energy of this hidden gem. Each structure tells a different story and every individual, whether it be a 5-year-old pretending they’re the star of a band or a 65-year-old dancing to the sound of the sax, will get lost in their imagination as they walk through The Music Box Village.
PHOTOS: Maya Curto
Maya Curto is the head of our NOLA 360 editorial team, and a Communications and Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship major. She loves exploring new spots in New Orleans, and went bungee jumping during her time abroad in South Africa!